Local Filmmakers Speak Out After 'Ten Years' Hong Kong Film Awards Win

Hong Kong International Film Festival
'Ten Years'

Media Asia head Peter Lam called the win for the controversial dystopian film a "misfortune of the Hong Kong film industry."

If dystopian indie drama Ten Years was controversial before its release and during its theatrical run, winning best film at the Hong Kong Film Awards last Sunday was only ever likely to cause further rancor and division.

Film investors and producers in Hong Kong have wasted no time in speaking out against the Ten Years win, mindful of the knock-on effect such an award would have on the industry's key partners, distributors and government bodies over the border in China.

Peter Lam, owner of Media Asia, a Hong Kong filmmaking powerhouse that does a lot of business in China, was one of the more prominent voices, describing the film's win as "a misfortune of Hong Kong film industry."

Lam added: "While I respect the result voted by the Hong Kong Film Awards jury, I don't agree with this outcome. Ten Years didn't receive any nominations in other categories, and it wasn't the highest-grossing film. It proved that the film doesn't possess the qualities of a best film. Its win of best film is unfair to other filmmakers and is the hijacking of politics over professionalism, politicizing the awards."

Raymond Wong, chairman of Pegasus Motion Pictures and producer of the Ip Man franchise, the third installment of which was nominated for best film, voiced a similar sentiment. "When Ten Years was announced as the best film, I was holding back that I didn't stand up and leave. Aside from politics, just to discuss its merit as a film, its budget was only $75,000, and it wasn't nominated in any other categories. How could it be named the best film? Many filmmakers voted for this film irrationally. It is unfair to investors who had sincerely made a good film," he said.

Crucindo Hung, a former Hong Kong Film Awards chairman and chairman of the Hong Kong Motion Picture Industry Association, described Ten Years' win as "a big joke."

"It's crazy! It's impossible!" cried Hung. "If the Hong Kong Film Awards is giving an award to such a film, no one will respect the awards, it's a dead end." Hung also questioned Ten Years' shoestring budget and the film's artistic merits.

Former Hong Kong Film Awards chairman and Snake in the Eagle's Shadow producer Ng See Yuen said Ten Years didn't deserve its best film win, speculating that a few voters focused on Ten Years, offsetting the "rational voters' votes for other films."

"This voting mechanism is beyond the control of the Hong Kong Film Awards Association," Ng added.