As I walked down the stairs to the lobby of the Agnes b cinema, the hustle and bustle hit: the place was full of life. At my first “I Shot Hong Kong” screening, I had no idea what to expect and as I took my seat in the packed out ruby red movie theatre the lights dimmed and the showcase began.
The night began with “A Hong Kong Ferry Tale”, a cute kooky 2D animation following an immigrant as she pursues her love interest. Raising a few giggles this was a charming beginning to the night. “Unlucky Dog” was a black and white piece which captured the darker side of Hong Kong characters and left the audience half in horror and half in fits of laughter as it followed a young unacademic Chinese boy and his new found friend, a shaggy white pup.
I was pleasantly surprised by the next entry directed by James Hacking. “Subtitle” is a story of an unhappy banker in the bright lights of the metropolis that is Hong Kong. Where the suicide rates are 40% higher than places such as Britain and the USA the subject of suicide is touchy here, but this film encapsulates the loneliness and despair that the city can bring in a tasteful and well narrated approach. This gritty and well thought out plot, really utilised the backdrop of Hong Kong effectively giving a real feeling of isolation in this city of almost 7million.
Keeping up the high calibre was “Punkification”, a tongue-in-cheek comedy at youth culture that took on the format of a documentary. With very natural dialogue and strong observations of Triad/Punk culture this light hearted piece had the audience howling in laughter as the class of a “How to be a Triad” class took their learnt knowledge into the streets of Mong Kok.
Returning for the second half I was a bit disappointed. It began with a tourist board endorsed advertisement, so I thought until the spectators started applauding. It was then I realised it was the music video entry “Pounding Waves”. The next short film “Running” started well as it panned across a running field, I had high hopes, but the story turned out to be disappointing with an unimaginative and predictive ending. “Tagspotting” a short film cum documentary about Hong Kong’s graffiti culture gave insight about street art culture, but mid film as people checked their programmes I could feel the audience’s attention waning.
The closing piece was a far from ordinary short film directed by Josh Evans where a nervous man orders a pizza of intergalactic proportions. As we follow this young man around his apartment this zany off-the-wall short film left some of the spectators chuckling in their seats and the others bewildered. A surreal ending to the night, the spectators at least had something to talk about with the eclectic selection of short films, animation and music videos. A real mix of skill and viewpoints the evening was a great opportunity to see independent movie makers and their creative ideas: a delightful evening to slow down from this hectic and bustling metropolis and see the talent and visions of some of the minds within it.
Review by Liz Wong