27th Annual Made in Hong Kong Film Festival reception

Remarks by Sylvester Wong
Director, Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office
The Freer Gallery of Art
July 14, 2022

Hello, everyone. Welcome.

I am Sylvester Wong, the new director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office. I arrived last month with my family. As we call your wonderful city our home for the next few years, we look forward to more opportunities to get to know you.

Though, Washington is not entirely unfamiliar to me. In 2013 I participated in a training course at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University. I feel that I have a personal connection to the city.

I am somewhat in a more enviable position than my predecessor as I have the privilege of welcoming you, in-person, to the long-awaited return of our Made in Hong Kong Film Festival reception.

I am grateful to our friends at The Freer Gallery of Art for their continued support of the gallery’s longest-running film festival, including over the last two unprecedented years when the film festival went virtual.

The Made in Hong Kong Film Festival holds special meaning for many of us as it offers an opportunity to enrich cross-cultural exchanges. You are well aware of the social divisions within our community. In spite of the challenges, the undercurrent should remain a willingness to engage. Tonight we gather together, to be cast in the glow of a movie screen, thanks to a shared appreciation for imaginative storytelling.

The imagination of Hong Kong’s filmmakers, actors and choreographers has indelibly shaped popular culture, including in the US. Our film industry is an integral part of reinforcing the city’s status as an international arts and cultural hub.

Hong Kong continues to develop its arts and culture hardware and software. Our West Kowloon Cultural District is one of the world’s largest and most ambitious cultural infrastructure projects. Backed by an endowment of nearly US$3 billion, the district encompasses roughly 100 acres of land along our scenic Victoria Harbour waterfront.

The district is comprised of a variety of venues, such as M+, a new museum of contemporary visual culture that opened last year. It is home to the Sigg Collection, a comprehensive and world-renowned collection of contemporary Chinese art, donated by art collector and former Swiss Ambassador to China, Mr Uli Sigg.

On July 3, the Hong Kong Palace Museum opened to the public, showcasing artefacts from Beijing’s Palace Museum, some of which have never been put on public display.

In May, the city hosted Art Basel Hong Kong. The second edition of the art fair in a hybrid format hosted 130 galleries, as well as a series of digital programming.

Tonight, we will have our own immersive experience into the mind of one of Hong Kong’s most unconventional directors, Stephen Chow. Our throw-back film Kung Fu Hustle, with its cartoonish characters and kinetic frenzy, is a rowdy anything-goes comedy classic.

Apart from tonight’s screening, I hope you will have an opportunity to watch other films featured this year – from kung-fu classics starring Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan to action-packed thrillers and fantasy epics by Johnnie To and Tsui Hark.

In conjunction with the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, we are also presenting the virtual photo exhibition Making Waves – Navigators of Hong Kong Cinema. The exhibition showcases the works of four unit photographers who created still images for nearly 200 films. You may explore the exhibition through the QR code on the back of the postcards available at the gallery.

Now, please sit back, relax and enjoy the movie. Thank you.