HAF selects 27 films for 2009 edition

Directors from 11 Asian territories will vie for funding

UPDATED 16:00 Bangkok time, Jan. 6, 2008

BANGKOK -- Film projects from such helmers as Lu Chuan and Brillante Mendoza are among the 27 that will participate in this year's Hong Kong Asian Film Financing Forum, organizers said Tuesday.

Directors from Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam will vie for the attention of financiers at the event's seventh edition, held March 23-25 during the Hong Kong International Film Festival.

China's Lu brings "Sleep With Hypnotist," which he is producing and directing for Beijing Yuanchuan Film TV & Culture Co.

Best known for 2004's "Kekexili: Mountain Patrol," winner of the special jury prize at the Tokyo International Film Festival, Lu's last project, 2005 HAF entry "Nanking! Nanking!" is scheduled to be released in February.

Mendoza, from the Philippines, is bringing "Chop Chop," produced by Ferdinand Lapuz and Didier Costet. Mendoza's "Serbis," which got funding at the HAF 2008, went quickly on to compete in Cannes the same year.

Tim Kwok, a HAF selection committee member and president of Convergence Entertainment, said that the projects chosen find "common ground between what is considered an art house film and a commercial one."

There are four projects from Hong Kong this year, with entries from directors Barbara Wong Chun Chun ("Happy Funeral," 2008), Dante Lam ("Beast Stalker," 2008), Teddy Chen ("Accidental Spy," 2001) and actress-turned-director Charlie Young ("Bangkok Dangerous," 2008).

Other directors whose projects are included this year are Ning Hao (2006 hit "Crazy Stone"); Naomi Kawase, youngest winner of the Camera d'Or Award, with 1997's "Suzaku"; Jack Neo, Singapore's highest-grossing film director; Na Hong-jin (2008 Cannes entry "The Chaser"); and Wei Te-sheng, who broke Taiwan's all-time boxoffice record for a homegrown film in 2008 with "Cape No.7."