I have many stories to tell, and chosen to tell them in the language of film.
Thus I became a director. I have devoted my life to film, and still possess the urge to make them. In the past my films were about other people’s stories, but now I want to make films about myself, perhaps because I am more able to face myself, including my past, my flaws and my hopes.
In filmmaking, technique is as important as content. Too much technique becomes showing off; too obscure and the audience cannot follow. If the film does not resonate with the audience, they won’t see it. If the technique is too old or inadequate, the audience will look down on it and won’t see it either. Striking the right balance is the challenge of a lifetime.
However, one can never go wrong making films that one likes!
Clifford Choi Kai-kwong was born in Hong Kong in 1946. After his high school graduation in 1963, he went to Taiwan to study at the English Department of the National Taiwan Normal University. In 1969, he transferred to the University of California, Berkeley, and completed a degree in English Literature in 1970. In 1973 he obtained a Master’s degree in film at the San Francisco State University. Upon graduation he worked as a newsfilm journalist at San Francisco’s KPIX television Channel 5.
In 1975 he returned to Hong Kong and joined Television Broadcast (TVB), where he directed programs such as Wonderfun, Wong Fei Hung, Water Margin, often injecting new elements into the old genres. In 1978, he directed episodes of Hong Kong Connection for RTHK and in 1979, he wrote the script for Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow, which inaugurated the kung-fu comedy genre and made Jackie Chan a star.
In 1980, Choi directed his first feature, the youth drama Encore (1980), which propelled Choi into the ranks of the Hong Kong New Wave. He later directed Teenage Dreamers (1982, nominated for Best Director by Hong Kong Film Awards) and Grow Up In Anger (1986), both considered important works in the genre of youth films. He was nominated for seven awards, including Best Director, and won Best Screenplay at the Taiwan Golden Horse Film Awards for Hong Kong, Hong Kong (1983). This film, together with his two later works Amnesty Decree (1985) and City Warriors (1988, producer), shared the same theme in dealing with the situation of Mainland immigrants in Hong Kong.
Choi had also dedicated himself to film education. Beginning in 1975, he was one of the teachers of a diploma course in film production at the School of Continuing and Professional Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. In 1977 he proposed and teamed up with Law Kar and other friends to form the nonprofit Hong Kong Film Culture Centre, which both exhibited films and held diploma courses in film production and education. In 1978 he was a full time lecturer in the cinema and television program at Hong Kong Baptist College. He emigrated to Canada in 1990, where he completed a diploma course in drama teaching at the University of Toronto. In 1993 he returned to Hong Kong and joined the faculty of the School of Film and Television at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, teaching film and television production and studies. When he left the Academy in 2002, he held the position of Head of Directing Department. Since then, he had taught in the Master’s program of Cinema and TV at Baptist University, as well as Associate Degree film courses at the Caritas Community College and Chinese University –Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Community College.
Besides film education, Choi also tries to enhance the continued development of the Hong Kong film industry by holding film awards. In 1996 and 1997, through the Hong Kong Film Critics’ Association, he and Cheuk Pak-tong started the first and second Hong Kong Golden Bauhinia Film Awards.
In 2000, he completed Lai Man Wai – Father of Hong Kong Cinema, a 220-minute documentary which participated in many international film festivals. He still has plans to make films, not yet ready to retire.
|Year||Chinese name||English name||Directors|
|2001||《香港電影之父 – 黎民偉》
||Lai Man Wai – Father of Hong Kong Cinema|
||Grow Up In Anger|
||North, South, West, East|
||Hong Kong, Hong Kong|