INFO · Search
· Chinese version · Subscribe

Culture & Leisure

Hong Kong film industry questions for its revival era

In October, two local films, "Warriors of Future" and "Table For Six", broke over HK$70 million at the box office while some movie related people wonder whether the Hong Kong film industry can have its second glorious "1980-90" era.

 "As time passes and more significant events occur, there will inevitably be more compelling movie ideas.," Luk said.  

"Warriors of Future", starring Louis Koo, Lau Ching Wan, and Carina Lau, is the biggest movie ever made in Hong Kong while "table of six" became the top Hong Kong-produced comedy at the box office in Hong Kong in 2022.

Luk said social events can inspire new themes to Hong Kong films and create a craze. For example, a 2002 film "Internal Affairs" created with the background after Hong Kong's handover in 1997.

Hong Kong is also attempting to produce a wider genre of films.

Over half of the films with the gangster genres in the 1970s to 1990s to kung fu films such as “Ip Man” series from 2008 to 2019, the Hong Kong films mostly are about themes of police and bandits.

“By introducing science fiction films to the local market, "Warriors of the Future" has made an important first step for Hong Kong's film industry,” said Luk.

Chan Hoi-king, 21, a former film student in Hong Kong Baptist University, now studying at the University of Birmingham thinks the Hong Kong film industry is expected to revive.

“The government has begun to face up to the development of the film industry, and the rebirth of Hong Kong film is expected,” said Chan.

The Culture, Sports and Tourism Bureau has set aside approximately HK$240 million to promote the development of Hong Kong films. Eligible film projects will receive a maximum of HK$9 million in funding under the new measure "Asian Cultural Exchange Film Production Funding Scheme."

The Streaming Platform Content Development Program shortlisted teams will receive a script development fee ranging from HK$600,000 to HK$1.2 million. The fund will provide a HK$4.5 million subsidy to the winning team to produce the first or first two episodes of the work.

The Film Production Financing Scheme's measures have been relaxed. So far, 17 film production projects costing a total of $96 million have been approved following the relaxation of measures, according to the Culture, Sports and Tourism Bureau.

“We are all delighted that Hong Kong films are doing well, but whether this is the start of the next glory of Hong Kong films. I have some doubts,” said Tin Kai-man, the spokesman of the Federation of Hong Kong Filmmakers. 

Tin said the creative industry requires talents with various coordination, including crews from the frontstage, backstage and the market support.. Each person must play their role.

From 1970 to the 90s, the Hong Kong film industry had diverse themes and various talents. But now, Hong Kong has lost these advantages. No one comes after. 

Tin said no new local stars have emerged to replace them in the past twenty years. No matter how famous the new celebrities are in Hong Kong, their popularity still cannot be compared to the former stars. 

“I watch Korean and American movies more often than Hong Kong movies because the former have more choices, genres and are more interesting,” said Wong Ka-yan, 22, a Hong Kong citizen.

According to research from the Legislative Council, the Hong Kong film industry has more competitors than in the past. In 1980-90, its competitors were mainly western countries. However, other Asian film industries, such as South Korea, Thailand, and Taiwan, are more developed nowadays. Foreign movies crowd out Hong Kong films.

A total of 278 films were released in 2021, of which only 46 were Hong Kong films, according to the data of Hong Kong Box Office Ltd.

Tin Kai-man, the spokesman of the Federation of Hong Kong Filmmakers, still hopes that Hong Kong’s film industry will develop better.(Photo: Federation of Hong Kong Filmmakers)

The venue application restrictions of Hong Kong may delay the schedule of filming. 

“The application process is complicated and time-consuming, this really annoys me,” said Chan. Chan proposed loosening the venue application restrictions.

To rent a fire station as a shooting location, filmmakers must submit an application form at least seven full working days before the shooting date, and provide the following information: shooting location, date, time, story of the film, shooting scene, and nature of the event, according to the Film Services Office

All the props have to be paid by filmmakers themselves, and each play will cost a lot of money, which is a heavy burden for students.

Luk Yip-lam, 21, a student majoring in Film at the Hong Kong Baptist University said “ I hope Hong Kong's film industry may have a future”.

However, Chen believes that the above measures from the Culture, Sports and Tourism Bureau are far from sufficient to ease the funding for filming.

"We are forced to pay for filming, equipment, scenes, and lunch boxes out of pocket; it appears that chasing dreams without money is difficult," said Chan.

Chan was the director and he was filming with classmates.

“I hope more and more people will support Hong Kong films. More producers and creators can help the Hong Kong film industry,” said Tin.

Luk hoped Hong Kong films could add more visual effects , “VFX (visual effects)  is fantastic, it can make the impossible possible,” said Luk.

《The Young Reporter》

The Young Reporter (TYR) started as a newspaper in 1969. Today, it is published across multiple media platforms and updated constantly to bring the latest news and analyses to its readers.


Last surviving hand-painted porcelain factory in Hong Kong

Art Department: The story behind the visuals