Copyright MediaConnex Asia 2017
031617-HAF Awards

15th Hong Kong – Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF) Awards 14 Film Projects

Hong Kong’s “Impossible Split” and Japan’s “Yuko” are the biggest winners of all.


Concluding yesterday, 15th March, 2017, the 15th edition of the Hong Kong – Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF), Asia’s largest project market, capped off the 3-day event with the awarding of 14 prizes to a roster of 33 film projects seeking investors, distributors, and other financial partners, represented by their respective producer and director teams.

The prestigious film market gathers Asian filmmakers with either finished screenplays ready for development or works-in-progress needing additional funding from over 35 countries and regions. HAF easily attracts thousands of entries into the project market, and from that pile, 25 to 30 projects are selected annually to participate, allowing the film project’s representatives to pitch to a slew of top tier financiers, producers, distributors, and buyers.

This year’s top 2 prizes were given out to the following titles: Impossible Split (HAF Award, Hong Kong Project category) and Yuko (HAF Award, Non-Hong Kong Project category). Impossible Split, budgeted at USD 1.2 million, was represented by director Tommy Tom Chung-sing, a visual effects producer on cult classics, Kung Fu Hustle and Kill Bill: Volume 1. The story is based on the real life of famed Hong Kong bowler, Wu Siu-hong, who went on to become world champion in Las Vegas after a bout with testicular cancer that had also killed his father only 3 years prior.

Yuko, which had the working title, NARAtive Film 2017-2018, when it was presented at HAF, was represented by its producer, Naomi Kawase, the Japanese filmmaker who was the youngest director to ever win the “La Caméra d’Or” (Best New Director) award at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival for her feature film, Suzaku. The veteran filmmaker presented Yuko to the project market with its director, Ida Panahandeh of Tehran, who has also won at Cannes in 2015 for her film, Nahid. With a budget of USD 500,000, Yuko will be a modern-day retelling of a Shakespearean story, with a female character as the protagonist.

La Luna, a comedy project from Singapore, bagged 2 prizes from HAF, winning the Wouter Barendrecht Award and the White Light Post-Production Award (HAF Project). La Luna is about a young woman who owns a lingerie shop in a very austere Muslim region that still clings to its antiquated traditions. It will be directed by M. Raihan Halim.

Another major prize, The iQIYI award, courtesy of the largest, online video streaming plaform based in Beijing, was bestowed on The Patient. The cash prize of HKD 100,000 was awarded to The Patient’s representatives, director Yang Long and producer Zhou Jia. The story is about a Chinese teenager undergoing treatment for internet addiction.

HAF has long partnered up with distinguished international organizations that help in granting the film project participants a wide ranger of opportunities, namely iQIYI (China), Fox International Productions (Greater China and US), Cinemart (the Netherlands), and Network of Asian Fantastic Films (NAFF) of Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFAN – South Korea), among others. All of the 14 prizes, both in cash and in kind, amount to approximately USD 150,000.

This year’s HAF has been made more remarkable by the fact that female filmmakers were well represented at the project market. Out of the 25 film projects selected, nearly half of them were represented by women directors. The female filmmakers also ranged from all over the region, like Miyake Kyoko (Japan), Rubaiyat Hossain (Bangladesh), Sigrid Andrea Bernardo (Philippines), Chen Yi-jung (Taiwan), Honey B. Singh (Singapore), Degena Yun (China), and Ying Weiwei (China), to name a few.

The 14 winners are listed below:

1.) HAF Award (Hong Kong Project): Impossible Split
Director: Tommy Tom Chung-sing, Producer: Adam Wong
Production Company: Picturethat Limited

2.) HAF Award (Non-Hong Kong Project): Yuko
Director: Ida Panahandeh, Producer: Naomi Kawase
Production Company: Nara International Film Fest Organizing Committee

3.) iQIYI Special Award: The Patient
Director: Yang Long, Producer: Zhou Jia
Production Company: Shenzhen Surprise Movie Co., Ltd.

4.) mm2 Entertainment Award: Forget You, Still Love You?
Co-Directors: Kenneth Lai Siu-Kwan and Paul Sze Pak-Lam, Producers: Tin Kai-Man and Lau Wing-Tai
Production Company: Vow Production Limited

5.) HAF/FOX Project Award: Drifting Lives
Director: Danlly Li, Producer: Ray Chan
Production Companies: Kozmo Production Co., Ltd and YNTV Motion Magic Digital Studios Co., Ltd.

6.) Wouter Barendrecht Award: La Luna
Director: M. Raihan Halim, Producer: Asra Aman
Production Company: Papahan Films Pte., Ltd.

7.) Paris Co-production Village Award: The Asadas
Director: Nakano Ryota, Producer: Ogawa Shinji
Production Company: Bridgehead, Inc.

8.) NAFF Award: Femme Fatale
Director: Miyake Kyoko, Producer: Guillaume de Seille
Production Company: Arizona Productions

9.) Wutianming Post-Production Award: Rainbow Mountain
Director: Degena Yun, Producer: Zhang Yang
Production Company: Beijing Mailisi Film & Culture Co., Ltd.

10.) White Light Post-Production Award (HAF Project): La Luna
Director: M. Raihan Halim, Producer: Asra Aman
Production Company: Papahan Films Pte., Ltd.

11.) White Light Post-Production Award (WIP Lab Project): Village Rockstars
Director: Rima Das, Producer: Rima Das

12.) G2D Post-Production Award (HAF Project): I AM A BANANA!
Director: Honey B. Singh, Producers: Mona Singh and Gabrielle Kelly
Production Company: Honeylove Films

13.) G2D Post-Production Award (WIP Lab Project): The Third Wife
Director: Nguyễn Phương Anh, Producer: Tran Ngoc
Production Companies: An Nam Productions and Three Colour Productions

14.) Wanda WIP Lab Award: Omotenashi
Director: Jay Chern, Producers: Jay Chern and Kitagawa Junichi
Production Company: Epic Entertainment, Shochiku

Editor’s Note:  We regret to publish an earlier version of this article, which erroneously stated that Asian Project Market of Busan International Film Festival was the South Korean partner of HAF Award.   The correction has now been made to indicate that the true South Korean partner-benefactor is really the Network of Asian Fantastic Films (NAFF) of Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFAN).  We extend our sincerest thanks to Mr. Jongsuk Thomas Nam of NAFF – BIFAN for the clarification.  


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Janice freelances as a Screenwriter and Director in the Philippines and the U.S., but her first, great love will always be Creative Writing. She's contributed for dailies and magazines in her island hometown of Cebu from the age of 14. One of her most exciting writing gigs was in the Film section of the now-defunct lifestyle webzine, Limité, in which she got to interview one of her filmmaker heroes, Richard Linklater in New York City in 2012. When she's not writing or daydreaming up stories, Janice loves to go backpacking around small islands, making driftwood art, and playing with her Shih-Poo dog, Brandy.


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