Hong Kong Umbrella Community CIC (HKUC) is organising the Inaugural Hong Kong Film Festival (UK) this March. Courageous filmmakers risked their lives to shed light on the new situation through both documentaries and features. The festival hopes to safeguard these banned yet precious films from the powers that be, by projecting them on a multitude of screens to keep them alive and vivid in the audience’s memories. 

The HKFF (UK) is the first momentous project curated by HKUC, an NGO established by currently UK-based civil society leaders from Hong Kong. It aims at inheriting eclectic genres and novel dynamics of Hong Kong filmmaking heritage in the past decades, promoting the preservation of enchanting “Hong Kong Stories” and re-narrating them by showcasing a new wave of Hong Kong cinema that has blossomed in an era of drastic transformation and reflecting the challenging reality of current Hong Kong.  After the Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill Movement in 2019, the Chinese government passed a new National Security Law for Hong Kong in 2020, which has sounded the death knell of Hong Kong’s independent rule of law and civil liberty. Since then thousands of dissenters have been prosecuted, unions and media shut down, and films banned. These drive many Hong Kongers to seek asylum in “exile” overseas. The United Kingdom, as the former colonial power of Hong Kong, has introduced the BNO visa scheme and is soon to become a hotspot for exodus Hong Kongers, the festival strives to promote cultural interactions and exchanges between Hong Kong communities and UK citizens, to facilitate mutual understanding and cohesion among different groups in society.

The theme of the inaugural HKFF (UK) is Rupture and Rebirth. It features pieces that portray the city’s recent ruptures: resistance, brutality, traumas, and reflections experienced by the people of Hong Kong.  Paradoxically, “Rupture” has breathed new life into Hong Kong cinema — unveiling hidden social perspectives and delving into complex and experimental narrations. This paradox marks the city’s path of cultural Rebirth and awakening from its deep rupture and trauma.

Programme highlights

The Opening Night Gala features the documentary Revolution of Our Times (2021, UK Premiere). The Work first premiered at Cannes Film Festival this July was then selected for International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) and TOKYO FILMeX, and won Best Documentary at Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival 2021. This documentary records the social movements aroused by the Extradition Bill dissenters in 2019 Hong Kong, with a macro view of its historical context and a close-up of the frontline activists. 

The Closing Gala film is May You Stay Forever Young (2021, UK Premiere), which won the Netpac Award of the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival 2021. This is a story of the comradeship and humanity of young Anti-Extradition Law activists who struggle to save a fellow who is on the edge of suicide. We also feature Fruit Chan’s Made in Hong Kong (1997, 4K restoration), a cult classic made at the turn of Hong Kong’s 1997 handover, whose tragic anger embodied by the young protagonists is still relevant today. In addition, the Festival includes independent productions and short films by a wide range of filmmakers, from the up-and-coming Chan Hau Chun to the legendary Tsai Ming-liang.

Festival Period: 

London: 19 – 27 March 2022

Manchester: 30 March – 5 April 2022 

Bristol: 1 April – 5 April 2022

Edinburgh: 1 April – 2 April 2022

About HKFF (UK)

HKFF (UK) features the novel dynamics of Hong Kong cinema that blossomed in an era of radical transformation. Re-narrating “Hong Kong Stories,” the film festival promotes Hong Kong’s cultural heritage and reflects on the city’s challenging reality. The inaugural HKFF (UK) will take place between 19th and 27th March 2022 in London, featuring 16 titles including 6 documentaries, 5 feature films, and 5 shorts. The screening will also take place across 3 other cities in the UK – Manchester, Bristol, and Edinburgh from 30th March to 5th April 2022 (please refer to www.hkff.uk and HKFF UK social media platforms for the latest screening information).

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Film, Film events and festivals