Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Washington DC
Hong Kong

Remarks by Clement Leung
Hong Kong Commissioner to the United States

22nd Annual Made in Hong Kong Film Festival Reception National Museum of American History
Washington, D.C. on July 12, 2017

 

Thank you, Tom [Vick]. And thank you for joining us at the premiere of this year’s Made in Hong Kong Film Festival.

For 22 years the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office and the Freer Gallery of Art have been offering the best of Hong Kong cinema at the Gallery’s longest running film festival. I would like to thank Tom Vick, our friends in the Smithsonian Institution and my colleagues for their hard work in putting together this year’s programme.

I would also like to express my gratitude to the National Museum of American History for graciously hosting our film festival in the past two years as Freer is undergoing renovations. We look forward to welcoming you back to Freer next year.

The mission of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office is to strengthen Hong Kong-US ties. This extends beyond a dynamic commercial relationship to cover cultural exchange.

There are a number of exciting development in Hong Kong in our art and culture scene. New facilities will begin to open in our 100 acre West Kowloon Culture District. These include the Chinese Opera Centre, a black-box theatre, outdoor performing space and M+, a brand new, mega contemporary art museum. The Hong Kong Palace Museum is being planned. When completed, it will become another focal point to exhibit Chinese national treasures of the Forbidden Palace in Beijing, which at present can only display 0.5% of its collection because of the lack of space.

Now in its fifth year, Art Basel Hong Kong has become the most important event

for the international art market in Asia, with new, diverse exhibitions built around it in March each year. The ecosystem for design, fashion, digital entertainment and art galleries is extremely vibrant.

Of course, our culture has its root in Hong Kong cinema. Our movies industry has also been undergoing many stages of transformation: from Bruce Lee to Jackie Chan, to John Woo, to Wong Kar-wai, to Johnnie To and Stephen Chow. Hong Kong film-makers are expanding to new genres and boundaries.

This year’s Made in Hong Kong Film Festival is particularly special as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and our return to China.

Under the “One Country, Two Systems” arrangement, Hong Kong is able retain our unique way of life, our core values and our characteristic as an open and pluralistic society. If you are following the programmes of this film festival and our selection of movies for the past 22 years, you can see for yourselves that the freedom of expression and our creativity is not just alive and well, but also flourishing in Hong Kong since the handover.

The public programme of this year’s film festival will start with the screening of Mad World this Friday. The film’s director, Wong Chun, and screenwriter, Florence Chan, will be here in person to discuss their film, which won best new director, best supporting actor and best supporting actress awards at the Hong Kong Film Awards. Wong also won a best new director award at the Golden Horse Awards. So please come again early this Friday because seating is on a first come first serve basis.

Aside from new releases, we will showcase classic films such as Stephen Chow’s absurdist martial arts comedy, Kung Fu Hustle, and Fruit Chan’s acclaimed 1997 indie masterpiece, Made in Hong Kong, which has been newly restored.

This evening’s premiere film, Trivisa, is by a trio of young Hong Kong directors and produced by legendary director Johnnie To. The film swept the Hong Kong Film Awards winning best picture, best director, best screenplay, best actor and best film editing. It won best original screenplay and best film editing at the Golden Horse Awards as well as a best supporting actor award at the Asian Film Awards. It was also named best film of the year by the Hong Kong Film Critics Society.

I don’t want to be a spoiler but the movie is based on the stories of three of the most notorious Hong Kong criminals. A lot of it is of course dramatized but because of the series of high profile crimes committed by these gangsters in the 80s and 90s, the Hong Kong Police completely revamped their equipment, tactics and intelligence capabilities. The rest is history. Last year, we have the lowest crime rate in 44 years. And there was not a single case involving firearm. So, it is a good thing that the present is more boring than the past.

Please sit back, relax and enjoy the movie. Thank you.


 



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