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Four projects with European producers pitched at the 18th Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum

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- This year’s edition sees the participation of four international co-productions involving France, Greece, Slovakia, Italy, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands

Four projects with European producers pitched at the 18th Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum
Haruna Honcoop, whose project Olympic Halftime has been selected

The 18th edition of the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum is ready to kick off. The event, set to run from 26-28 August, is Asia’s premier project market designed to connect local filmmakers with upcoming film projects from all over the world. The gathering, first established in 2000, will take place virtually and is estimated to attract over 1,000 filmmakers and financiers from at least 35 countries.

This year’s edition sees 22 projects shortlisted in the Work-in-Progress (WIP) section. All of them are looking for closing funds, post-production partners, distributors, sales agents or festivals. Among these, four are international co-productions involving European partners.

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The first of these four projects is Haruna Honcoop’s directorial debut Olympic Halftime, which explores the urban impact of the Olympics’ facilities. In his director’s statement, Honcoop explained: “There is always the question of the price that the environment and the citizens pay when such a big event is organised. The Olympics involve huge investments in all countries. [..] The film will follow the destinies of the Olympic structures and the people related to them in various ways after the Olympics are over, as well as the controversies that the current preparations for the upcoming games in Tokyo 2020, Beijing 2022 and Paris 2024 entail.” The documentary is being produced by Vít Janeček for Czech outfit D1film, Slovak firm VIRUSFilm and Greek production house 2K Films.

The first fiction project is Antonio Tibaldi’s new sci-fi feature We Are Living Things. The story focuses on the mysterious Solomon (Jorge Antonio Guerrero), who lives and works in a recycling plant in New York City. A self-taught science wiz, he has made his own radio telescope from spare parts to search for extraterrestrial communications. He believes that his mother, who went missing years ago when crossing the border in the Arizona desert, was abducted by a UFO. By chance, he meets the alluring Chuyao, a manicurist who unwillingly moonlights in dangerous fetish games. A violent confrontation with Chuyao’s criminal boyfriend leaves these two illegal aliens heading West, on the run from the law while hunting down a shared UFO experience. The film is co-produced by He Fan for US outfit EnMaze Pictures Inc., alongside No Permits Produktions (USA) and Berta Film (Italy).

Meanwhile, young Cambodian filmmaker Kavich Neang will be pitching his first narrative feature, entitled White Building. The plot centres on 20-year-old Samnang and his two friends, Tol and Ah Kha, who were raised in Phnom Penh’s landmark tenement, the White Building, and dream that their dance routine can reach the stage of a television talent contest. Their youthful habits are upended, however, when Ah Kha reveals he will soon leave Cambodia. The drama is being produced by Davy Chou for Cambodia’s Anti-Archive and Marine Arrighi de Casanova for France’s Apsara Film.

Finally, the fourth project is entitled Ningdu, presented by writer-director Lei Lei. The animated film, a hybrid piece that mixes fiction and documentary, follows Maomao as he recalls the struggles of his family amid the Great Leap Forward. When Dad is compelled to work in the countryside, the already sick Mum passes away. As the system prevents Dad from living with his three children, he has to put them in an orphanage. Locked in cages, Maomao and his sisters become little birds. The feature is being produced by Isabelle Glachant for Hong Kong’s Chinese Shadows, the director himself for C-Ray Studio and Bruno Felix for Dutch firm Submarine.

The two pitching sessions, one dedicated to fiction projects and one to documentaries, both took place on 26 August.

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