As Toronto was recovering from the effects of SARS, an island was still reeling from the strain of both containing an illness and refurbishing a tarnished reputation. With 262 deaths and the infection of more than 1,700, Hong Kong’s tourism and trade were caught in the crossfire of international scrutiny, all having an unprecedented psychological effect on the welfare and stability of its people. Barely a few months have passed since Hong Kong was in jeopardy due to the SARS epidemic, and the state of the former British colony has finally stabilized and is returning to normal.
In an effort to boost the morale of local citizens, an advertising campaign of sorts was conceived in April 2003, from a suggestion by the Federation of Hong Kong Film Workers. Fourteen of Hong Kong’s most respected contemporary directors have come together to produce 11 one-minute short films in a package entitled 1:99, referring to the bleach-to-water ratio recommended by health officials as an anti-SARS disinfectant. The shorts were initially screened in cinemas and then on television to strengthen civic pride.
It’s a cavalcade of Hong Kong’s stars, including Andy Lau, Jackie Cheung, Sammi Cheng, Lau Ching-wan, Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Sandra Ng, Aaron Kwok, Gigi Leung, Anthony Wong, Eason Chan and the animated stars Old Master Q and McDull, among others, in a series of vignettes that stir sentimental emotions and also tickle the funny bone. The directors who volunteered their time and talents span both Hong Kong’s art house and commercial cinema scene. The stellar lineup of works and their famous directors is listed below.
A short from the 1:99 series will be presented at the beginning of each film programme.
The 5 longer versions from the 1:99 series will be presented at the Special Session,
“Hong Kong: Gateway to China’s 1.3 Billion Audience”
SPECIAL EXHIBIT OF 1:99 STILLS
Photos from the 1:99 series will be on display at the Opening Night party at Revival and then at the NFB Mediatheque for the rest of the festival.
Directors Johnnie To & Wai Ka-Fai
Johnnie To Kei-fung was born in 1955. His first film was The Enigmatic Case (1983). He founded the Galaxy Film Company in 1997 and produced such films as Lifeline, A Hero Never Dies, The Mission, Help!!!, Running Out Of Time, and My Left Eye Sees Ghosts. The Mission earned To an award for best director at the Hong Kong Film Awards and the Golden Horse Awards in Taiwan.
Wai Ka-fai is a director, producer and screenwriter whose directing credits include Love for All Seasons (2003), My Left Eye Sees Ghosts (2002), Help!!! (2000), Too Many Ways to Be No. 1 (1997) and The Peace Hotel (1995), all of which he also wrote. He served as executive producer on Love for All Seasons and Help!!!, among many others.
My Piglet Is Not Feeling Well
Director Fruit Chan
Fruit Chan was born in 1959 in Guangdong, China, and moved to Hong Kong with his family when he was five. Chan’s first film, Finale In Blood (1991), bombed at the box office but was well-received by critics. His credits include the award-winning Made in Hong Kong (1994), Little Cheung and The Longest Summer, which comprised his 1997 trilogy. In 2000, Chan began work on another anthology of films revolving around the lives of prostitutes: Durian, Durian, Hollywood Hong Kong (2001) and Public Toilet (2002).
Always Look On The Bright Side
Director Teddy Chen
Teddy Chen has been involved in Hong Kong’s movie industry for nearly two decades, working as assistant director, production manager, actor and scriptwriter. Chen directed his first movie in 1993 and achieved critical and commercial success by the time of his third movie, Twenty Something Taipei. Chen followed this up with an action flick, Downtown Torpedoes (1997), Purple Storm (1999) and Jackie Chan’s The Accidental Spy (2001). In 2002, Chen founded Jin Chuan Pictures to focus on making quality pan-Asian films. Dark October is Chen’s next project.
Believe It Or Not
Director Tsui Hark
Born in 1951 in Vietnam, Tsui Hark arrived in Hong Kong in 1966. He made his first feature, The Butterfly Murders, in 1979. In 1984, Tsui formed his own company, Film Workshop, and directed Shanghai Blues, Working Class, Peking Opera Blues, and produced A Chinese Ghost Story (and two sequels), A Better Tomorrow (and two sequels) and The Magic Crane. Tsui has also directed such English-language Hollywood films as Double Team and Knock-Off.
Hong Kong – A Winner
Director Stephen Chow
Stephen Chow was born in Hong Kong in 1962. His debut film role of a small-time thug in Danny Lee Sau Yin’s Final Justice earned Chow the best supporting actor award at the Golden Horse Awards in Taiwan. His acting credits include All For Winner, Justice, Fight Back To School and King Of Beggars. In 2001, Chow directed his first film, Shaolin Soccer, which broke all previous box office records and won best film and best director at the Hong Kong Film Awards.
Who Is Miss Hong Kong
Director Joe Ma
Joe Ma Wai-ho started his career as a scriptwriter and made his directorial debut with Rich Man in 1992. His credits include the romantic comedy Feel 100% – which starred a multitude of Hong Kong’s Canto-pop stars – The Lion Roars and Summer Breeze of Love. Ma also produced the independent movie Glass Tears, by Carol Lai.
My Flying Family
Directors Mabel Cheung & Alex Law
Mabel Cheung was born in Guangdong, China. Prior to embarking on her film career, she was a writer and director for the Hong Kong radio and television industry. Cheung completed an M.F.A. in film production at New York University, and in 1985 made her first feature, Illegal Immigrant, which captured the best director award at the Hong Kong Film Awards. Two of her later films – An Autumn’s Tale (1987) and Eight Taels of Gold (1990), written in collaboration with her longtime partner, Alex Law – completed her trilogy on immigration. Most recently, she directed a documentary on Jackie Chan, entitled Traces of a Dragon: Jackie Chan & His Lost Family.
Like his partner, Mabel Cheung, Alex Law has an M.F.A. in film production from NYU. He has written and produced many of his wife’s films, including Beijing Rocks (2001), City of Glass (1998), The Soong Sisters (1997), and her entire trilogy on immigration. He made his directing debut in 1988 with Painted Faces, which he also wrote, and which won seven Golden Horse awards in Taiwan, including best picture, director and screenplay.
Directors Dante Lam & Gordon Chan
Dante Lam is a producer and director who has helmed such films as Jiang Hu: The Triad Zone (2000) and When I Look Upon the Stars (1998). Beast Cops (1998), which he co-directed with Gordon Chan, took home several Hong Kong Film Awards, including best picture. His producing credits include Hit Team (2001), Runaway (2001), U-Man (2002) and Tiramisu (2002).
Gordon Chan, a native of Baoan, Guangdong province, was born in Hong Kong in 1960. Chan began writing screen- plays in 1983, starting with Behind The Yellow Line, directed by Taylor Wong. His screenwriting credits include Double Fattiness, The Big Heat and Jackie Chan’s Dragons Forever. Chan has also directed Hearts To Hearts (1988), The Yuppie Fantasia (1989), Brief Encounter in Shinjuku (1990) and, most recently, Medallion, starring Jackie Chan.
Director Brian Tse
My Life as McDull, an animated feature that was a hit in Hong Kong in 2001, was written and produced by Brian Tse. It had a successful run on the festival circuit, picking up awards at the 2002 Hong Kong International Film Festival, the Golden Horse Film Festival and the Hong Kong Film Awards, culminating in a win for best feature at the 2003 Grand Prix Annecy.
Memories Of Spring 2003
Director Peter Chan
Peter Chan Ho Sun was born in Hong Kong. His first directorial effort was Alan and Eric – Between Hello and Goodbye (1991). Chan’s other films include He’s a Woman, She’s a Man (1994); Comrades, Almost a Love Story (1996), which garnered a record-breaking nine awards at the Hong Kong Film Awards, and Hollywood feature Love Letter. Chan also produced the film Jan Dara from Thailand, and the Korean production One Fine Spring Day.
A Glorious Future
Directors Andrew Lau & Alan Mak
Producer and director Andrew Lau Wai-keung started his film career as a cinematographer working on films such as Ringo Lam’s City on Fire and Wong Kar-wai’s As Tears Go By and Chungking Express. Although he switched to directing in 1990, Lau still serves as cinematographer on his own films. His has directed the Young and Dangerous series, Storm Riders and A Man Called Hero. Last year, Lau set up Base Productions, which produced Infernal Affairs and Cat and Mouse.
Alan Mak was born in Hong Kong in 1965. His first film was Nude Fear (1998), which was produced by Joe Ma. Mak then served as executive producer for Dance of a Dream (2001), after which he collaborated with Andrew Lau to co- direct Infernal Affairs. Mak’s directorial credits include Rave Fever (1999), A War Named Desire (2000), Final Romance (2001) and Stolen Love (2001).