Veteran, new directors populate Hong Kong 25

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BEIJING -- The 25 Asian film projects selected for this year's Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum (March 20-22) were announced Thursday by organizers.

Projects by such veterans as China's Jia Zhangke ("Shuang Xiong Hui") and Japan's Hirokazu Kore-Eda ("Night-Fragrant Flower") were chosen alongside those from up-and-coming filmmakers from around the region.

Some 600 international film financiers, bankers, producers, buyers, distributors and film-funding bodies are expected to gather at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Center to meet with HAF project producers and directors and also attend the Hong Kong FilMart.

"This year's selection sees the further blossoming of HAF as new territories are participating for the first time. The 2007 projects are an embodiment of Asia's finest commercial and artistic filmmaking," new HAF director Jacob Wong said in a statement on the event's Web site.

HAF won't shy away from controversy with its selection of "The Last Hour," the latest project from director Lou Ye. In 2006, Lou was banned from making movies on the mainland for five years after he sent his film "Summer Palace" to Cannes without Beijing's approval. The film touches on the 1989 killing of students by the army in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

Projects previously featured at HAF include the critically acclaimed "The Wayward Cloud," by Taiwan director Tsai Ming-liang; "Distance," from Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda; and Hong Kong boxoffice hits "The Touch" and "Dragon Tiger Gate."

Two past HAF projects served as Thailand's official selections in the foreign-language category for the Academy Awards -- "Invisible Waves," from director Pen-ek Ratanaruang, and "The Tin Mine," from helmer Jira Maligool. While Indonesia's "Love for Share," from director Nia Di Nata, went on to serve as that nation's Oscar contender.

Recently completed HAF projects include mainland China's "Air," directed by Zhang Yang, and "Lost in Beijing," from Li Yu; "Freesia" (a.k.a. "Freesia -- Icy Tears"), by Japanese helmer Kumakiri Kazuyoshi; and Hong Kong entry "The Drummer," by Kenneth Bi.

The complete list of projects follows.

AUSTRALIA
"Beautiful Kate," Rachel Ward

CHINA
"Blown by The Typhoon," Ying Liang
"The Last Hour," Lou Ye
"One Night In Beijing," Zhang Yuan
"Palace Days," Xu Jinglei
"Tea of The Desert," Lu Yue

CHINA/JAPAN
"Shuang Xiong Hui," Jia Zhangke

HONG KONG
"Now Showing," Pang Ho-cheung
" Romance of the Three Kingdoms: Red Rose and White Rose," Mabel Cheung
"Wee-Wee The Poop," Brian Tse (HK)

HONG KONG/AUSTRALIA
"The Messenger," Clara Law (HK-Aus)

HONG KONG/CHINA
"Bema's Tear," Francis Ng
"Journal Of Night And Morning," Mak Yan-yan

INDIA
"The 19th Step," Bharat Ganapathy

JAPAN
"Night-Fragrant Flower," Hirokazu Kore-Eda
"Tokyo Sonata," Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Japan)

KOREA
"Fading Away My Love," Noh Dong-seok
"The Good The Bad And the Weird," Kim Jee-woon
"A Thousand Winds," Kim Young-nam
"Homecoming," E J-yong (Korea)

MALAYSIA
"At The End of Daybreak," Ho Yu Hang

SINGAPORE
"Bed," Kelvin Tong

TAIWAN
"The Dream," Chang Tso-chi

THAILAND
"The Sparrow," Anocha Suwichakornpong

VIETNAM/FRANCE
"Point Of Reference," Nghiem-Minh Nguyen-Vo
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