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June
"Frame After Frame" retrospective on HK Animation
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While Hong Kong's first animation feature did not appear until the 1980s, there were many animation scenes and trailers in local films and TV commercials as early as the 1960s.

From meticulously hand-drawn animation to the 3-D "My Life As McDull" (2001), there have been many interesting stories in Hong Kong's animation history. A retrospective on Hong Kong Animation "Frame after Frame - A Retrospective on Hong Kong Animation" will be held at the Hong Kong Film Archive (HKFA) from June 30 to October 29 featuring an exhibition, screenings, a hands-on workshop, a seminar and a special publication.

In the 1960s, many feature films such as "Temple of the Red Lotus" (1965), "Adventures of an Orphan" (1964), "The Warlord" (1972) and "The Last Message" (1975), also include animation segments, sketched by local animation master Au Ching.

Au and Dick Wong were pioneers in Hong Kong animation. Both worked in the animation section of the China Painting Manufacturing Co in 1961 and 1962. They created many animated sequences for film openings, brand name logos and animated commercials that are still cherished today.

By the 1980s, caricaturist Wu Sau-yee spearheaded the first Hong Kong animation feature, "Old Master Cute" based on the popular comic book figure. Sadly the efforts stopped after the production of only three films.

It was not until 1997 that another feature film was produced - the computerised "A Chinese Ghost Story". By then, a group of young animators proficient in computer technology had arrived on the scene. "My life As McDull" in 2001 is the first 100% made-in-Hong Kong animated product from script to production.

With generous help from many people in the animation scene, the exhibition at the Film Archive will feature rare TV commercial clips, illustrations, storyboard, props, photos, thumbnails and interviews.

A seminar entitled "Follow the Animation Road" will be conducted at 2.30pm on July 15 at the Cinema of HKFA. Guest speakers Dick Wong and Neco Lo will share their experiences on animation production. The seminar will be conducted in Cantonese and admission is free.

Animation is fun to learn. A workshop entitled "Animation with Fun" hosted by animator Yu Man-fai will be held from 2.30pm to 4.10pm and from 4.40pm to 6pm on August 5 at the Exhibition Hall of the HKFA. Participants will learn basic drawing and stop-motion techniques and the results of their work can be seen immediately through the computer setup.

Free admission slips for the workshop will be issued from noon on August 5 at the Archive's G/F lobby. Each person can get a maximum of two slips on a first-come, first-serve basis. Each participant needs about 20 minutes to complete one game. Children under six can also join if accompanied by adults.

The screenings which will be held from July 1 to August 5, including the early animation features "Old Master Cute" (1981), "Old Master Cute, Part 2 and Part 3", director Tsui Harks "A Chinese Ghost Story", "My Life as McDull", "Animation by Neco Lo", "Animation by Dick Wong" and "Frame by Frame".

The "Old Master Cute" series features the ever-popular Master Cute and his pals. The first feature, which won the Taiwan Golden Horse Award for Best Animation, was produced by local filmmaker Wu Sau-yee and Taiwanese animator Tsai Chi Chung. Part II provides a comical light-hearted introduction to the Chinese classical masterpiece, "The Water Margin", while Part III has a close encounter with a little alien.

Four years in the making, Tsui Hark's "A Chinese Ghost Story" is Hong Kong's first computer-animated feature with a clever blend of Japanese animation, Disney cartoons and Tsui's inimitable mix of crazed energy and romantic innocence.

"My Life as McDull" is not only a feature film but it also takes audiences on a dreamscape tour of the Hong Kong skyline from Victoria Peak to the ageing district of Sham Shui Po.

Neco Lo was one of the Hong Kong's self-taught animation artists. Lo learnt by experience and expanded into the realm of claymation and also sand grain and salt. "Animation by Neco Lo" includes works like "The Blue Moon", "The Forbidden Game", "Suicide City", his feature films and RTHK TV programmes.

When all animations had to be meticulously hand drawn in the 1970s, Dick Wong had already made a name for himself with TV commercials for Cathay Pacific, Tiger Beer and numerous government trailers. "Animation by Dick Wong" includes his independent films "The Mushroom Paradise" and "Once Upon a New Year's Eve".

Not to be missed is "Frame by Frame" with works from independent animators like Danny Yung, May Fung, Wagner Tang, Kwan Pak-huen, Toe Yuen and Raman Hui.

Apart from "Animation by Neco Lo", "Animation by Dick Wong" and "Frame by Frame", all films have Chinese and English subtitles.

Tickets priced at $30 are available at all URBTIX outlets. Half-price concessionary tickets are available for senior citizens, people with disabilities, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients. There will be a 10% discount for each purchase of six to 10 tickets and a 20% discount for each purchase of 11 or more tickets.

For programme information, please call 2734 2900 or visit http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/fp or "ProFolio 32" distributed at all performing venues of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Reservations can be made on 2734 9009 or on the Internet at http://www.urbtix.hk .

Ends/Wednesday, June 28, 2006
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