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How Netflix can save Hong Kong cinema



Last month, Netflix announced that it was finally expanding worldwide, ending months of speculation about when the company’s expansion to Asia will happen.

Unfortunately, the excitement lasted for only about five minutes.

I briefly ranted on East Screen West Screen about people (including journalists for local media) who immediately complained about what’s not on Hong Kong Netflix (including this article with one of the dumbest headlines I’ve ever seen from said paper) because only a few old shows exist within their narrow eyesight. I asked for audiences to give existing Netflix shows like Master of None, Making a Murderer, Bloodline and Narcos a chance and to not give up on them just because they don’t see Sherlock.

But never mind that for a second.

In addition to the #NetflixAnywhere announcement at CES, Netflix also said that they are working with local storytellers to develop local content. The company has already created two original shows in Japan in association with partner Fuji Television: a new season of reality show Terrace House and series Underwear (or Atelier, as it’s known elsewhere). Asian countries included in the announcement were Korea and Cambodia.

So what about Hong Kong?

The Hong Kong entertainment industry may have been self-sufficient in its golden days, but it became the influential industry that it was because it reached out to audiences beyond Hong Kong. Even when it was successful in Southeast Asia and Taiwan, Hong Kong creators and companies made their content according to their rules and pandered to audiences their own ways. Unfortunately, the money from those two regions eventually dried up, local box office revenue dropped significantly, and the number of productions dropped from under 200 to just roughly 50 a year.

And then came the China Money.

Hong Kong-China co-productions were able to bypass import quotas, which means Hong Kong filmmakers can bring their crew into China and work with the budgets that they have always dreamed of. They were making glossy films with big budgets for potentially hundreds of millions of people and make back the money that they thought they’d lost. We can go on and on about doing it for the art and the fans, but Hong Kong cinema has always been first and foremost an industry driven by profits. In an industry, its labor force can’t work with tight wallets for their entire lives.

What’s the price of the China Money? Pandering to a new group of audiences that not all filmmakers know how to pander to. Working in a system that has rules that can be bent for them or against them at any time. Of course, directors in a commercial filmmaking industry will never have 100% creative freedom. Peter Chan even insinuated in interviews that studio interference in Hollywood is just as bad as Chinese censorship.

But that doesn’t mean that every Hong Kong filmmaker should succumb to the China market, and it doesn’t mean that co-productions automatically spell success. Raymond Wong’s attempts at reviving his comedy brands for China didn’t spell big box office in China, and Mabel Cheung’s A TALE OF THREE CITIES became one of the biggest bombs in recent memory. For every China-made film that does well in Hong Kong, there are three more that flop because Hong Kong audiences ignore a film when they get a whiff of the China Money. LOST IN HONG KONG, MOJIN THE LOST LEGEND, DRAGON BLADE, WOLF TOTEM were all buried at the Hong Kong box office.

Last month, Chief Executive CY Leung announced that building more cinemas would help save the Hong Kong film industry. Perhaps CY meant saving the part of the film industry that serves the real estate market, because this measure only makes sense if Hong Kong instills a protectionist quota that forces these new cinemas to show local films. Until that happens, it’s all Hollywood, all the time.

And now we come back to Netflix.

Netflix is footing a US$50 million bill for a Bong Joon-ho film. It paid US$12 million to distribute Beasts of No Nation. It offered US$20 million to buy Birth of a Nation (It didn’t get it, but it was at least willing to pay that much). Spending only half that money on a film would be considered a major production in Hong Kong. Less than half the money produced Infernal Affairs!

(To be fair, half that money would not produce Infernal Affairs today because the China Money has inflated all the stars’ salaries.)

Netflix may have expanded globally, but it can’t shake the reputation that it’s a distribution platform for American shows. If Netflix truly wants to be a global network, then it has to carry more diverse content that it offers now.

I’ve defended the reason for Netflix’s less-than-perfect selection is because that the company has yet to convince enough content owners to provide global rights. That was the network’s entire reasoning for producing its own content in the first place. And this is where Hong Kong’s established entertainment industry can help.

Not every Hong Kong filmmaker or storyteller wants the China Money. They want the money, sure, but they may not want to pay the price for it. Netflix offers an alternative for those creators, and it doesn’t even have to pay a lot for it. It can get a decent local production for a fraction of what they’re pay for films in the US thanks to a proper local infrastructure for film productions, and creators get a chance to transmit Hong Kong stories to the world without the anxiety of censors breathing down their neck.

In other words, Netflix can save the Hong Kong film industry. Or the Taiwan film industry. Or the Singapore film industry. For the interest of this blog, let’s just say Hong Kong for now.

What does Netflix have to do? Provide the budget in return for global rights, give creators freedom (surely it can’t be 100%, but as much as it can afford) to tell the stories they want to tell, and promote the films at a reasonable scale when the time comes. Netflix wants subscribers, and promoting diverse content - especially original content made by well-known creators in the region - will help Netflix’s reputation as a content provider, not as some website with American TV.

What do Hong Kong creators have to do? Drop the notion that a film is only valuable when it’s been shown in the cinema. Get it shown in Hong Kong cinemas or at film festivals around the world before letting it go to VOD, but don’t let them be the reason to NOT consider the Netflix model. Remember that #NetflixEverywhere means an untapped global audience that wouldn’t otherwise see your film (if Netflix holds up its end of the bargain with a decent promotional effort). Drop all old notions of how cinema should be distributed and embrace the video-on-demand revolution.

As for television? Content owners - and that includes HKTV - need to drop their fantasy of having everyone go to their platform purely for their content. No, I don’t want to download Clickplay just to watch one company’s films and download an HKTV app to watch HKTV’s programming. Ad money is important, but getting distribution is equally important to sustain a television station. Of course, before that even happens, TV stations  has to first raise its game to the level of its counterparts in the west. Hell, I’ll even take counterparts in Asia.

So can we finally stop worrying our VPNs and start worrying about what Netflix can really do for us?


Why Ten Years is the most important Hong Kong film in years



In the past three weeks, one film has been at the tip of young people’s tongues in Hong Kong, and it ain’t Star Wars.

Produced by Ng Ka Leung, Ten Years is an omnibus film featuring five shorts centered around a single question: What will Hong Kong be like ten years from now? In one film, a taxi driver struggles to keep his living after Mandarin becomes the dominant language. Another film peels back a mystery surrounding the identity of a self-immolation protester outside the British consulate. Another about ta grocery store owner whose son has joined the red scarf-wearing youth brigade.

In case you can’t tell by now, the shorts clearly highlight a certain anxiety over Hong Kong’s political situation; anxiety over losing Hong Kong’s unique culture, anxiety over “mainlandization”, anxiety over the death of Hong Kong as we know it. It’s activist cinema filtered through the perspective of the Umbrella Movement generation.

Despite the misfortune of opening in one cinema on the same day as Star Wars, the intensely political film has been playing to sold-out shows for the past three weeks. It has since spread to five screens and made HK$2.2 million - astonishing for a release of such limited scale.

What sets Ten Years apart from the countless speeches and satiric videos we’ve seen from liberal (or Pan-Democrat) activists, politicians and artists? One word: Storytelling.

As effective as a great speech can be, didactic lectures appeal only to those who are already subscribing to what you’re selling. The same goes for satire - sure, it’s funny to people who know what’s being made fun, but it’s not going to win the hearts and minds of those who haven’t been won over.

What Ten Years takes advantage of is mankind’s most important tool. The art of storytelling is how we learn our history, our sense of morals, our beliefs. Our love for storytelling has exploded into art forms that can be bought and sold. Billions of dollars are made from storytelling in various formats, from books to films and even to music, because it is our most effective form of communicating ideas to one another. Remember how Han Solo won over the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi? C3PO’s storytelling skills.

By projecting the anxiety of liberal Hong Kong into these stories, the filmmakers make a strong, emotional case for what Hong Kongers should be worried about in the future - forced assimilation into China, loss of civil liberties, the ongoing re-colonization of Hong Kong. In other words, Ten Years may have what it takes to bring people over from the other side. The film shows a scary situation, and the film may just be what’s needed to wake people up.

Hong Kong cinema began as a commercial industry, and it has always been driven by commercial needs. There may have been a period of artistic innovation in the 80s, but young filmmakers now face an entire generation of gatekeepers with plenty of excuses to maintain status quo.

Hong Kong cinema has been limping for years, struggling - and failing - to find another critical success that would put it back in the global spotlight. Meanwhile, local audience drown in the waves of nostalgia, still clinging to films with stars of the past as the local entertainment industry fails to build up a new generation of talents worthy of take the torch.

That’s why Ten Years come as a breath of fresh air. It’s a socially and political relevant film that’s mostly well-made. It doesn’t cover itself with schmaltzy sentimentality. It holds up a binocular in front of Hong Kong and tells them this may be what they see on the other side. If the filmmakers can get enough people to look, Ten Years may one of the most important film Hong Kong has made in years.

See Kozo’s review of the film here.


The Golden Rock 2015 Golden Horse Awards Live Blog (Complete)

Welcome to our 2015 Golden Horse Awards Live Blog! This year, we’re once again joined by special guests Dana Fukazawa and Coco Shen for commentary. They’ll be identified as D and C throughout the night.

The blog will be updated throughout the night. To see the latest update, just reload the page. The updates go from bottom to top.

23:32: And we’re wrapped for the night! A long night, lots of surprises, and a few films to catch up on. Thanks for following us tonight, and thanks to special guests Dana Fukazawa and Coco Shen. See you next March for the Hong Kong Film Awards!

23:30: This is the first time a Hou Hsiao-Hsien film won Best Picture at the Golden Horse Award.

23:29: The Best Picture Award goes to: THE ASSASSIN. Five awards total. Top winner of the night.

23:26: Jury president Chen Kuofu and TOUCH OF ZEN star Xu Feng now on stage to present Best Picture.

23:22: Final award Best Picture after this commercial break. I hope.

23:17: Finally. The Best Actress Award goes to: Karena Lam for ZINNIA FLOWER.  

23:15: We were supposed to be passing this award out 15 minutes ago. It hasn’t happened yet.

23:11: Finally time for the Best Actress award. Chen Shiang Chyi and Lee Kang-Sheng presenting.

23:08: And now a performance by Jonathan Lee dedicated to the nominees before the Best Actress Award.

23:05: We’re in our fifth hour now, and we start with a montage of the Best Actress nominees.

22:57: “Actually, I should be receiving the Best New Actor award.  Now that I’ve won Best Actor, I won’t have a chance at that award anymore.” - Feng Xiaogang’s speech.

22:56: Guan Hu said that he forced Feng Xiaogang write an acceptance speech this afternoon. Guan now reading it from his phone.

22:53: The Best Actor Award goes to: Feng Xiaogang for MR. SIX! The sole nominee that didn’t show up.

22:50: Lin Chiling reminds me that she acted in a Japanese drama as she serves as Tsumabuki’s translator. That was a bad memory.

22:49: Satoshi Tsumabuki now on stage to present Best Actor.

22:46: Three awards to go. Time for Best Actor.

But first, some hosts banter. Lin Chiling picks Mickey Huang up in her awkward dress.

22:40: HHH says he would like to keep shooting films set in the Tang Dynasty, now that he’s done it for THE ASSASSIN.

22:39: “I haven’t received this in a while.” - Hou Hsiao-Hsien. He forgets the name of his crew.

22:38: The Best Director Award goes to: Hou Hsiao-Hsien for THE ASSASSIN. 

They sure kept him sweating, though.

THE ASSASSIN and THANATOS, DRUNK now tied at four awards.

22:37: Ang Lee: “Who’s your favorite director?”

Shu Qi: “The one that I haven’t worked with.”

Shu Qi has not worked with Ang Lee. She was supposed to be in CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, but couldn’t do it.  

22:35: Time for Best Director. Shu Qi and Ang Lee presenting. Will HHH get his day on stage?

Ang Lee asks Shu Qi whether she has to wear such tall shoes.

22:33: The Best New Director award goes to: Bi Gan for KAILI BLUES.

22:32: Back and we have Chen Jianbin on stage to present Best New Director. 

22:25: Before stepping into the major awards, we get the in memoriam segment.

22:20: Time for Original Music Award for Best Film.

The Original Music Award for Best Film goes to: THANATOS, DRUNK for its fourth award. Things are really looking up for THANATOS.  

22:15: The award for Best Original Film Song goes to: WAWA NO CIDAL/PANAY

22:14: Stone and Ann Hsu now on stage to present the two music awards.

22:11: Lin Chiling: High school girl, award show host, and now lip-syncing for Eason Chan. Can’t say she’s not hardworking.

22:09: Time for the fifth Best Original Film Song. Eason Chan will NOT be singing the song from OFFICE. Instead, it’s Lin Chiling.

Lin Chiling is not actually singing. She’s just lip-syncing.

22:00 Moving right along as we enter the 4th hour. Gwei Lun-Mei presents Best Film Editing.

The award for Best Editing goes to: THANATOS, DRUNK, for its third award. Now it’s tied with THE ASSASSIN.  

Chang Tso-chi is the winner, but clearly he can’t make it. Two actors from the film go on stage.

21:58: The Best Action Choreography Award goes to: THE MASTER.

21:57: Gwei Lun-Mei now on stage to present Best Action Choreography. She seems amazed that she played an action girl in FLYING SWORDS OF DRAGON GATE.

21:55: As we near our 4th hour, another montage for women doing martial arts (?)

21:52: The Best New Actor Award goes to: Lee Hong-chi for THANATOS, DRUNK. The second win for the film tonight.

21:50: Eason Chan now on stage to present Best New Performer.

21:44: Doze Niu brings out the statue for Hou Hsiao-Hsien.

HHH: “This is the first time I brought my wife to the Golden Horse Awards.”

21:41: Of course, Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s Outstanding Taiwanese Filmmaker of the Year Award is for THE ASSASSIN, so it’s going to be a bit awkward when it doesn’t win the major awards, right?

21:38: D: “HHH must be thinking, ‘why did they ask Kevin Chu to give this to me?! Ang Lee is sitting right there. Wang Tong is here too!’”

21:37: Li leaves the stage without giving a speech. Seems to not be in the condition to give one.

Next to Outstanding Taiwanese Filmmaker of the Year, going to Hou Hsiao-hsien. Award is presented by Kevin Chu and Sylvia Chang.

21:36: Li is pushed out on a wheelchair, met by a standing ovation.

21:34: Li Lihua has been in 130 films over 40 years.

21:33: Jackie Chan is presenting the Lifetime Achievement Award to Li Lihua, his godmother and his screen mother.

21:31: Jackie Chan on stage now. My guests wonder if Kai Ko ran into him backstage.

21:28: A few surprises tonight and still no clear indication of a ASSASSIN sweep yet. Interesting results.

21:26: ASSASSIN still the leader of the night with three awards.

21:24: The winner of Best Adapted Screenplay is: THARLO. Second ASSASSIN loss of the night

21:22: Giddens and Kai Ko still on stage, to present Best Adapted Screenplay.

21:19:  Time for Best Original Screenplay.

The winner for Best Original Screenplay is: MOUNTAINS MAY DEPART. 

21:18: Kai Ko and a crazy-haired Giddens on stage now.

21:17: Finally over. First costume change by the hosts as they try to decipher the Tang Dynasty Chinese in THE ASSASSIN. Chang Chen defers to Hou Hsiao-Hsien.  

21:13: And all three of us just wowed when they pulled out the Leslie Cheung song.

21:06: Stepping into the third hour. Eason Chan and Rainie Yang now on stage to sing a medley of film theme songs.

20:56: “I’ve worked with Hou Hsiao-hsien ten times, and I’ve won three Golden Horse Awards.

20:55: The Best Cinematography Award goes to: Lee Ping-Bing for THE ASSASSIN. Third award of the night.

20:54: Time for Best Cinematography. Will ASSASSIN takes its third award here?

20:50: Time for Best Sound Effects.

The Best Sound Effects award goes to: THE ASSASSIN for the second award of the night

20:49: Alec Su and Ruby Lin (formerly of MY FAIR PRINCESS) now on stage to present awards.

20:47: KAILI BLUES and MOUNTAINS MAY DEPART won the FIPRECI Award and Audience Award, respectively.

20:46: We come back from commercial break with some love for the jury, led by Chen Kuofu.

20:45: No film has more than one award yet tonight. No clear sweep in sight.

20:42: The whole PORT OF CALL team are in tears.

20:39: Michael Ning: ”I want to thank Aaron. I’m a nobody, but I got the chance to act with you. You didn’t look down on me, and you took care of me and supported me.”

20:37: Michael Ning is also nominated for Best New Actor tonight.

Michael Ning suddenly switches to Cantonese mid-way.

20:35: Time for Best Supporting Actor. 

The Best Supporting Actor award goes to: Michael Ning for PORT OF CALL. 

Tonight’s first win for PORT OF CALL

C: “Taiwan doesn’t have a Best Actor, but it has a lot of great Best Supporting Actors!” 

20:34: Did Ha Ji-Won beg Hou Hsiao-Hsien for a job?

20:33: Director Cheng Wei-Hao says he’s the last to speak so he can say that THE TAG-ALONG opens next month.

20:30: DEATH OF A SECURITY GUARD director Cheng Wei-Hao also directed the Golden Horse Film Festival’s closing film THE TAG-ALONG.

20:29: Chang and Ha’s first award is Best Short Film.

The winner of Best Short Film is: THE DEATH OF A SECURITY GUARD. 

20:27: Oh, this whole thing is in English. Poor Chang Chen has to translate everything Ha Ji-Won says.

20:26: Chang Chen and Korea’s Ha Ji-Won on stage now.

20:21: Ding Ke on stage now to sing the theme song for PORT OF CALL.

20:17: Another commercial break.

20:15: Lu Xuefeng will probably hold the record for the longest speech of the night.

“I hope that I’m only the first award for THANATOS, DRUNK tonight!”

20:13: Lu says that their lighting guy worked despite having gout. I feel for him, bro.

20:10: ”I was fortunate to encounter a hard-working team. Without Chang Tso-Chi, there wouldn’t be a Lu Xuefeng.”

20:09: D: “She spent the whole movie drinking and crying!”

20:06: The winner for Best Supporting Actress is: Lu Xuefeng for THANATOS, DRUNK.

Lu was last nominated for WHEN LOVE COMES, also by Chang Tso-Chi.

20:04: The second award for Aaron-Karena is Best Supporting Actress.

This is Elaine Jin’s fifth nomination at the Golden Horse. Jiang Wenli (THE MASTER) is competing with her niece Ma Sichun (LEFT EAR).

20:01: “This award is heavy. Heavy things are worth a lot of money.” says the winner for THE CHINESE MAYOR.

19:59: Their first award is Best Documentary.

The winner of Best Documentary is: THE CHINESE MAYOR

19:57: Golden Horse nominees Aaron Kwok and Karena Lam on stage now to present awards.

Karena: “Congratulations for your third nomination”

Aaron: “Fourth!”

19:56: C: “I’m glad that this performance shows that Taiwan has more than just the Taipei Chili Peppers!”

19:55: WAWA NO CIDAL is also known as PANAY. It’s the opening film of this year’s Singapore Film Festival.

19:51: Suming Rupi on stage to perform the theme song for WAWA NO CIDAL. TOUCH OF THE LIGHT’s Huang Yu-siang on the piano.

19:47: Another commercial break.

19:46: Winner Hwarng Wern-Ying has been working with Hou Hsiao-Hsien since GOOD MAN GOOD WOMAN.

19:44: Time for Best Costume Design.

The winner of Best Costume Design is: THE ASSASSIN. First win of the night.

19:43: Our guests are both happy about OFFICE’s win. That set was impressive.

19:41: Deng Chao’s first award is Best Art Direction.

The winner of Best Art Direction is: OFFICE. THE ASSASSIN’s first loss tonight.

19:39: Deng Chao now on stage to present two more prizes.

19:38: All three of us agree that the award has already gone on too long.

19:34: Back from commercial break with a musical performance. The theme song from THE LAUNDRYMAN, by some kind of Taiwan rock Jesus.

C: “Taiwan Chili Pepper!”

19:29: First ad break of the night. Half an hour. Only two awards given out. Long night ahead of us.

19:27: The winner of Best Animated Feature is: MCDULL ME AND MY MUM. 

19:25: Simon Yam stays on stage for the second award. The Best Animated Feature.

19:23: Best Visual Effects is the first award of the night. My guests think it’ll go to WOLF TOTEM or MONSTER HUNT.

The winner of Best Visual Effects is: THE TAKING OF TIGER MOUNTAIN 

19:22: Simon Yam now on stage to give out the first award of the night.

Simon Yam shows off his Taiwanese to show that he can speak all kinds of languages.

Still don’t know what award he’s giving out.

19:19: Hou Hsiao-Hsien and his “WTF am I doing here” face!  

19:17: Mickey Huang and a much taller Lin Chiling now back on stage as hosts.

19:15: Finally, the long-awaited nominee montage. Here we go!

19:14: C: “Why did they do this to the poor girl? Just get Hebe to sing it with her”

19:12: Best Actress nominee and OUT TIMES star Vivian Sung now sings the OUR TIMES theme song. 

C: “Probably to celebrate it making so much money!”

19:11: Darren Wang from OUR TIMES put in a cameo. Lin Chiling’s ex Jerry Yan (who plays the older version of Darren Wang’s character in the film) shows up on screen for the night’s first applause.

19:08: Eight minutes in. Alcohol opened. Sketch still not over.

19:06: The hosts are using “witty banter” to name all the nominees.

C: “These poor people have to fake their laughter!”

19:04: Lin Chiling walks on stage with a high school uniform. Still not the oldest Taiwanese actor to play a high schooler (That’s Takeshi Kaneshiro for THE CROSSING)

19:03: I guess we can never avoid starting an award show with one of these things. 

Huang: “It’s not easy to sing in front of Eason Chan!”

Sylvia Chang puts in a one-shot cameo.  

19:01: We’re off! Hosts Mickey Huang and Lin Chiling on stage with a song-and-dance sequence.

18:57: In case you need a refresher, here is the nomination list 

18:53: We’re seated and ready to go. Star Chinese Movies isn’t, though. They’re still showing the credits of KANO.

The Golden Rock 2015 Golden Horse Live Blog - PREVIEW


A book that I’m not getting because I’m not at the Golden Horse Awards

It’s that time again, when this blogger blows the dust off this blog space and checks in with yet another awards live blog. This time, we celebrate the best in Chinese-language cinema (mainly Hou Hsiao-Hsien) with this year’s Golden Horse Awards.

As we have done for the past several years, we will be doing a live blog during the course of the show. It will be a super low-tech one, with no auto reload. Instead, you just go into the blog page and reload it yourself. The button’s not hard to find.

This year, I will be joined again by two special guests, who will be adding in the commentary. It was a lot of fun with those two in 2013, and we’re hoping they’ll have fun this year, too.

In case you need a refresher, here’s the nomination list.

The show starts promptly at 19:00 Hong Kong Time (That’s GMT+8, go to World Time Server if you need some help with the time difference). The show ALWAYS go overtime, so expect to follow this thing for a bit more than four hours.

 As always, we will try to engage the readers on Twitter. Follow @TheGoldenRock and post your Golden Horse reactions with #GHA2015 through the night, and we’ll retweet, repost, like, or whatever you Twitter kids do these days when you see something amusing on the internet.

Hope to see you all on Saturday night!

The Golden Rock 2015 Hong Kong Film Awards Live Blog (Now complete)

This is the real thing! There’s only one way to see the latest post, and that’s reloading the page. Clearly, I win at the internet.

Scroll from the bottom up for easier reading, especially if you’re trying to follow four and a half hours worth of updates. Good luck.

22:55: One bottle of beer and two bottles of red wine later, we’re finished with another Hong Kong Film Awards live blog! Thank you all for following, and good night! Time to write my news story now!

22:53: And the winner of Best Film is: GOLDEN ERA. Five awards in total.

22:52: Leave it to Sandra Ng to make the universal suffrage joke.

22:48: Final Award of the night! It’s time for Best Film. Sandra Ng presenting solo.

“Give it to Peter! Give it to Peter!” DF chants.

22:46: She’s going to read all the names that she didn’t get to read at the Golden Horse Awards (she didn’t win AND she was shooting a film in the States).

22:43: The winner of Best Actress is: VICKI ZHAO for DEAREST.

My guests are convinced that Charlene Choi’s tears in SARA are CG’d.

22:42: “I wonder if she says ‘I let you ____ me’ when she argues with her boyfriend” - Nick Cheung

22:40: Sammi Cheng and Nick Chueng on stage now to present Best Actress.

22:35: We may actually make it to the end of this thing before 11 pm!

22:34: “Every time I take off somewhere on my spaceship…you always have a way to bring me back to Earth.” - Lau Ching Wan to his wife.

22:33: “We opened the New York Asian Film Festival last year with OVERHEARD 3. We clearly made the right choice!!!” - DF.

22:31: “I’m so happy that I have some female audiences now, but are you sure you didn’t mistake me for Louis Koo?” - Lau Ching Wan to the LITTLE BIG MASTER girls.

22:30: And the winner for Best Actor is: LAU CHING WAN for OVERHEARD 3. Third award for the film.

My guests were both supporting Huang Bo.

22:28: Each of the child chooses their ideal winner on stage.

22:27: Time for the Best Actor award. Miriam Yeung and the five LITTLE BIG MASTER kids presenting.

22:24: “Honestly, this award won’t make me that much happier, but this is an encouragement. The film may not be perfect, it may be flawed, this film represents a risk worth pursuing.”- Ann Hui

My guests are genuinely shocked. They think Peter Chan should’ve won.

“Community award!” - CS.

22:22: And the Best Director award goes to: ANN HUI for GOLDEN ERA. Fourth award for the film tonight.

22:21: I can’t really translate what Anthony Wong said, but brilliant as always. Best Director award now.

22:18: Last year, Anthony Wong gave a pretty inflammatory monologue. Looks like he’s going to be doing the same this year.

22:16: And we’re at Best Director now.

Anthony Wong (Chau-sang) on stage to present. Let’s see what he comes up with this year.

22:08: And the Best Film from Mainland and Taiwan goes to: COMING HOME. Representative from Edko Films accepted the award.

22:05: Sylvia Chang on stage now to present the Best Film from Mainland China and Taiwan award.

22:03: Richie Ren still on stage for Best Original Song. This may be Ivana Wong’s third win.

And the winner of Best Original Film Song is: ABERDEEN. Ivana Wong goes home two-for-three.

22:02: I’m a huge fan of Ellen Loo, so I’m happy to see her win.

22:00: “They gave it for Space Oddity la” - DF, about the Best Original Score award.

21:58: And the winner of the Best Original Film Score is: THE MIDNIGHT AFTER, the first award for the film tonight.

21:56: Richie Ren on stage to present Best Original Film Score. Speaking in Cantonese.

21:54: Hosts doing a slightly lame gag with old HK film theme songs.

21:53: James Wong tribute performers: Yoyo Sham, Aga, J. Arie and Phil Lam.

21:52: “Looks like Hong Kong music will die before Hong Kong cinema.” - CS, after the James Wong tribute.

21:49: And we just opened our second bottle of red wine.

21:43: Wong died in November 2004, so I assume this is for the 10th anniversary of his death.

21:41: James Wong’s daughter comes out to start the proceedings. Several musicians and singers will be covering his biggest hits.

21:40 Hour 3 starting with the tribute to James Wong.

21:39: Keeping count. The producers have cut off two live performances and two presenters’ speeches tonight.

21:35: My guests having a laugh that a certain producer still getting called a certain director’s wife. Ouch.

21:32: Lee Kwan Long was the props man on all Tsui Hark films. He’s an innovator in terms of robotics and props in HK cinema, including the underwater horse in YOUNG DETECTIVE DEE and the wires in ZU WARRIORS.

21:31: The directing panel messes up again, cutting off Tsui Hark’s speech. This is the second time this has happened.

21:29: Professional Achievement Award now, to be given to veteran props man Lee Kwan Long, a.k.a. “Props Dragon” or “Wire Dragon” or “Set Dragon” or “Special Effects Dragon”

Tsui Hark presenting the award.

21:23: Ivana Wong has the chance of winning all three categories that she’s nominated for. Best Original Song left.

21:21: And the winner of Best Supporting Actress is: IVANA WONG for GOLDEN CHICKENSSSS. This is her second award of the night.

21:20: CS: “Shouldn’t Dize Niu be in jail?!”

21:19: Time for Best Supporting Actress now. Doze Niu and Ethan Ruan on stage to present.

21:18: “Winning a Best Editing award for John Woo shouldn’t be called Best Editing. It should be best castration since his films are all cut in two now” - David Wu.

21:17: Is it a little embarrassing knowing that David Wu is not editing part two of THE CROSSING?

21:16: And the winner of Best Editing is: THE CROSSING PART 1. This is Wu’s second Best Editing win and 11th nomination.

21:14: Cheugn and Chan remain on stage for Best Editing.

21:13: CS: “Actually, everything with this film’s fine except for the writing and the directing!”

21:12: And the winner of Best Cinematography is: THE GOLDEN ERA, the third award of the night.

21:09: Alfred Cheung and Anthony Chan now on stage to present Best Cinematography.

21:06: Years ago, TVB cut to commercial in the middle of the in memoriam segment. Their handling of the awards led to them losing the rights one year until they promised to not do it again.

21:05: Aaaaaaaaaand TVB cuts off Anthony Wong, too.

21:04: Segway Fruit Chan is back!

21:02: Anthony Wong Yiu-ming on stage to perform ABERDEEN’s theme song. Is TVB going to cut him off, too? Oh, he’s not wearing a yellow ribbon. I think he’s safe.

21:00: And the winner of Best Costume & Make Up Design is: THE GOLDEN ERA, the second award of the night. First award win for Man Lim Chung in this category. Ann Hui crying in the audience.

20:58: Idy Wong and Arthur Wong remain on stage to present Best Costume & Make Up Design.

20:56: And the winner of Best Art Direction is: THE GOLDEN ERA. First win for the Ann Hui film tonight.

20:54: Idy Chan and cinematographer Arthur Wong on stage to present Best Art Direction. Of course, my guests are talking about Idy Chan and Chow Yun Fat.

20:53: Just heard that the main feed that produces the HKFA show was by TVB. So they cut off My Little Airport on TV.

20:50: The winner of Best Supporting Actor is: KENNETH TSANG for OVERHEARD 3.

First Supporting Actor win for Kenneth Tsang and second award for OVERHEARD 3.

Tsang is in tears during his speech. “This is for everyone working in Hong Kong cinema.”

20:49: Lam Suet now her co-presenter of this thing. He seems real caught off-guard.

OK, we’re getting on with this thing.

20:48: Carrie Ng inviting all five nominees to the stage. The nominees are all so confused.

20:47: Carrie Ng talking about her history with sex scenes. Now the two hosts leave her alone to present the award by herself.

20:45: Carrie Ng presenting Best Supporting Actor with Gordom Lam and Jordan Chan.

20:44: CS: “Man, there are a lot of dead bosses this year.”

20:41 - TVB forces copyright trademark on an image of a still even during the in memoriam segment.

20:40 - Children’s chorus singing Jacky Cheung’s “Blessings” as the in memoriam segment rolls on.

20:38 - Back from ad break. Miriam Yeung on stage now to introduce the in memoriam segment.

20:33: My Little Airport’s performance just got cut to a commercial break in the middle! My guests are sure it’s because the producers are afraid of My Little Airport saying something inflammatory.

20:31: Just biased. A film with my name on it has now won the HK Film Awards. I co-translated OVERHEARD 3’s subtitles.

My Little Airport now perform GOLDEN CHICKENSSS’ theme song.

20:30: Felix Chong: “This award is for Hong Kong and Hong Kongers.” I’m not exactly sure why.

20:28: The winner of Best Screenplay is: OVERHEARD 3. This is only the second time the OVERHEARD series has won a HK Film Award. OVERHEARD 1 won Best Editing.

20:26 - The producers just cut off the presenters’ banter and went straight to the nominees clip. Ouch

20:25 - Eddie Peng and Tang Wei on stage to present Best Screenplay. This will mostly be in Mandarin, much to CS’ relief.

20:23  - Lots of cheers in the house for David Lee’s win. DF is right: everyone likes him.

20:21 - Tony and Shu Qi remain on stage for Best New Director.

DF: “David Lee (Insantiy) is the most hard-working assistant director in Hong Kong”

The winner of Best New Director is: DAVID LEE for INSANITY

20:20 - Ivana has given the longest speech of the night - and she has two more categories to go. Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Song.

20:19 - Technically, Ivana Wong is also a two-time loser of the HKFA already.

20:17 - The winner of Best New Actor is: IVANA WONG for GOLDEN CHICKENSSS

20:15 - Since Ivana Wong took 3 nominations, there are only two other nominees in the Best New Actor category: Candy Cheung for DOT 2 DOT and Jessica Choi for ABERDEEN.

Gordon Lam says CreateHK will give HK$100,000 for the Best New Director winner.

Tony Leung Chiu-wai and Shu Qi now on stage to present Best New Actor.

20:14 - The hosts now talking to Ivana Wong. “What happens if you don’t win anything tonight?!”

20:11 -  And now the best dressed award. Tony Leung Chiu-wai for the men and Sandra Ng for the women.

20:09 - Back from the ad break, but two Now TV hosts still talking.

Best New Actor coming up next. Ivana Wong has 3 NOMINATIONS in this category.

20:04 - First ad break means we’re opening up a red wine.

20:02 - Ivana Wong now performing her nominated theme song from BREAK UP 100.

20:01 - DF: “Oh, Jordan Chan is in sober mode. That’s why he can’t perform tonight.”

20:00 - Yuen Bun is the only one of the four winners to go on stage to receive the award.

19:59 - And the winner of Best Action Choreography is: KUNG FU JUNGLE

19:57 - CS and DF immediately get into Amber Kuo dating rumors. I won’t repeat them here.

19:55 -Amber Kuo and Chin Kar Lok now on stage to present Best Action Choreography.

Yay for CS as another Mandarin speaker shows up.

19:54 - CS is very sad that the only Mandarin speaker of the night is not present to give the speech.

19:53 - Yam and Hui remain on stage to give out Best Sound Effects.

And the winner is: THE CROSSING PART 1

19:52 - Another winner said that his father was the first generation of special effects maker - he was a paper doll maker.

19:50 - One of the winners headed up now-defunct special effects company Menfond.

19:49: And the winner of the Visual Effects award is: RISE OF THE LEGEND 

19:47 - CS: “Imagine all the Mainlanders in the audience. They’re not getting any of this banter!”

19:46 - First award of the night is Best Visual Effects. Director Ann Hui and Simon Yam presenting.

19:44 - Awkward host banter about how the Best Picture nominees are “disasters”. We’re not giving away awards for a while.

19:43 - CS: “High definition is such a cruel invention for the stars…”

19:42 - “Cinema Fantasia” is the theme of this year’s show. And I finally managed to convince DF that the show does not come with subtitles.

19:41 - A Fruit Chan-lookalike passing the stage TWICE with a camera on a segway.

This is Miriam Yeung’s first time hosting the show. Gordon Lam has hosted the show before.

19:40 - Host Gordon Lam introduces the show with a drone shot. Jordan Chan and Miriam Yeung also on stage now.

19:39: The show finally starting now with a montage of old HK special effects-packed films.

19:37: Like all big cultural event shows in Hong Kong, the HK Film Awards is starting late.

19:35 - We’re minutes away from the beginning of the show! DF and CS are WAH-ing at all the red carpet footage.

19:30 - We have an emergency. We’ve already finished most of our food with 4 hours to go!

19:22: CS, who doesn’t speak Cantonese, says “We’re here to judge people, not watch what they’re saying, so it’s OK to not have subtitles.”

19:18 - Now TV poll says audiences want Lau Ching Wan to win for OVERHEARD 3 or for INSANITY. But no one saw INSANITY.

19:17 - We’re still watching the red carpet coverage on Now TV. No more fashion talk!

Dana is already pissed. “Who’s this?! What is happening?!”

19:15 - Tonight, we’re joined by two guest commentators: Dana Fukuzawa (DF) and Coco Shen (CS). They’ll be providing all the snark.

17:53 - Technical test. Watching red carpet coverage now. Lots of fashion talk.

The Golden Rock 2015 Hong Kong Film Awards Live Blog - Preview



It’s the same old song: Because of my busy schedule, I’m only able to come in and waste LoveHKFilm server space twice a year with my awards live blog. This time, it’s the Hong Kong Film Awards, and it’s bound to be another wild show. This year’s hosts are Miriam Yeung, Jordan Chan and Gordon Lam, with performances by My Little Airport, Anthony Wong (Yiu Ming, not Anthony) and Ivana Wong.

As we have done for the last however many years, we’ll be live-blogging everything happening over the course of the nights, from bad host banter to some actual award results.

Check out this year’s nominees list here.  

Once again, the live blog will be done as one single entry, and all you have to do is reload the page to see the latest updates. Yes, I know I can load those auto-refresh whatever code thingamajig, but it’s a one-man operation, and I’m going to ask you guys to make more of an effort while I’m typing furiously at the computer for 4 hours.

Here are the deets:

Date: April 19, 2015

Time: 7:30 pm Hong Kong Time (GMT+8) (go to World Time Server to find the time difference between your region and Hong Kong)

Length: Prepare to waste about 4 to 4 and a half hours on this baby.

I will start a new post that you should be able to enter from the main page, or find the link on my social media networks. If you don’t know what they are by now, you will never, ever, ever know me.

See you all on Sunday night!

The Golden Rock 2014 Golden Horse Live Blog (Now complete)

Welcome to the 2014 Golden Horse Live blog.

We’re updating live below, with the newest update on the top. Just keep reloading the page and you’ll see the latest update. 

First, a disclaimer: This live blog reflects only the opinion of this blogger. It does not represent the opinions of any of the organisations that this blogger is affiliated with. 

Check the nomination list right here  

23:26: And that’s another year of the Golden Horse Awards. Thank you all for reading.

If you’re just joining now. Start from the very bottom and work your way up.  

23:22: The Best Film award goes to: BLIND MASSAGE. A total of six awards out of seven nominations.

Director Lou Ye is the only one to not win for the film.

23:21: Chen: “I was really afraid of having to watch four films a day, because some films are really….difficult…to sit there and watch.” Her near slip-up got a huge laugh.

23:18: Jury President Joan Chen and Golden Horse Chairperson Sylvia Chang on stage to present the Best Film award.

23:14: Finally, the Best Picture award coming. Assuming this is the final commercial break

23:10: This is Chen’s first win and second nomination. She was the star of several Tsai Ming-liang films. Tsai was one of the first people she thanked.

23:06: The Best Actress award goes to: Chen Shiang Chyi for EXIT

23:04: As we enter our fifth hour, Ann Hui and Lee Kang-sheng on stage to present the Best Actress award.

22:56: Chen Jianbin’s wife Jiang Qinqin joins Chen on stage to give her husband a kiss….followed by an acceptance speech. She also co-stars in A FOOL.

22:54: It’s time to note that Chen Jianbin alone has won more awards than most films tonight.

22:53: The Best Actor award goes to: Chen Jianbin for A FOOL. TRIPLE WINNER!

22:50: Aaron Kwok and last year’s Best Actress winner Zhang Ziyi present the Best Actor award.

212:49: Mickey Huang: “Liao Fan is BLACK COAL THIN ICE. Do you think this is PARADISE IN SERVICE?”

22:46: Time for Best Actor. Ella goes into the audience to hug Chen Jianbin. Attempting to hug all the nominees.

22:44: Mickey Huang: “I’m really surprised tonight, because Ethan Ruan is still here.”

Ruan was blasted last year for leaving the award ceremony early.

22:41: Star Chinese Movie just sold WRATH OF VAJRA being made by the “director of GALLANTS.” No, Star Movies, Law Wing-cheong was an actor in GALLANTS, not the director.

22:38: Three awards left: Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Film.

22:36: There was a priceless look of shock on Ann Hui’s face, as if Hou Hsiao-hsien might’ve read her name wrongly.

This is Hui’s third Best Director win at the Golden Horse Awards.

22:35: And the Best Director award goes to: Ann Hui for THE GOLDEN ERA.

22:34: This is Gong Li’s first appearance at the Golden Horse Award because COMING HOME is her first nomination.

22:33: Time for Best Director award. Hou Hsiao-hsien and Gong Li presenting.

22:32: Chen Jianbin was about to give a quote that he has remembered all his life, but stops to thank his family.

22:30: Unfortunately, A FOOL has only been screened publicly once at the Golden Horse Film Festival (only because it’s a nominee).

22:29: And the Best New Director award goes to: Chen Jian-bin for A FOOL. A double winner!

22:27: Jacky Cheung now on stage solo. Because he’s freaking Jacky Cheung. Ella: “Sing something!”

Cheung noted that he wasn’t supposed to present the award solo.

Cheung is presenting the Best New Director award.

22:22: Entering the home stretch now as we hit our final five awards: Best New Director, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Film.

22:21: Personally, I’m a little surprised by the Zhang Lei win, as Tsao Yu-ning was a heavy favorite to win for KANO. At least the biggest breakout performance of the year in Taiwan.

22:19: Liao Fan now on stage to introduce Best Picture nominee BLACK COAL, THIN ICE.

22:17: And the Best New Performer award goes to: Zhang Lei for BLIND MASSAGE. Now its fifth award for the night.

22:15: Lily Collins and Chen Bo-lin now stage to present the Best New Performer award. Collin: “I hear you’re the friend of all the girls in Taiwan”. Ha Ha.

22:11: KANO won the Audience Award and the FIPRESCI Award. Both of these were announced before the ceremony tonight.

22:10: Mickey Huang now interview two-time Best Actor winner Aaron Kwok.

22:08: The jury being introduced now. Jury President Joan Chen being interviewed now.

22:03: Jacky Cheung on stage now to perform his latest song. Huge applause.

22:02: Wei Te-sheng: “When I make a film, I have to make loan. She always has to be the guarantor. Do you know how painful that is?”

22:00: As the show enters its fourth hour, a video clip of nominees talking about the family members they want to thank.

21:52: Qin Hao on stage to introduce Best Picture nominee BLIND MASSAGE, which now looks like a pretty heavy favorite to win the big award tonight.

21:50: And the Best Original Song award goes to: THE CONTINENT. Pu Shu goes on stage to accept the award.

This is rocker Pu’s first song in over a decade

21:48: Yang wraps up his recurring head joke with a kiss on his bald head from Michelle Chen. Mickey Huang: “Don’t piss off Amber Kuo” (Yang’s girlfriend)

21:47: Yang and Chen remain on stage to present the Best Original Song.

21:46: Chen Qigong not present to receive the award. Best New Actor nominee Zhang Huiwen accepts the award on his behalf.

21:45: And the Best Original Score award goes to: COMING HOME.

21:43: Michelle Chen and Tony Yang (bald!) on stage to present two awards. First, Best Original Score.

21:42: Oh, Happiness will not be performed tonight because David Tao can’t make it to the show.

21:39: Each of the Best Original Song nominee gets a performance tonight. Happiness from (SEX) APPEAL is the only one left.

21:37: Anthony Wong Yiu-ming, wearing his yellow ribbon, now on stage to sing the theme song from ABERDEEN.

21:32: Tian now reads a poem at his Golden Horse statue. He has never received one before.

21:28: Tian: “I didn’t come here to escape war or anything. I came to Taiwan to act…so I want to thank Taiwan.”

21:27: Tian (holding the award): “I’ve waited for you for half a century! ”

21:26: A standing ovation for Tian Feng now.

21:24: Tian Feng was one of the most prolific actors in the 1960’s. One of King Hu’s favorites.

He often played masters, fathers, authoritative characters. Jackie Chan even played his stunt double before.

21:22: Sun Yueh presents the Lifetime Achievement award to Tian Feng.

21:17:  Niu: “Some has called Jimmy the liver of Taiwan cinema” (If I didn’t hear it wrong)

21:15: Huang signs three contracts on stage. I guess he’s still paying off some bills.

21:12: Huang was the producer on SEEDIQ BALE, known as the film that borrowed the largest amount of money for a Taiwan film.

This year, he’s the producer of KANO (which hasn’t broken even yet), PARADISE IN SERVICE (whose director has been convicted of a crime during pre-production) and CAMOUS CONFIDENTIAL.

20:10: Time for the Outstanding Taiwanese Filmmaker of the Year award, which goes to producer Jimmy Huang. Wei Te-sheng and Doze Niu on stage to present the award to him.

21:02: The video segment didn’t include Jimmy Heung, but the two hosts did mention him.

And now, a song performance.

21:00: And now, the In Memoriam segment.

20:58: Ma Yingli is director Lou Ye’s wife, by the way.

20:56: Ma Yingli says that the original novel doesn’t have narrative or any of the stuff that can turn it into a dramatic narrative.

20:54: And Best Adapted Screenplay goes to: BLIND MASSAGE for its fourth award.

20:53: Time for Best Adapted Screenplay 

20:52: Yee Chih-yen said that he was inspired to write MEETING DR. SUN after talking to teenagers about the difficulties in their lives.

Yee also says that this is the first time he’s won a major film award in Taiwan (I guess Taipei Film Festival didn’t count?)

20:50: MEETING DR. SUN also won the Best Screenplay award at the Taipei Film Festival.

Li Lieh is a producer on the film

20:49: Li Lieh: “Oh, Umin Boya, you’re not nominated this year?”

And the Best Original Screenplay award go to:  MEETING DR. SUN.

20:48: Li Lieh and Umin Boya on stage to present. Seems like Umin Boya forgot his lines.

They first present Best Original Screenplay.

20:44: And dinner’s here!!!!

20:43: Jiang Qunqun reading a Best Picture intro. For Chen Jianbin’s A FOOL.

20:41: And the winner of the Best Action Choreography award is: AS THE LIGHT GOES OUT. Another unexpected Hong Kong win.

20:40: And now, time for Best Action Choreography.

20:39: The hosts remind the winners that the Golden Horse Award does not limit the lengths of the winners’ speeches.

20:38: The winners clearly did not expect this award. Again, this must be what winning a Golden Horse award feels like (speaking as a film school graduate/failure)

20:37: And the Best Visual Effects award goes to: THE MIDNIGHT AFTER

I would have never expected a Fruit Chan film to ever win a Best Visual Effects award if you asked me 10 years ago.

20:36: Best Visual Effects up first. Apparently, it was the most difficult award to decide on, according to Fung.

20:35: Jury member Stephen Fung and Rainie Yang now on stage to present Best Visual Effects and Best Action Choreography.

20:34: The two hosts talk about how it’s totally OK to not win an award tonight.

20:32: Ella Chen just did an impression of Aaron Kwok. Ouch.

20:31: On an unrelated note. I have waited an hour for my dinner delivery, and the restaurant just called me to tell me that something isn’t in stock.

20:28: I should clear up that Golden Horse is absolutely not a sensitive keyword on Weibo. Just seems like certain media are not covering it. Individual accounts and smaller media are still doing live coverage.

20:26: Pu Shu now performing the awesome theme song from Han Han’s THE CONTINENT. I’ve been told this is a big deal.

20:24: Clearly, Star Chinese Movies is going to be looping the same 5 ads again all night.

20:21: It is extremely odd that Sina Entertainment is just pretending that The Golden Horse award is totally not happening right now.

20:19: Screenwriter Li Qiang now on stage to introduce THE GOLDEN ERA as Best Picture nominee.

Last year, Li said that Anthony Chen taking two years to write his award-winning script for ILO ILO was nothing since his script for THE GOLDEN ERA took three years to write.

20:19: This is where the geography game gets tricky. Does Chen’s Supporting Actor award go to China and Taiwan? I’d personally put it under the nation of the film, which makes this the second award for Taiwan.

20:18: This really is Chen Jianbin’s year. He’s nominated for Best Supporting Actor, Best New Director and Best Actor thanks to PARADISE IN SERVICE and his directorial debut A FOOL. His film is also nominated for Best Film.

20:17: And the Best Supporting Actor goes to: Chen Jian-bin for PARADISE IN SERVICE. Second award for the Doze Niu film.

20:16: Now, time for Best Supporting Actor. Another competitive category here. 

20:15: Gwei Lun Mei says she has always played major roles in her films since her first film. Lau Ching Wan: “Me too!”


20:14: Mickey Huang: “We should get our Tourism authority to sponsor the awards” after hearing the director saying that he was traveling to Taiwan for the first time.

20:13: If we’re playing the geography game, it’s currently: China - 6, Taiwan - 1, Hong Kong - 0

20:11: And the winner of Best Short Film is THE HAMMER AND SICKLE ARE SLEEPING by Geng Jun.

20:09: Lau Ching Wan and Gwei Lun Mei now on stage to present two awards. Best Short Film.

And Lau Ching Wan’s Mandarin….

20:08: For those keeping score: PARADISE IN SERVICE has 1,  BLACK COAL THIN ICE has 1, BROTHERHOOD OF BLADES has 1, and BLIND MASSAGE has 3

20:06: A lot of local support for KANO, but also rumored to be the film that got the awards a ban in Chinese media. I repeat that this is only a rumor.

20:03: Now, a performance of the Japanese-language folk song in KANO. Though it sounds more like Taiwanese.

Masatoshi Nagase shows up on stage as the couch. Stays around to introduce the Best Picture intro clip in Japanese.

20:02: BLIND MASSAGE opens in China next weekend on the 28th. Not sure if it’ll be an edited version, though.

20:01: And the winner of Best Sound Effects is: BLIND MASSAGE. That’s three consecutive awards for the film!

Winner Fu Kang was also nominated for his work on RED AMNESIA, so he did have a 40% chance of winning.

20:00: Dai and Chen around for a third award: Best Sound Effects.

19:59: The younger winner, who is the student of the older editor, is absolutely speechless. That must be how winning your first Golden Horse feels like.

19:57: If all those rumors about multiple cuts of NO MAN’S LAND is true, then that Best Editing award….

Anyway, the winner is BLIND MASSAGE, its second win out of seven nominations.

19:56: Dai and Chen now present the Best Editing Award.

19:53: And the Best Cinematography award goes to: BLIND MASSAGE. This is the first win out of seven nominations from the film.

Winner Zeng Jian is a second-time winner, but his first win was split among three cinematographers.

19:52: Leon Dai and someone who identifies herself as “not Gwei Lun-mei” (Best Actress nominee Chen Shiang-chyi) now on stage to present. Their first award is Best Cinematography.

19:51: However, another smaller media organization I follow on Weibo is updating live. So…..

19:49: There’s been no confirmation of a Mainland China ban on the Golden Horse award, but Sina Entertainment’s Weibo account has not updated anything since the red carpet. They used to post live updates of the ceremony.

19:48: Wan Qian makes a wish on stage: She says she hopes to return to the stage in the future as the Best Actress winner.

19:46: And the winner of Best Supporting Actress is: Wan Qian for PARADISE IN SERVICE.

PARADISE has now won one and lost one.

19:45: By the way, INSANITY has only been shown once publicly at the Golden Horse Film Festival. I don’t think it has a Hong Kong release date set yet.

19:44: COTTON was the film that took 8 years to shoot, by the way.

Chang and Lee back to present the Best Supporting Actress award. This is the PARADISE IN SERVICE competition, with two actresses from the film nominated in this category.

Trivia: Ivy Chen was nominated at both Golden Horse and the Taiwan equivalent of the Razzies

19:43: And the winner of Best Documentary is: COTTON

19:42: Their first award is Best Documentary. They point out that one film took 8 years to shoot. Another took 10

19:40: Angelica Lee and Chang Chen now on stage to present. Each team of presenters presents two awards.

19:36: I believe Lau Ching Wan and Rubber Band are the only representatives of THE WHITE STORM tonight. Feel free to correct me on Twitter if I’m wrong.

19:34: We’re back with a live performance of the WHITE STORM theme song performed by Rubber Band. In Cantonese!

19:31: First commercial break! That means I can order dinner now.

19:30: Video clip of actors remember their first song. Chen Bl-lin says “I think they used to play the national anthem”. That’s not gonna be well-liked to Mainland audiences watching.

19:28: Director Diao Yinan accepts the award on behalf of the winner, who is currently at work.

19:27: Ruan and Kuo stay to present Best Art Direction.

The winner is BLACK COAL THIN ICE. First win out of 8 nominations 

19:26: Winner dedicates awards to her colleagues

19:25: Star Chinese Movies adds a note on the top right corner, saying that it will be showing BROTHERHOOD OF BLADES. The film has not been shown theatrically in Hong Kong, but the China version DVD has English subtitles.

19:24: And the winner is: BROTHERHOOD OF BLADES. One out of five nominations won.

19:22: Kuo Shu-yao and Ethan Euan now on stage to present the first awards. First up: the Makeup and Costume Design award

19:21: Ella Chen of S.H.E. and TV hosts Mickey Huang are the hosts this year. They’re saying hi to the big guests, including a very confused Nagase Masatoshi

19:17:  Sorry for the delay. Don’t worry, it’s a 4-hour show, and we’re only at the hosts banter right now. 

The Golden Rock 2014 Golden Horse Live Blog - The Preview




Due to my professional and personal obligations (more former than latter, if you’ve seen my work), I haven’t had much time to update this blog. But there are two occasions each year that bring me back with no exception: The Hong Kong Film Awards and the Golden Horse Awards. The difference: One speaks (mostly) Cantonese, the other one speaks Mandarin.


(just kidding - there are more Mandarin speakers at the Hong Kong Film Awards now)


November means that it’s time for the Golden Horse Awards! Celebrating the best and brightest in Greater China cinema, this year’s Golden Horse Awards is once again dominated by Mainland China films. Nevertheless, there is strong support in Taiwan for local darling KANO and Gwei “Gooey” Lun Mei, even though her nominated film is a Mainland China film.


As I have done in the past several years, I will once again live-blog the entire Golden Horse Award ceremony from beginning to end. Like last year, there will be less snark, but I guarantee that there will be just as much pointless narration of events happening at the ceremony.  And I once again guarantee that I will not understand 30% of what is said at the awards because of the Mandarin.


Once again, the Live Blog will be done in a single entry that is continuously updated throughout the night. You will have to manually reload the page to see the updates because I don’t have technology like those people who live blog Apple release events.


The awards starts promptly at 19:00 (that’s 7 PM for you lazy 12-hour clock people) Hong Kong/Taiwan time on Saturday, November 22nd. That’s GMT +8 (or just use World Time Server to figure that out).  Expect the awards to run over four hours, which is only one hour longer than THE GOLDEN ERA and about the same length as a Lav Diaz film. I promise it’ll be a breeze.


Depending on my typing speed, I will also be on Twitter throughout the night. Just tweet @TheGoldenRock using hashtag #GHA2014 and your comments may end up on this blog or retweeted by me. Yeah, I’m all up in this social media thingy.


The nomination list here, courtesy of our friendly neighbourhood Webmaster Kozo.


See you on Saturday night/morning/afternoon!





The Golden Rock 2014 Hong Kong Film Awards Live Blog

So it begins. This year’s Hong Kong Film Awards live blog below, going from bottom to top for easier reading for those reloading:  

23:33 - And that’s it for another year of the Hong Kong Film Awards. Thanks a lot for reading!

23:32 - Wong Kar Wai returns to the mic for one more remark. “Film and kung fu is about two words: Faith. If Hong Kong films are good enough, it shouldn’t just reach the north.” Yup.

23:31 - HKFA plays music to get Song Dai off the stage, but he’s still talking. They had to turn his mic back on.

23:30 - Sil-Metropole’s Song Dai takes the microphone and gives a long speech in Mandarin.

23:29 - Final award count - GRANDMASTER takes 12. THE WAY WE DANCE takes 3. RIGOR MORTIS takes 2. UNBEATABLE takes 1.

23:27 - And the winner for Best Picture is: THE GRANDMASTER. 12 awards total. Sets new record for most awards won by a single film at the HKFA.

23:26 - “It was great that Louis lost but still graciously hugged Nick. I’ve never won a Best Actor award winner, either!! We both have to work hard, Louis!” - Jackie Chan.

23:25 - Jackie Chan now on stage to present the Best Picture award.

Anyone notice the absence of Eric Tsang this year? Might’ve been over him leaving the Hong Kong Artistes’ Association.

23:24 - Nick Cheung just started to sing THE SOUND OF SILENCE. He gives up after 4 lines and starts throwing punches.

23:23 - On a personal note, this is the second year in a row I’ve helped out on an HKFA-winning film. Both for translation work and for the same company. Last year was THE LAST TYCOON. This year is for UNBEATABLE.

23:19 - This is likely UNBEATABLE’s only win for the night. Out of 11 nominations.

“How much did you guys bet?” - Nick Cheung.

This is Nick Cheung’s 2nd Best Actor win at the HKFA. 

23:16 - Time for the Ip Man VS MMA battle. The winner of the Best Actor award is: Nick Cheung for UNBEATABLE

Nick graciously pulls Tony Leung in for a hug. Awww.

Anthony Wong tried to hug Nick, but Nick went to hug Bona’s Yu Dong instead. Whoops.

23:13 - Miriam Yeung on stage now to pass out the Best Actor award.

23:09 - For those keeping count, and it’s a rather easy count for now, THE GRANDMASTER has won 11 awards tonight. It’s only lost out in one category.

23:06 - Another commercial break before the Best Actor and Best Film awards.

23:04 - And the Best Director award goes to: Wong Kar Wai for THE GRANDMASTER

9th nomination. His 3rd win at the HKFA.

This is his first Best Director win at the HKFA since CHUNGKING EXPRESS in 1994.

23:01 - Going into the 4th hour now….

OK, Carina Lau now on stage to present Best Director. First dig at Wong Kar Wai for taking Tony Leung away for 4, 5 years. Then dig at Tony Leung for keep going back to Wong.

22:59 - Zhang seems genuinely touched for winning this one. I think the HKFA out of all was the most important for her to win.

22:55 - The advantage of the HK Film Awards: they let the big star presenters go off-script and talk for 6 minutes as long as they’re amusing.

And the winner of the Best Actress award is: Zhang Ziyi for THE GRANDMASTER

Both of Zhang Ziyi’s HKFA actress wins have been for Wong Kar Wai movies. Her last win was for 2046.

22:51 - Nick to Cherry “You’re still young. Just wait some time. Your fellow nominees all had to wait for while”

22:48 - Nick Cheung goes off-script for a bit of a monologue on each of the nominees.

Nick just realized the script wrote the wrong character for Cherry Ngan’s Chinese name.

22:47 - Nick Cheung on stage now to present the Best Actress award.

22:43 - Why did George Lam just switch to incoherent Mandarin in the middle of the Wong Fei Hung song?

22:36 - George Lam now with a musical performance. I hope he sings that song from HER.

22:34 - And it’s time for Gordon Lam to snark Ronald Cheng. “So, there are a lot of talent shows on TV now. Why didn’t any of them sing your songs?” - Gordon Lam.

22:33 - Max Zhang just spoke Cantonese in his Now TV interview. He would’ve impressed a lot of people if he did that on stage!

22:24 - Eddie Peng and Angelababy on stage now to present the award for Best Action Design

Eddie, working hard on that Cantonese.

And the Best Action Design award goes to: THE GRANDMASTER. That’s 9 awards. Max Zhang accepts on Yuen Woo Ping’s behalf.

22:22 - “Hey, Gordon, have you seen any of these three awards?” - Ronald Cheng, point the Best Director, Best Film and Best Actor trophies from other HK film awards.

22:17 - Best Original Song award now.

The Best Original Song award goes to: THE WAY WE DANCE.

22:15 - First up is Best Original Score. The winner is: THE GRANDMASTER. Its 8th award of the night.

22:14 - Kelly Chen and Mark Lui on stage now to present the music awards.

22:13 - Did this year’s Lifetime Achievement award just become the equivalent of the Academy Award’s scientific and technical awards?

22:12 - Um, Jet Li presents the award to Cheung Sing Yim on video. Is Cheung not in Hong Kong?

22:10 - Lifetime Achievement Award time. To director Cheung Sing Yim for being one of the first Hong Kong directors to go north. In a year that celebrates Hong Kong cinema’s “return”.

Cheung directed Jet Li in SHAOLIN TEMPLE, the first HK-China co-production. Jet Li offers a clip to pay tribute.

22:08 - Oh, I just missed my chance to play the Now TV guessing game. Lost my chance at winning HK$10,000.

22:04 - Another commercial break. ICEMAN 3D ad appears.

22:02 - Producer Stanley Kwan accepts the award on Zhao’s behalf. Zhao is currently shooting the new Peter Chan film.

22:00 - As we head into our third hour…

The winner of Best Film From Mainland China and Taiwan is: Vicki Zhao’s SO YOUNG

21:56 - Huang Bo and Chang Chen on stage to present Best Film from Mainland China and Taiwan. Trivia: Neither of these men won the Best Supporting Actor award this year.

21:54 - The two HK New Wave directors stay on stage for Best Sound Design.

Man. I kind of look forward to that AS THE LIGHT GOES OUT Blu-ray now.

And the winner of Best Sound Design is: THE GRANDMASTER. The 7th award tonight.

21:51  - Cheung and Yim are on stage to present Best Visual Effects. This is also a surprisingly difficult category to call.

And the winner of Best Visual Effects is Enoch Chan for RIGOR MORTIS.

RIGOR MORTIS just broke THE GRANDMASTER’s streak! 2nd award for the film.

21:49 - Alex Cheung just announced that he’s retiring from the ICAC  as a director this year and hints a return to the HK film industry.

21:48 - Alex Cheung, whom Ronald Cheng calls the director of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and Yim Ho now on stage.

Seriously, Alex Cheung directed MAN ON THE BRINK. Only the first and the best HK undercover cop film ever made.

21:46 - Ronald Cheng reveals that the montage - with the message “history will pass, but film remains” was edited by Maggie Cheung. I apologize.

21:43 - Hong Kong cinema reflecting Hong Kong history? Still don’t quite understand this montage here.

21:40 - So, this is a long montage of Hong Kong cinema?  I’m not sure what’s going on here.

21:37 - Anthony Wong says he was asked to go on stage to talk about Hong Kong cinema. He pulls out a file of research material.

First, he puts the smack down on Baidu.

“According to Wikipedia, the first definition is Wong Jing. The second is Andy Lau. The third is Anthony Wong, the king of crappy films. I can’t agree with this. After all, Jackie Chan isn’t even here.”

And Anthony Wong just threw out a whole barrage of English.

21:36 - Anthony Wong on stage by himself now. Let’s see what he has to say this year.

21:35 - Back from commercial break with a short clip of Now TV interviewing Babyjohn Choi

21:30 - Wu Ma and Lau Kar Leung close out the In Memoriam segment.

21:26 - Fortunately, no cutting away to some pop act this year during the In Memoriam segment. Just a montage of those we’re remembering.

21:25 - Now the in memoriam montage.

First one up is, of course, Run Run Shaw.

21:23 - “Someone told me that anyone who’s in a Wong Kar Wai film would win an award, and I said ‘REALLY?’” - Max Zhang

Zhang also gives a shout-out to his wife Ada Choi.

21:20 - Time for the Best Supporting Actor award.

Shawn Yue first gives a shoutout to his buddy Eddie Peng.

The winner of Best Supporting Actor is: Max Zhang for THE GRANDMASTER. That’s 6

21:19 - Shawn Yue’s first question to Isabella: “So who are you with now?”

Isabella’s answer: “I’m with you right now, Shawn Yue!”

21:18 - Isabella Leong and Shawn Yue on stage now to present. Isabella hasn’t been on this stage for a while.

21:15 - Tsao remains on stage to present Best Editing

And the Best Editing Award goes to: THE GRANDMASTER. The film’s 5th award now.

21:14 - Le Sourd said the film’s first AD laughed at him when he asked for a shooting schedule.

21:12 - And the Best Cinematography award goes to: THE GRANDMASTER. This is Philippe Le Sourd’s first nomination and first win.

Did Chip Tsao just speak French to Le Sourd?!

21:10  - Chip Tsao, whose directorial debut ENTHRALLED is in cinemas now, on stage to present Best Cinematography.

Remember, THE GRANDMASTER was nominated for Best Cinematography at the Oscars.

21:08 - Second commercial break

21:03 - Kara Hui just revealed that Willie Chan asked her to act in RIGOR MORTIS on behalf on his godson Juno Mak.

20:59 - Andrew Lau and Denise Ho on stage now to present Best Supporting Actress. Another tough category to call. 

And the winner is Kara Hui for RIGOR MORTIS. This is her first Best Supporting Actress win.

20:56 - “Perhaps the biggest disaster last year was 14 new directors fighting to make a living” - Cheung Tat Ming

20:55 - “This is the biggest disaster scene of Hong Kong cinema all year.”  - Cheung Tat Ming before showing the WHITE STORM song featuring Louis Koo, Nick Cheung and Lau Ching Wan.

20:53 - “You can hear Cantonese curse words everywhere in Hong Kong. Just hold the open door button on a full elevator for longer than 5 seconds.” - Cheung Tat Ming.

20:51 - Cheung Tat Ming, who has been away from the limelight for over a year due to his illness, is back on stage! I think this is the annual stand-up comedy routine.

20:49 - Olivia Cheng and Simon Yam stay on stage to present Best Costume Design

The winner of Best Costume Design is: William Chang for THE GRANDMASTER

Did anyone think William Chang would lose the category that he got an Oscar nomination for?

20:47 - And the winner of Best Art Direction is THE GRANDMASTER.

William Chang couldn’t make it to the ceremony to get his award because he was recently injured at work.

20:45 - Olivia Cheng and Simon Yam now on stage to present Best Art Direction.

This is the former beauty pageant winner’s first time at the Hong Kong Film Awards.

20:42 - And the most important award of the night: The Best Dressed Award.

The winners of the Best Dressed Award are Nick Cheung (who appears REALLY shocked) and Angelababy.

The winners are so shocked that they refused to stand up.  

20:41 - The advantage of Now TV: You get to see ads for companies like “I Love Cake” and a juicer ad featuring a dubbed Lee Young-Ae

20:36 - First ad break of the night. Time to take some meds.

20:32 - And now, the Best Screenplay award. This is a tough category to call.

The winner of the Best Screenplay award is:  THE GRANDMASTER.

This is Wong Kar Wai’s first Best Screenplay award!

“Hong Kong’s tallest director gets an award from Hong Kong’s shortest director” - Fruit Chan.

20:31 - They’ve mentioned their very long film title twice already, and I still don’t know what they’re presenting.

20:30 - The Golden Scene Film Awards continue as director Fruit Chan and actress Kara Hui go on stage - both in cinemas now with THE MIDNIGHT AFTER.

20:29 - And now, more hosts banter between Gordon Lam and Teresa Mo.

20:26 - Babyjohn Choi, seen for the past year in multiple Movie Movie and Broadway Cinema ads.

20:25 - And the winner of Best New Actor is Babyjohn Choi for THE WAY WE DANCE

20:24 - “Don’t worry, Juno, we still have a chance” - Nina Paw.

She stays on stage to give the Best New Actor award.  

20:23 - Adam Wong’s speech is still going. I take it as an opportunity to finish dinner.

20:20 - Adam Wong first thanks Golden Scene and Winnie Tsang. Cherry Ngan is crying in the audience now.

20:19 - According to the announcer, Adam Wong’s WHEN BECKHAM MET OWEN does not count as a feature film.

20:18 - First award is the Best New Director award. It’s usually the Best Screenplay, but I see they’re changing things up this year.

And the winner of the Best New Director award is Adam Wong for THE WAY WE DANCE, for er, his third feature film. 

20:17 - Nina Paw is tonight’s first presenter. “I’m glad to come up now since I probably won’t be up here later”

20:16 - OK, they just made a spoiler-esque joke about RIGOR MORTIS.

“FIRESTORM is like a game. 3D gunshots and explosions won’t kill him, but a 3D bus does.” - Ronald Cheng.

20:14 - CreateHK and the Hong Kong Film Fund are giving HK$100,000 to the winner of tonight’s Best New Director Award.

20:13 - Tonight’s hosts are Teresa Mo, Ronald Cheng and Gordon Lam. It’s like a Saturday Night Live thing by now.

“We’ve made only 49 movies this year, so I guess it was a pretty special year after all.” - Ronald Cheng.

20:12 - And now, a parade of new directors, made up of a whopping ten people.

20:11 - THE WAY WE DANCE has dancing, RIGOR MORTIS has vampires, and FIRESTORM has Philip Keung and Terence Yin falling on a metal crate onto the stage.

20:08 - And the vampire in RIGOR MORTIS just wire-fu-ed on the stage with several other hopping vampires. The vampires are joined by dancers from THE WAY WE DANCE.

20:07 - Crystal Lee introduces a montage of “new directors,” including one of which has already made three feature films (you can guess which one).

20:06 - OK, live at the Culture Center now as the show gets underway with Unbeatable’s Crystal Lee doing a speech.

20:05 - The Now TV hosts share their predictions. Female host: “I’d like Louis Koo to win because he’s never won before.”

20:04 - And we’re….not so off yet. Now TV doing several more minutes of pre-show. Apparently not even live events can start on time in Hong Kong.

20:02 - OK, infomercial over. Looks like we’re starting up very soon.

20:00 - Now TV is showing a restaurant infomercial right now. Seriously??

19:56 - Be sure to check out this year’s list of nominees here and tweet @TheGoldenRock with hashtag #HKFA2014!

19:52 - And our live blog begins! Tonight’s coverage is brought to you via Now TV.  

The 2014 Golden Rock Hong Kong Film Awards Live Blog Preview


It’s time for the best and brightest of Hong Kong cinema to come together again and pat each other on the back. That’s right, it’s time for the Hong Kong Film Awards!  This weekend, Hong Kong will celebrate another year of great Hong Kong films (most of which are co-produced with Mainland China), and we’re here to reveal the winners live via text, because text is so much more exciting than pictures!

Like previous years, We will be live-blogging the proceedings as they happen. However, due to my new identity as a film journalist, snarking will be kept to a minimum, which mean I am leaving it to you all to do it.

But, first, the details:

Time? 20:00 Hong Kong time (GMT+8). Use World Time Server if you need to know that is in your time zone.

Place? Right here!

How? I will start a new entry for the live blog and update it continuously. All you have to do is enter that entry and reload every once in a while to see the latest updates!

Doesn’t that just add to your site visits? All I care is unique visits, and you reloading the page won’t add to it. Besides, my ego doesn’t need that kind of inflating.

Who’s nominated? What are you doing here if you don’t know? OK, do your homework here and start putting together those betting pools (hint: betting against Wong Kar Wai may not be good for your wallet).

Why should I read your live blog?  If you understand Chinese, live in Hong Kong and have a TV, then you shouldn’t. But if you answered no to any of those three questions, don’t you want to know what’s happening? If you answered yes to that question and you care about Hong Kong cinema, then why not read it?

Because you’re a dick.  Ok, fair point. But you still don’t understand Chinese/live in Hong Kong/have a TV.

Now you’re just talking to yourself on your own blog. I know I am, but what are you?

Since I will not be snarking, I am leaving it to my followers on Twitter to do it. Be sure to tweet your comments @TheGoldenRock with hashtag #HKFA2014, and I will retweet the best comments. I don’t necessarily agree with you by retweeting, but I am acknowledging that you are being witty on Twitter, which just makes you that much of a superior human being.

Stop being a dick. I am not retweeting that.

OK, see you Sunday night. Copyright © 2002-2016 Ross Chen