|Dragon Sighting III: Discussion Panel at National Library
Date/Time: 11 September 2005. 19:30pm
On the late evening of 11th September 2005, in conjunction with their up and coming new release movie, “The Myth”, Jackie Chan and director Stanley Tong made a special appearance at the National Library for a panel discussion on the current trends for Asia film. It was a rather poignant discussion as the duo focused on the current downward sliding trend of the Hong Kong film industry.
The Current Korean Buzz
On the matter of the dwindling star power of Hong Kong celebrity, Jackie Chan was pretty outspoken about it. He explained that the media, especially the press media, is the main reason for it. Citing examples from the current media fad, the invasion of the “Han Feng” or the Korean Culture at Asian countries, especially in Hong Kong, When Korean celebrity (who is not even A Lister) visits Hong Kong, he or she will receive four pages of news and yet the same press media is unwilling to show such similar support or promote their own homegrown celebrities.
The comparison was then shifted to how the Koreans treat their own celebrities and why the Korean films are getting better nowadays. He narrowed down the main reason to be that the Korean citizens are very supportive of their own films. Their loyalty to their nation is pretty impressive as they would pirate copies of other countries films but would never do that to their own. Their own films break through millions in the Korean Box office, hence they don’t even need to worry about catering to the international market, as the market with Korea is enough to sustain their movie industry.
The Western Influences
Looking at today’s Hong Kong, the youth is getting more westernized these days, where Jackie witnesses many youths speaking in poor English with the sole purpose of copying their counterparts from the west. All this will have a major effect on the decline in Hong Kong film industry as the youth of today flock to embrace the western counterpart and forget their homegrown talent. He also points out the differences between the 2 filming industries are so huge that whatever Hong Kong film does, they will not make any dent to the progress of Hollywood film industry.
Jackie went on to ask whether the crowd prefer his Drunken Fist movie to his “Rush Hour” Movie. While there were firm assurances from the audiences that the former film was of a better quality, he added that he had to film movies like Rush Hours because consumers from the United States would prefer the Rush Hours type of film and the US market is such a huge market that could not be ignored. The profits he earned from US films, he would channel back to fund the type of Hong Kong films he wants to film, like New Police Story.
Facing the Future
Stanley Tong added on that one of the reasons for the recent decline in the Hong Kong film industry was that they didn’t spend enough effort in cultivating talent or preparing the youth for the industry requirements. He suggested that special packages for training special talent and noted that there are lots of youth who wants to learn about the techniques in film art but have nowhere to turn to, and likewise, film companies are also having difficulties in searching new young talent to replace the older generation.
Although the numbers of movies made in Asia, especially Hong Kong and Taiwan, are dwindling, Stanley felt that as long as the filmmakers don’t give up on making movies and stand united, the films makers can work together and promote Asian films
Regarding the grim future, every night Jackie Chan and his team will sit down to discuss this current worrisome situation in the Hong Kong film industry. He felt that he could easily wash his hands off this matter and retire with the buck load of money that he had already earned but it pained him to see the industry that he once helped build crumbling down.
Jackie Chan felt that the US market is way too big and the effects they have on the rest of the world are great too. Hong Kong films won’t be able to take them on by themselves and Asian must unite and work together, especially with the current favourite Korean films.
He went on to emphasize that Chinese must promote and remember their culture. He feared that a day will come when Chinese kids will only recognize western characters like Batman and have no knowledge of Sun Wu Kong (Monkey God from “Journey to the West”). Likewise for Chinese films, the Chinese must also promote and support their films. Pointing out that if there are a lot of people who watches Chinese made movies, there will be enough funds to generate for the sequence of Chinese movies to come.
|Reported by Richard Lim Jr | Photos & Layout by: Lokman BS