The oldest reel of film currently in the Hong Kong Film Archive is 1898’s Edison Shorts , which captured Hong Kong at the turn of the 20th century. The HKFA converted the paper print found in the United States’ Library of Congress to traditional film before placing it in the archive. Later, Miss Dolores Wang donated a print of pre-war images of Hong Kong and additional moving images shot during the Fall of Hong Kong from her father Wang Man-chi’s collection. We also recovered a print of A Trip Through China (1915-16) by Russian- American film trader Benjamin Brodsky in Taiwan. These discoveries helped us learn many things about the early history of filmmaking in Hong Kong. Even though early films made by Hong Kong filmmakers are lost, Mr. Lai Shek has generously lent a copy of The Diary of Lai Man-wai for reproduction and donated a print of A Page of History , a documentary shot by Lai in the 1920’s. In recent years, the HKFA has been working hard at recovering films and documentaries produced between the 1930's and the 1950’s in an effort to paint a more complete picture of Hong Kong’s cinema history.
Since 2001, projects by Law Kar, Yu Mo-wan, Wong Ain-ling, Sam Ho and others have brought about new perspective and information about the history of Hong Kong Cinema. Communication with researchers and museums in Hong Kong and abroad have also helped the HKFA greatly in obtaining information about the whereabouts of these historical findings. Over the years, the HKFA has organised numerous academic conferences, screenings and exhibitions. It also published many books about the history of Hong Kong cinema. In 2003, the HKFA used the commemoration of Lai Man-wai’s 110th birthday as a starting point to engage in discussions about early developments of Hong Kong cinema.
During the 2009 debate about the true first film ever produced in Hong
Kong, the HKFA collaborated with Hong Kong University on the “History
of Early Chinese Cinema(s) Revisited” conference. The findings from the
conference have been included in Wong Ain-ling’s anthology Chinese Cinema: Tracing the Origins (2011).
Besides showcasing some of the HKF’s most valued treasures, " Transcending Space and Time" series also intends to create an interaction between the past and the present through closer analysis of
these images. After all, learning from the past is an important part of any discussion of memory and history. With that principle in mind, the HKFA and the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority are collaborating on DECADE , a project that brings together old images and new music. The program will be screened at the Freespace Fest 2013 on December 14 & 15 and subsequently at the Hong Kong Film Archive.
“Transcending Space and Time” series is comprised of four major focuses: 1) Cityscapeinearly moving images; 2) A retrospective on pioneering filmmaker Hou Yao; 3) A commemoration of forgotten female filmmakers from the early years; and 4) Films produced by Hong Kong’s
Grandview Film Company after it shifted productions to the United States between 1939-1948. In addition to screenings, the series also includes, post -screening discussions and three electronic publications. Our “100
Must-See Hong Kong Movies” and “Restored Treasures” series will also
Showcase early Hong Kong and Chinese films to coincide with the “Transcending Space and Time” series. Fans of classic films and those
concerned about Hong Kong heritage shouldn’t miss these events!
The HKFA would like to thank veteran film historian Law Kar, film scholar Frank Bren, donor Lai Shek, cinematographer Michael Rogge, researcher Lau Yam, Dr S. Louisa Wei (for providing a copy of her latest film Golden Gate Girls, 2013), Arthur Dong (for providing a copy of The Curse of Quon Gwon, 1916), Professor Gregory Yee Mark (Grandson of the Quon Gwon’s female lead, Violet Wong) and Ernest Chan (Editor of our digital publications).
The contents of the programme do not represent the views of the presenter.
The presenter reserves the right to change the programme should unavoidable circumstances make it necessary.