Tuesday, August 4, 2020

[2020.08.04] ALEX CHEUNG REMEMBERS KEITH LEE PAK LING

Keith Lee's son revealed that his father was found collapsed on the floor at home.  The police estimated the time of passing between July 21st and 22nd.

Keith Lee was at Chor Yuen's birthday banquet in 2017, served as the master of ceremony and interviewed guests.
The Keith Lee directed CENTIPEDE HORROR has been called one of the top ten witchcraft films of the 1980s.
courtesy of mingpao.com
Alex Cheung posts a video of Keith Lee from Chor Yuen's birthday banquet
courtesy of singtao.com

Director Keith Lee Pak Ling, who got his start at Shaw and made one of the well known supernatural film of the 1980s CENTIPEDE HORROR (NG GUNG JAU), passed away at a reported age of 68. His son Lee Wai Tak announced the news to friends. Lee Pak Ling joined Shaw in 1973 and worked as a production assistant in the Chor Yuen directed THE HOUSE OF 72 TENANTS, after which he followed Chor Yuen for many years. The final film that Lee Pak Ling participated in was the 2003 Lau Ka Leung directed DRUNKEN MONKEY (JUEN MA LAU).

Lee Pak Ling's son Lee Wai Tak announced the news. "Father Lee Pak Ling was found collapsed at home this morning and passed away. The police estimated the date to be between July 21st and 22nd. Due to how sudden it happened, the funeral details will be announced at a later date. Please pray for Papa's soul." Reportedly Lee Pak Ling in recent years had low blood sugar disorder, in severe cases the patient would fall into a coma. The doctor urged him to go to the hospital for treatment if he felt any dizziness.

Director Alex Cheung Kwok Ming yesterday remembered Lee Pak Ling on facebook. The video was from Lee Pak Ling's appearance on the program "CHOR YUEN NIGHT". He was the master of ceremony for the evening and interviewed Ti Lung and Candy Yu On On. Cheung Kwok Ming wrote, "Chor Yuen's beloved disciple, (Mona) Fong Yat Wa's helping hand, our good friend: director Lee Pak Ling -- he stopped fooling around with us in life early and went to become a god. See you Ah Ling!"

Saturday, August 1, 2020

[2020.08.02] LOUIS CHEUNG JOINS LOUIS KOO'S COMPANY AND HAS TVB BAN LIFTED

Louis Koo and Louis Cheung have such a good time from working together that Cheung joins Koo's company
Joyce Cheng
courtesy of on.cc

The 40 year old Louis Cheung Kai Chung 7 years ago after joining TVB showed his acting talent, participating in major series like INBOUND TROUBLES (LO BIU NEI HO YEH) and BROTHER'S KEEPER (GUI LUN). In MOMENTARY LAPSE OF REASON (SAU KWAI WA) he even became the male lead and won the Most Improved Male Artist award. Yet in order to repay the favor of giving him his start, he gave up his great future at TVB and signed Stephen Shiu Jr. as his manager. Shiu and TVB went to court over RETURN OF THE CUCKOO (SUP YUET CHOR NG DIK UET GUONG) overtime, leading to a TVB ban of him and his artists. The TVB anniversary series MY AGES APART (GUA SAI DOI) became his farewell show, then he made the jump to film.

After almost 3 years away from TVB, Ah Chung was rumored to have terminated his contract with Stephen Shiu Jr. and joined the likes of Charmaine Sheh Sze Man, Raymond Lam Fung, Jessica Hester Hsuan (Suen Huen), Raymond Wong Ho Yin, Super Girls member Yanny at Louis Koo Tin Lok's company. It also meant that his TVB "ban" has been lifted as he would have a chance to return to television. He even released his new song DAVID HARLEYSON, as some speculated that he would sign with TVB's the Voice record company.

Actually Ah Chung was not the first artist to leave Stephen Shiu Jr. Julian Cheung Chi Lam, Myolie Wu Hung Yi, Larine Tang Yueping, Ava Yu Kiu, Sukie Shek Wing Lei and Joyce Cheng Yan Yi were once under his banner. Yet earlier due to negative rumors and the severe pandemic, the company reduced production in film and music. Artists left one after another after their contracts came to term. Justin Cheung Kin Sing was the only one left. Back then Stephen Siu Jr. in order to fulfill Cheng Yun Yi's "top diva" dream opened "New Label". Yet two years later she already jumped to Media Asia record company and planned to begin recording at the end of this month or September.

Ah Chung yesterday admitted that he has already joined Koo Tin Lok's company but denied that he terminated his contract with Stephen Shiu Jr. early. "Mr. Koo and I have worked together on several films. I really admire him, he is both like a mentor and a friend, right now I want to work toward film. (Was his signing fee worth being happy about?) Of course I am happy, but what is important isn't money but opportunity. We have had a pleasant time working together." Would he return to TVB to make a series? He said that it would depend on the company's arrangement. "We have a lot of projects, any show business work, film, stage I would work on them all. However film will be the main concern, the most important is having a good script." Did he regret choosing Stephen Shiu Jr. over TVB? He said, "With me and Stephen Shiu Jr. I only left after the contract ended in July. I have never regretted working together. At the time because I wanted to make more movies. Over the pas 3 years we have had a very pleasant collaboration, made many movies, only that some haven't been released yet. I feel that life is like traveling, every stop is a challenge." At the same time he also thanked TVB for giving him a lot of opportunities for more viewers to know him.

As for his new song, did he plan to join the Voice? He said, "That sounds boastful, I didn't say anyone is in negotiation with me!" He also said that the new song was purely "a guy's romance". "I did the song and the music video, in recent years I fell for motorcycles so I asked Sammy and a group of behind the scene people to shoot it and mess around! I feel music is necessary, but I have zero pressure. I am just after a good time."

Thursday, July 30, 2020

[2020.07.31] HONG KONG CINEMA OWNERS PLEAD FOR RENT REFORM

Raymond Wong says that the largest expense for cinema owners righ now is rent
courtesy of mingpao.com
Albert Yeung hopes property owners would lend a helping hand
Albert Yeung has suffered huge losses due to the pandemic
Aside from cinema owners, Simon Yam also urges each major company to reduce rent
Carlos Chan
Michelle Wai hopes the industries would reach an agreement soon
courtesy of on.cc

The novel coronavirus has had severe impact on every business and industry. Yesterday the Hong Kong Theaters Association issued an open letter, stating that under the pandemic cinemas have suffered serious setbacks. Box office revenue has dropped drastically from the same period of the past year, almost 90%. The Association pleaded with property owners to reduce rent and get over the hard times with cinema owners. Cinema circuit boss Raymond Wong Pak Ming also asked property owners to consider rent according to business operation rate.

The Hong Kong Theaters Association said that even though the government earlier provided an one time subsidy to the industry, it was not enough to help the industry out of the crisis as the cinema industry fell into an unprecedented crisis!

The Association said that 80% of the box office revenue came from foreign language films. Currently the pandemic remained rampant in many nations around the world, film productions and distributions have halted. With a severe film supply shortage, cinemas suffered even more. Over the past half a year, cinemas have coordinated with government pandemic prevention measures numerous times. Basically they could not operate normally. Now they are in zero income condition, have no way to pay rent to property owners and other shopping center fees, not to mention operation cost. The industry again pleads with various property owners to cancel rent at the most difficult time for cinemas, to change to rent according to business operation rate and drastically reduce management and other costs in order to get over the hard times together. Otherwise cinemas would have difficulty with their survival and the entire film industry chain would be affected.

Cinema circuit boss Wong Pak Ming said, "In the half a year under the pandemic, every business and industry have been affected in Hong Kong. Despite the government's "employment support scheme" subsidy, it has been less than effective! Salary only took up 10% of the cost but cinema rent took up 80%. Thus I plead with various property owners to consider rent according to business operation rate, to get over the hard times with the industry so cinemas would be able to continue to provide basic entertainment to the people."

Emperor cinema circuit boss Albert Yeung Sau Sing yesterday pointed out that the cinema industry currently was in an extreme depression, as operation was rather difficult. "First film supply is an enormous problem, because of the pandemic now many films have stopped productions. Even when cinemas will open up again in the future, the movies available to them would last to February to March next year, or even January to February. As for other uncertain factors like the current China U.S. trade war. How would U.S. film open in the Mainland? For now no one knows, without the Mainland they probably won't open in Hong Kong either."

Mr. Yeung revealed that the cinema operation has become more difficult with every step. Every month he faced enormous expenses. In some of the more popular districts cinema rent has risen above HK$ 6 million, before salary and other expenses were even considered. In the past half a year, in order to coordinate with the government pandemic prevention measures, cinemas basically could not operate normally. Now they are in zero income condition, making operation harder than hard!

How much money did he lose during the pandemic? Yeung Sau Sing said, "I am really embarrassed to say, astronomical figures! (What kind of assistance would you like property owners to provide?) Now many property owners have reduced rent, but the reduction amount won't be able to help us out of this crisis. The situation really is dare, as box office has dropped 90%! I hope property owners can cancel rent, and use box office business operation rate as rent to get over the hard times together! If cinemas close, Hong Kong people would lose even the most basic entertainment of watching movies." As for "astronomical" monthly losses, has he planned for the worst? He helplessly said, "The worst is closing, cancelling renovation, equipment, everything."

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

[2020.07.30] KIU BO BO HAD NO PLACE TO STAY UPON HONG KONG RETURN

courtesy of on.cc

Artist Gill Mohinderpaul Singh (Kiu Bo Bo) emigrated to Scotland in March this year to reunite with his family, but his acting bug acted up in over 5 months of "retirement". He decided to return to Hong Kong to make the film SI DOI (ERA). His return required 14 days in quarantine. "The pandemic is raging in England. Many relatives didn't dare to take me in this time. Luckily in the end a cousin who is living alone took me in."

Even So, Kiu Bo Bo admitted that his cousin was very scared. "He gave me his entire living room, hiding in the room most of the time. Even when he chatted with me or got food for me, he would maintain his distance." He lamented that many friends "pretended not to know" that he came back, but he was not disappointed as he understood everyone's concern.

[2020.07.30] ANN HUI'S NEW FILM WILL MAKE ITS DEBUT IN VENICE

courtesy of singtao.com

The 77th Venice Film Festival will take place in September. Two nights ago the event announced its selections. The Hong Kong director Ann Hui On wa directed, Eddie Peng Yu-Yan, Janine Chang Chun-Ning starred new film LOVE AFTER LOVE (DAI YUT LO HEUNG) was selected for non-competition segment. The film, based on Eileen Chang's novel that was published in 1943, will make its global premiere at the festival.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

[2020.07.26] AARON KWOK PREPARES FOR NEXT YEARS AS THE HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL IS CANCELLED

Aaron Kwok urges everyone to stay home and fight the pandemic
courtesy of mingpao.com

Due to how serious the recent Hong Kong community spread of the pandemic has been, the Hong Kong International Film Festival Association announced that the 44th Hong Kong International Film Festival will be cancelled. The 18th Hong Kong Asian Film Financing Forum will continue to take place online from August 26th to 28th.

Aaron Kwok Fu Sing as the Hong Kong International Film Festival ambassador posted on social media, "I hereby sincerely thank the industry insiders and alliance partners who have always been supportive of the film festival. The passion for promoting good films will not subside for me and the film festival team. We will continue to promote next year's film festival and look forward to bringing exciting international film projects and programs to the audience again!" Aaron also reminded everyone to properly Stay home! Stay Safe! now.

Aaron's manager Siu Mei said that this week they and the Hong Kong International Film Festival team have been working hard in hopes of the film festival to be able to hold press conference and the August opening ceremony as scheduled. The film festival team has put in a lot of effort and hard work. With the severe and unstable pandemic, they in the end still had to make the decision to cancel because the general public's health is the most important.

[2020.07.26] TEN YEARS DIRECTOR JEVON AU "RUNS AWAY" TO CANADA

courtesy of mingpao.com

One of the five directors of the film TEN YEARS, Jevons Au Man Kit, appeared at the film BEYOND OUR DREAM (WAN OI)'s premiere at the end of last month and reunited with the other four directors. Currently living in Canada with his wife, he appeared on a Commercial Radio program and described himself as "running away". He once said that he never thought about leaving. "I wouldn't say it was emigration. It was 'running away'. Because we left in a hurry, we didn't plan anything at all or apply for anything. My wife is Canadian. She was worried about me, afraid that I would say something wrong. So she bought plane tickets very quickly, we grabbed our passports and boarded!"

Au Man Kit said that starting in mid June he started to consider leaving Hong Kong because of the fear after the National Security Law was enacted. He said, "Making movies and speaking in Hong Kong would have too many concerns, no freedom of speech to speak of at all. In Canada I have to adjust anew, I don't regret giving up my Hong Kong career. Making movies isn't my greatest pursuit."

When TEN YEARS won the 35th Hong Kong Film Award Best Film, it led to a lot of controversy. TRIVISA (SHU DAI CHIU FUNG), the film Au Man Kit directed the following year, was banned in the Mainland. Au Man Kit did not feel that he dragged down TRIVISA, saying that the saddest thing in his 13 years in the business was when TEN YEARS was forced out of the cinemas. "The film was sold out everyday, but it still had to leave the theaters? This is different from the Hong Kong film I know in the past. At the final forum, I was very upset. I broke down and cried." Au Man Kit reiterated that he did not give up on Hong Kong, he only wanted to continue to speak freely as someone from Hong Kong. Even if he was no longer able to make movies, he would continue to create.