Hong Kong showcases cinematic highlights in Berlin

Hong Kong Film Festival OpeningBerlin/Hong Kong – The annual Hong Kong Film Festival for central and eastern Europe opened its doors yesterday at the Arsenal Cinema (Sony Center) in Berlin last night. The festival is sponsored by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO Berlin).

About 200 guests from the government, cultural and business sectors attended the reception. The Festival will be held from 21 to 31 May. The opening night reception was graced by Mrs Carrie Lam, the Chief Secretary for Administration of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government.

The opening film “Unbeatable”, an award-winning drama directed by Dante Lam and starring movie stars Nick Cheung and Eddie Peng, was well received by the audience.

In co-operation with Kino Arsenal, HKETO Berlin presents eight contemporary Hong Kong films at this year’s edition of the Film Festival, including “Unbeatable”, one of Hong Kong’s highest-grossing films in history.

At the 16th Shanghai International Film Festival in June 2013, “Unbeatable” received the Golden Goblet Award for Best Actor Nick Cheung, who also won the Best Actor Award at the recent 2014 Hong Kong Film Awards.

The “Way We Dance” received the Fukuoka Audience Award in the Focus on Asia International Film Festival Fukuoka in September 2013.

In her welcome remarks, Mrs Carrie Lam talked about the Hong Kong film industry. “Despite the fact that Hong Kong is only a small city with a population of about 7 million, our actors, actresses, directors, cinematographers and producers have become household names in the world, and our movies have also been inspirational to many outside Hong Kong. Hong Kong’s exciting style of action movie has inspired a number of international blockbusters.”

Mrs Lam also described the development of the Hong Kong movie scene over the years. “The first Hong Kong-produced movie “Zhuangzi Tests His Wife” was screened in 1914. Today, Hong Kong films not only thrill locals but are also eye-catching for overseas audience. I hope the Hong Kong Film Festival in Berlin will help share with our friends in Germany our culture and passion. Surely Hong Kong and Berlin also enjoy a special connection in film, as Hong Kong’s movie Echoes of the Rainbow won the Crystal Bear award in Berlinale 2010,” she said.

Mrs Lam further emphasised the importance of the strengthening collaboration between Hong Kong’s film industry and Mainland China’s film studios: “In recent years, our film industry takes advantage of a unique free trade pact with our motherland called the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement, or CEPA, to gain access to the film market in the Mainland of China, where Hong Kong-Mainland China film co-productions are treated as local films in the Mainland. As a result, the number of these co-productions has grown tremendously from about 10 in 2004 to about 30 today. More importantly, overseas film companies incorporated in Hong Kong can enjoy the same benefits of CEPA as local filmmakers in reaching the Mainland China market.”

Following the Berlin event, another Hong Kong Film Festiva Festival will be presented at the Metropolis Kino in Hamburg from 17 to 30 June.

The Berlin programme

Photo:  The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, officiates the Opening Night of the Hong Kong Film Festival