Film education in Hong Kong : new challenges and opportunities

Stephen CHAN

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For close to 30 years since the late 1960s, the company known as Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB) offered the best training ground for a diverse range of talented film practitioners, who in turn worked creatively and independently, enabling Hong Kong cinema to leave its marks on global cinema. For example, the famous in-house screenplay workshop at TVB was first taught in 1971 by Michael Hui, the comedian-turned-filmmaker. After completion of the training course, many participants stayed on to become creative directors at TVB in subsequent years. Some of the most talented graduates were Ng Yu, Wai Ka-fai, and Wong Jing, to name just a few. Turning out talents and professionals for the film industry, with stars ranging from Chow Yun-fat to Johnnie To, TVB demonstrated a unique institutional capacity to develop a creative space and, almost programmatically, to nurture the distinctive practices of filmmaking required for the art and business of cinema to grow during the 1970s and 1980s. Various filmmakers who would become household names of the Hong Kong cinema during the 1990s—that is, celebrities such as Kam Kwok-leung, Clifton Ko, Johnny Mak, Wong Kar-wai, and Raymong Wong Bak-ming—spent some of their early professional years at TVB. In 1985, it was reported that the amount of investment TVB put into training was on average HK$1.2 m (US$ 154,000) per year, generating a total of 20,000 hours of in-house instruction in TV/film practice. According to the study of Po-yin Chung, the percentage of TV-trained professionals (1970–1984) who grew into film practitioners in the industry increased from 0.85 percent in 1970 (1 out of 118 films made), to 10.52 percent in 1976 (10 out of 95 films made), to 30.2 percent in 1984 (32 out of 106 films made).1
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe education of the filmmaker in Europe, Australia, and Asia
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9780230341432
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


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