Cine Italiano!

Cine Italiano! – cinema Italian style takes places from 21 to 25 September 2016 at the Grand cinema. The festival looks to introduce local audiences to the best of Italian cinema through award-winning films and restored classics. The line-up for this the fifth Cine Italiano features eight films opening with Perfetti Sconosciuti (Perfect Strangers) a dark comedy about human relationships directed by Paolo Genovese who will be present at the screening.

The other films in the festival are: Io e Lei (Me, Myself and Her); Cinema Paradiso; Le Confessioni (The Confessions); Fiore; Veloce Come il Vento (Italian Race); Suburra and L’attesa (The Wait). Each film will be screened twice during the festival, for the exact schedule see www.cine-italiano.hk

Cine Italiano!
Date: 21-25 September, 2016
Venue: The Grand
Tickets: $90
More info: www.cine-italiano.hk

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HK Lesbian Gay Film Festival Opening Party @ Maison Eight – 17 September, 2016

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The 2016 HK Lesbian Gay Film Festival kicked off with an opening party amidst the absolutely fabulous views from the Maison Eight terrace. Read more about the festival here and watch some great feature and documentary films over the next couple of weeks.
Click on any photo for the full gallery of images

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HK Lesbian & Gay Film Festival 2016

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The 27th Hong Kong Lesbian & Gay Film Festival (HKLGFF) boldly opens and closes with documentaries. As Festival Director Joe Lam puts it “Both documentaries captures the Eastern and Western LGBT community’s family, friends, relationship and discrimination.”

The festival’s opening film is South Korean documentary Weekends, a real life Glee. Gay men’s choir G-Voice write many of their own songs and are apparently the oldest choir in South Korea. Staying true to their own voices though is a challenge in such a conservative society. Director Lee Dong-ha gives an insight into the gay life of South Korea through the on-stage and off-stage stories of the choir members. Director Lee Dong-ha and 2 members from G-Voice will be present on the opening night to meet the audience.

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Closing documentary Kiki is about the vogueing dance fight party subculture of New York that centres around the Kiki Ballroom. It’s a film about individuality and survival and follows the lives of seven people over four years. Filming their rehearsals, performances and personal lives, as they battle against problems such as poverty, homelessness, sickness, discrimination and prejudice.

Opening film ticket stubs are good for free admission and one free drink at the opening party at Maison Eight. Ticket stubs for the closing film audience earn admission and one free drink at the closing party at Koko.

The German/Mongolian production Don’t Look At Me That Way tells the story of a single mother Iva who falls desperately in love with her new neighbour, Heidi. Things get complicated when Heidi is attracted to Iva’s father instead. Actor and Director Uisenma Borchu will be attending the screening to meet the audience.

In the French production Summertime, it’s 1971 and Delphine a farmer’s daughter moves to Paris to break free from her family. There she meets feminist activist Carol and falls passionately in love, but when Delphine’s father suffers a stroke back home, she has to make a choice between her lover and her love for her land…

Documentaries
Apart from our opening and closing documentary, there are several other documentaries at HKLGFF. Chemsex exposes the dark side of modern gay London – a world of intravenous drug use and weekend-long sex parties. While society looks the other way, men struggle to make it out of ‘the scene’ alive aided by one health worker who has made it his mission to save them.

A joint Netherlands/Chinese production Inside The Chinese Closet documents the lives of gays and lesbians in China, who often have to live a double life in order to please their parents and conform with archaic attitudes to sexuality that still exist there.

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Asian LGBT Films
Loev about the lives and feelings of the three Indian men of different social status is a rarity because in India homosexuality is still illegal. Sudhanshu Saria’s directorial debut was made in secret with the post-production taking place overseas.

Thailand however has a mature and well-developed LGBT film culture. Love Next Door 2 is a sex comedy about love, friendship and sex; while another Thai film at the festival Fathers discuss a more serious issue, the struggles and dilemmas a gay couple face when they decide to adopt a child.

Hong Kong director Scud’s fine body of work includes City Without Baseball (2008) and Amphetamine (2010) which have earned him a lot of respect in the local LGBT community. Scud’s latest work Utopians is about the fascination a dreamy boy has for his charismatic teacher. The HKLGFF will be screening the Director’s Cut.

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2016 HKLGFF tickets are now on sale.

HK Lesbian & Gay Film Festival 2016
Date: 17 September – 2 October, 2016
Venue: Palace ifc ($110), The ONE ($95) & Broadway Cinematheque ($85)
Tickets: $110, $95, $85
More info: www.hklgff.hk

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Chinese Documentary Festival 2016

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This year’s Chinese Documentary Festival, which runs from 9th September to 16th October, will showcase over thirty films from Hong Kong, China and Taiwan across three categories – Features, Shorts and Selection of Hong Kong Documentaries. The films encompass a wide range of themes including art, politics, religion and current affairs. Several of the films directors will attend the Festival to share their experience with the audiences.

Features
The featured Chinese documentaries tend to focus on social issues such as demolition and education – My Land and Wandering Village both discuss the issue of demolition, with the former describing an agricultural family’s struggle for their land and the latter utilising the recycling industry as the background of the woes that workers have due to demolition. A Purpose Built School highlights how the “Gaokao Factory” twists the meaning of education, while Xu Tong’s Cut Out the Eyes takes the historical drama Er Ren Tai to the cinema, morphing the protagonist’s misfortunes into a complain against violence.

The Taiwanese films are relatively more emotional. Kuo Shiao-yun’s Meeting with Bodhisattva documents how Taiwan’s U-Theatre has guided a group of released inmates to rise above their old habits and temptations. In My Foreign Hometown, foreign brides in the Hakka community shows a united and positive attitude towards life. Trapped at Sea, Lost in Time is a major production, and tells the stories of fishermen far away from home. Rolling on the Stage, Rolling for Life brings to the audience the art of Taiwanese folk opera, while depicting the thrilling stories of the opera troupe members behind the stage.

Shorts
This year’s Shorts category focuses on the many highs and lows of life. Taiwanese director Shen Ko-shang’s Murmuring Days captures the moments of cancer patients with their families, showing how love shines through even the darkest of times. Stand By You provides an account of social welfare organisations aiding children with experiences of misfortune, impressing audiences with its underlying sentiment. A Story of the Remainders documents an ordinary family plunged into turmoil, bringing to light the devastating change that resulted from the demolition of Taiwan’s military communities. Shangshu Seminary witnesses the reconstruction process of this Sichuan Catholic monastery, with the alarming murders that happened in the course of reconstruction showing the dark side of human nature; on the flipside, Atayal Mother’s Peaches uses the story of a peach farming family to show the resilience Taiwans’s aborigines retain in the face of adversity. A Perfect Crash documents the political downfall of Sunflower Movement student leader Chen Wei-ting due to a sex scandal, while Nameless provides the openly humourous attitude a street vendor poses towards overcoming the challenges in life.

Selection of Hong Kong Documentaries
With the media increasingly self-censoring, documentaries are becoming an important medium to expose the stories the media won’t cover. This year’s Selection of Hong Kong Documentaries category contains several impressive films. Cheung King Wai’s The Taste of Youth lends an ear to the heartfelt confessions of nine teenagers, broadcasting the neglected voices of society’s young ones. In Parent Cheering Team, parents and children are similarly engaged and excited in baseball, with the pricelessness of family relations emerging from within. Kong Rice witnesses the involvement of a teacher in a revival of agriculture movement in the New Territories, with the aim of environmental conservation. Yellowing and 75 Days: Life, Liberty and Happiness record the comings and goings of the Umbrella Movement, while Van Drivers 2 sees the Umbrella Movement through the eyes of volunteer workers. More than Conquerors provides a discussion on the relationship between religion and society, while the unique Zero Acceleration employs fantastic camerawork to lead the audience from bustling city life into an urban oasis. Tai O Diary, the works of Visible Record’s Master Class 2015, shows the charms of Tai O in different aspects.

Chinese Documentary Festival 2016
Date: 9 September – 16 October, 2016
Venue:
Hong Kong Space Museum (10 Salisbury Road, TST)
Hong Kong Science Museum (2 Observatory Road, TST)
The Grand Cinema (2/F, Elements, 1 Austin Road West, TST)
Tickets: $85, $70
More info: www.visiblerecord.com

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Sundance Film Festival: Hong Kong 2016

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The third Sundance Film Festival: Hong Kong will take place from 22 September – 2 October 2016. The festival will again feature films from the 2016 Sundance Film Festival in Utah, U.S.A. as well as Q&A sessions and panel discussions with Festival programmers and visiting filmmakers. Screening and ticketing information will be summer 2016.

Sundance Film Festival: Hong Kong
Date: 22 September – 2 October, 2016
Venue: The Metroplex
Tickets: tbc

Sundance Film Festival: Hong Kong Short Film Competition
Many talented directors have made their mark and kick started their career via a short film. Looking to nurture the creativity of local independent filmmakers the first Sundance Film Festival: Hong Kong Short Film Competition is open Hong Kong permanent residents age 18 or above. There are no limitation on genres or themes however all entries must be completed on or after January 1, 2015, with a duration between 3 to 15 minutes.

The jury panel includes representatives from the U.S. and Hong Kong film industry:
John Cooper, Director of Sundance Film Festival
Trevor Groth, Director of Programming, Sundance Film Festival
Kim Yutani, Senior Programmer, Sundance Film Festival
Mike Plante, Senior Short Film Programmer, Sundance Film Festival
Adam Wong, Hong Kong independent filmmaker; Director of She Remembers, He Forgets
Sam Ho, Film Historian
Jan Lam, Program Manager, The Metroplex

Official selected shorts will be screened at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival: Hong Kong in September. The winner of the Jury Award will receive a HKD$30,000 cash prize as well as an invitation to attend the Sundance Film Festival in Utah in 2017 (roundtrip air ticket and hotel accommodation inclusive).

The 2016 Sundance Film Festival: Hong Kong Short Film Competition is open for submission from March 21 to June 30, 2016. For further information on submission procedures and rules and regulations see hk.sundance.org

Sundance Film Festival: Hong Kong Short Film Master Class
Short film have been an important part of cinema, storytelling, and culture since the first days of the moving image. The 2016 Sundance Film Festival: Hong Kong Short Film Master Class looks to empower the next generation of film-makers. The half-day seminar focuses on narrative short-form storytelling, offering insight into story development, writing, production, working with cast and crew, what to do with your short once it is complete, and how to get the most out of making a short film. Participants will also learn how the Sundance Film Festival finds short films, and filmmakers will share their experiences in making shorts.

The Master Class speakers include:
Mike Plante, Senior Short Film Programmer, Sundance Film Festival
David Zellner, U.S. independent filmmaker, Director of Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter
Adam Wong, Hong Kong independent filmmaker; Director of She Remembers, He Forgets

Sundance Film Festival: Hong Kong Short Film Master Class
Date: 19-20 March
Venue: The Metroplex
Tickets: $150
More info: hk.sundance.org.

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KINO/15

We Are Young. We Are Stong

This year’s KINO/15 film festival features 10 recently released German films. Organised by the Goethe Institut the festival takes place from 22 October to 2 November.

A major issue currently facing Germany as well as other European countries is the tide of refugees. ‘Rescuing’ refugees is the humanitarian thing to do, but doing so can cause social pressures and anti-refugee sentiment in existing communities. KINO/15’s opening film We are Young. We are Strong looks at this controversial issue by recounting the violent xenophobic riots in Rostock in 1992, a time when hundreds of thousands of refugees arrived in Germany from the Balkans. Taking the helm is Burhan Qurbani, who’s family fled Afghanistan in 1979 to seek political asylum in Germany.

b srasseIn October this year Germany celebrates the 25th anniversary of its reunification. Christian Schwochow’s film Bornholmer Straße (director of KINO/14’s Opening Film Westen) recounts the moment the Berlin Wall falls on 9 November 1989 when officers at the border checkpoint in Bornholm Street were absolutely clueless on how to handle the situation.

Germany in the 80s is also in the focus of the documentary film B-Movie: Lust & Sound in West Berlin. To quote The Hollywood Reporter, “B-Movie: Lust & Sound in West-Berlin is a clumsily titled but highly engaging documentary about Berlin’s vibrant post-punk underground scene, as filtered through the personal story of British-born Berliner Mark Reeder.”

tour de fource filmKINO/15 also includes Christian Zübert’s Tour de Force which gracefully combines a road movie with an incurable disease as an example of how to embrace and celebrate the fullness of life. Uwe Janson’s To Life! sees Jonas, a young man on the run, and Ruth, an ageing Jewish cabaret singer tortured by her past, helping each other to stand on their own feet again.

Other films: A Godsend, Jack, Who am I –No System is safe, Sanctuary, Concrete Love – The Böhm Family

Kino/15
Date: 22 October – 2 November, 2015
Venue: HK Arts Centre, HK Science Museum, the Grand Cinema, the University of Hong Kong and Comix Home Base.
Tickets: variou$
More info: screening schedule www.goethe.de/ins/cn/en/hon/ver/hon15.html

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Summer International Film Festival 2015

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Enjoy films on the big screen? Or simply have nothing to do this summer? The Summer International Film Festival returns for another year! This summer, it’s showcasing 32 films across 59 screenings all surrounding the theme of complexity and sentimentality.

This year’s SIFF 2015 opens on 11th August with 聂隐娘 (The Assassin (2015)) directed by Hou Hsiao-Hsien, about a thoughtful killer Nie Yin Niang (Shu Qi 舒淇), who has to decide whether to go against her morals as an assassin or as a woman. The film won the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival 2015. The Director and and cast will meet the audience on the 11 August and there’s a masterclass with the Director on the 12 August. The festival closes with Woody Allen’s Irrational Man about a philosophy professor Abe Lucas (Joaquin Phoenix), who finds himself in an existential crisis, but rediscovers himself through meeting Jill Pollard (Emma Stone). Blurring comedy and drama, it nicely closes with the theme of complexity and sentimentality.

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The festivals Gala Premiere is the new Ringo Lam film Wild City starring Louis Koo, Shawn Yue and Tong Liya. With his trademark exhilarating car chases along Hong Kong city streets, director Ringo Lam returns after a 12-year hiatus to the crime genre that, together with City on Fire and Full Alert, can be considered his “City Trilogy”. A film about people in the modern world who worship money to the point of dogmatic ignorance, Wild City issues a warning to the greedy and selfish lost souls in Hong Kong… The Director and cast will meet the audience at the 18 August screening.

The two most interesting festival programmes this year are:
The Battle of Sexes: Screwball Comedy. A genre that originally emerged during the Great Depression when Hollywood responded to the hardships of everyday life with films whose sparkling dialogue and romantic complications played havoc with perceptions of class, gender and love. Typically it’s the female who dominates a relationship, challenging the male central character’s masculinity… The two then engage in a humorous battle of the sexes; a new theme for Hollywood and audiences at the time, but one which has become a core of film makers globally since.
Films: Trouble in Paradise (1932, Director Ernst Lubitsch), It Happened One Night (1934, Director: Frank Capra) My Man Godfrey (1936, Director: Gregory La Cava), His Girl Friday (1940, Director: Howard Hawks), The Philadelphia Story (1940, Director: George Cukor), The Lady Eve (1941, Director Presto Strugess).

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Tsai Ming-Liang, Now and Then. The Malaysian born Taiwanese director’s five film retrospective, presents works which illuminate the themes of superstitions and reincarnation, sexual desperation, and isolation. The director’s uncompromising aesthetic of long fixed shots with little movement, complex characters and minimal dialogue, set him apart from other Asian directors, leading him to be one of Asia’s most significant filmmakers of the last 25 years.
Films: Rebels of the Neon God (1992), Vive L’Amour (1994), The River (1997), What Time is it There? (2001), Walker/No No Sleep (2014).

Film festivals are a chance for old and new films to once again appear on the big screen locally, an opportunity to appreciate a film in the surroundings for which it was created. They also offer, through the extended programme of seminars and panel discussions, a chance to enrich your experience and appreciation of a film that going to your local multiplex does not.

Other films shown in Cine Fan SIFF include:
The Assassin (聂隐娘), Yakuza Apocalypse (極道大戦争), Diary of a Chambermaid (Le journal d’une femme de chamber), Standing Tall (La Tête haute), Prophecy (予告犯), Seashore (Beira-Mar), A Touch of Zen (俠女), The Brand New Testament (Le Tout Nouveau Testament), Trouble in Paradise, Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter, The Lady Eve, Piku, It Happened One Night, Love & Peace (ラブ&ピース), My Man Godfrey, Slow West, Flying Colours (ビリギャル), Güeros, The Double Life of Veronique (La double vie de Véronique), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Love letter, The Philadelphia Story, Wild City, PK, His Girl Friday, Vive L’Amour (愛情萬歲), The River (河流), What Time Is It There?( 你那邊幾點), Irrational Man

Tickets for the Cine Fan SIFF will be on sale on 21st of July, from URBTIX.

Summer International Film Festival (SIFF) 2015
Date:
11–25 August 2015
Venues:
UA Cine Moko, The Grand Cinema, The Metroplex, MCL Telford Cinema, HK Arts Centre, HK Science Museum
Tickets: $75, $65, $85 from URBTIX
More info: screening schedule http://cinefan.com.hk/cms/schdeule/

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Russian Film Week: 18-25 March, 2015

Russian film week takes place from the18-25 March as part of the Festival of Russian Culture in Hong Kong – an event presented by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation and the Consulate General of the Russian Federation.

The festival features Russian cinematographers: Evgeniy Abyzov, Mikhail Gorevoy, Pavel Derevyanko, Maria Smolnikova, Vladimir Sterzhakov, Artem Tkachenko.

The film week program includes 7 modern Russian movies:

18 March,7pm (by vip invitation only)
Stalingrad (2013)
Director: Fedor Bondarchuk
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3axbdfzidy

19 March, 7:30pm
Champions (2014)
Directors: Dmitriy Dyuzhev, Artem Aksenenko, Aleksey Yakulov, Emil Nikogosian
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hufbtloreru

20 March, 5pm
Vasilisa (2014)
Director: Anton Sivers
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-kqe47j0ri

21 March, 7:30pm
Fort Ross (2014)
Director: Yuriy Moroz
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxehcqpunje

22 March, 7:30pm
Spiral (2014)
Director: Andrey Volgin
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqzuglibyjq

23 March,7:30pm
Speak of the Devil (2014)
Director: Evgeniy Abyzov
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnpvylp2lj0

25 March, 7:30pm
22 minutes (2014)
Director: Vasiliy Serikov
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vm49mxqcrc0

All films are shown in their original language version with english subtitles.

Free invitations to the screenings are available at the Hong Kong Film Archive on a first-come-first-served basis.

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