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2017 HAF Project Market Takes Family and Female-Focus

Variety logo Variety 1/18/2017 Patrick Frater
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New film projects by China’s Johnny Ma (“Old Stone”,) Hong Kong veteran Derek Chiu and Japan’s Naomi Kawase as producer are among the selection for the upcoming edition of the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF.)

The event is among the oldest film project markets in Asia and is now in its 15th edition. It will be held in parallel with the massive FilMart rights market in Hong Kong and run March 13-15, 2017.

Organizers said that most of the shortlist are “family-driven projects that touch on contemporary social issues, while others explore topics such as non-traditional families, marriages in upheaval, and the complexities of parent-child relationships.” There are also science fiction and gothic thriller projects.

Five Hong Kong projects are among the titles selected. Chiu’s “Sung-kee’s No.1 Chung Ying Street,” drama about the 1967 riots in Hong Kong, sits alongside others including Tom Chung-sing’s “Impossible Split,” which is produced by director Adam Wong (“The Way We Dance”.)

Women film makers account for nearly half of the shortlisted projects. Female-driven projects include: “Femme Fatale,” a dark comedy about two women whose parallel lives touch and collide, which is the first feature by Japanese documentarian Miyake Kyoko; and “Made in Bangladesh,” about garment workers’ rights, by Rubaiyat Hossain. Kawase is seeking finance for an untitled, loose adaptation of a Shakespeare play – with a strong female lead – to be directed by Ida Panahandeh.

Ma’s “Ten Thousand Happiness” is one of the many projects at HAF in the family drama register. It tells of the sudden divorce of grandfather from an elite family in China. That sets off a chain reaction that forces other family members to evaluate their own relationships.

Fox International Productions and Fox Networks Group Asia will present the HAF/FOX Project Award to suspense murder-mystery “Drifting Lives,” from first-time director Danlly Li of China. The project will receive a cash award of US$10,000 and a development contract with Fox.

Organizers report that they received over 350 submissions from 14 different territories.

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