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Hong Kong Film Directors' Guild - Directors - Karl MAKA
麥嘉尚 | MAKA Karl

For a director, every film is your baby. If you don’t care about it, nobody else will.

For every new film, I tell myself, “This will be my last film”. I would risk stepping on everybody’s toes to get the best results, since it might be my last film.

Trust me, at the end, if the film is a commercial success, then everyone you had offended will cheer you on. On the contrary, if you were just keen on pleasing everyone, being a nice guy and flopped, you will be treated as trash and get a “Don’t call me, I’ll call you” from everyone.

Not every film is successful, but you have to learn from the failures.

If you want to be a good director, make a hit film.

If you want to be a nice guy, go run a charity instead.


Karl Maka was born in 1944 in Guangdong province. In 1958, at age 14, he moved to Hong Kong with his family. After attending secondary school at Shung Tsan English College, he immigrated to the United States in 1963 with his family and settled in New York City. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree in electronic engineering in 1969 at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, then worked as an engineer at a telephone company, all the while studying film production at the New York Institute of Photograghy.

Maka returned to Hong Kong in 1973 and partnered with other young filmmakers like Richard Ng Yiu-hon, Guy Lai Ying-chau, Sammo Hung, Lau Kar-wing, Dean Shek and Raymond Wong Pak-ming to form various film companies, including Pioneer Film Company, Ka Bo Film Company, Warriors Film Company and Cinema City. Maka wrote and directed his first film The Good, the Bad and the Loser (1976), which was not a big hit but did nothing to dent his determination and enthusiasm. He later acted in and produced many commercial hits, including Chasing Girls (1981), All the Wrong Clues for the Right Solution (1981), the Aces Go Places series (1982-89), All the Wrong Spies (1983), The Thirty Million Dollar Rush (1987). In 1983, Maka was awarded the Best Actor Award for his performance in Aces Go Places, sharing it with Sammo Hung for the latter's performance in Carry On Pickpocket, a rare occurrence in the history of the Hong Kong Film Awards.

In 1991, after the dissolution of Cinema City, Maka withdrew from film. In 2000, he made a cameo in Winner Takes All, and starred in the Chinese TV series Zen Master in 2001. That year, he also partnered with James Wong and Law Kar-ying to host the TV talk show, Super Celebrity Talk Show.

Year Chinese name English name Directors
1983 《橫財三千萬》
The Thirty Million Dollar Rush
1982 《難兄難弟》
It Takes Two
1981 《追女仔》
Chasing Girls
1980 《瘋狂大老千》
Crazy Crooks
1980 《鹹魚番生》
By Hook or By Crook
1979 《無名小卒》
His Name Is Nobody
1979 《鐵拳》
Iron Fists
1978 《老虎田雞》
Dirty Tiger, Crazy Fog
1977 《面懵心精》
Winner Takes All
1976 《一枝光棍走天涯》
The Good, the Bad and the Loser