Filmart: HBO Asia Unveils Three Original Series

HBO Asia CEO Jonathan Spink - Getty H 2016
Courtesy of Getty Images

The regional network's new lineup includes a Chinese-language sci-fi drama, an eight-part anthology series built around food and a Taiwanese drama that takes place in the aftermath of a mass shooting.

On the first day of Hong Kong's Filmart industry confab, HBO Asia unveiled an ambitious trio of original series targeting international Chinese-language audiences and the growing Southeast Asian market.

The projects include the network's first sci-fi drama produced in Chinese, a fictional anthology series centered around food and a Taiwanese drama that takes place in the aftermath of a mass shooting. HBO brought some of the talent involved in the new shows — actors Vivian Hsu, David Wang and James Wen; directors Eric Khoo and Billy Christian; and executive producer, Cheang Pou-Soi — to Hong Kong to personally introduce the projects.

Sci-fi project Dream Raider will follow a misfit team of scientists and cops who are trying to get to the bottom of a criminal conspiracy that exploits human consciousness. The eight-episode hourlong series draws together talent and production expertise from China, Hong Kong and
Taiwan, including actors Vivian Hsu, David Wang, Jason Wang, Weber Yang and Ellen Wu; executive producer and filmmaker, Cheang Pou-Soi; directors Daniel Fu and Simon Hung; and producer Freeman Xiang.

Food Lore, meanwhile, will be an eight-episode hourlong anthology series that explores the human condition through narratives inspired by Asian cuisines. Overseen by acclaimed Singaporean direct Eric Khoo, the series will be shot in eight Asian countries and directed by esteemed filmmakers from each territory, including Don Aravind (Singapore), Billy Christian (Indonesia), Takumi Saitoh (Japan), Ho Yuhang (Malaysia), Erik Matti (Philippines), Pen-Ek Ratanaruang (Thailand) and Phan Dang Di (Vietnam).

HBO Asian's third project — and perhaps the most daring new one — The World Between Us explores the aftermath of a fictional mass shooting in Taiwan, where the killer, the victims, the victims’ families, the media and the defense teams find their fates all intertwined. Directed by Lin Chun-Yang and written by Lu Shih-Yuan, the ensemble cast includes Taiwanese talents Alyssa Chia, James Wen and Wu Kang-Jen.

HBO Asia, based in Singapore and wholly owned by Time Warner, began producing local-language originals for Asia in 2012. To date, the network has produced and aired fifteen series or original films for the region.

On Monday, HBO Asia also unveiled its first series renewal in Hong Kong — a second season for coming-of-age Taiwan drama Teenage Psychic.

"We are encouraged to learn that our Asian productions are working well across the region, especially those in local languages," said Jonathan Spink, CEO of HBO Asia. "We will continue to produce the highest quality content that the HBO brand represents and showcase to the world the best Asia has to offer."

HBO Asia operates six 24-hour commercial-free subscription channels across 23 territories in Asia, but the network's Asian originals are also available to U.S. HBO subscribers, with some select titles also carried by HBO España, HBO Nordic and HBO Europe.