Wai Ka-fai was born in Hong Kong in 1962. After graduating secondary school, he worked as a waiter at a local tea diner, and witnessed many behavior and incidents that became inspiration for his later scriptwriting work. In 1981, he joined the scriptwriting course held by TVB, and subsequently became the scriptwriter of such series such as The Return of the Condor Heroes and The Deer and the Cauldron, both adapted from Jin Yong martial arts novels by Louis Cha. He was later promoted to the position of script supervisor and producer. He switched to working for ATV in 1990 before returning to TVB in 1992, where he produced such long-running series as Looking Back in Anger (1989), Heaven’s Retribution (1990), The Greed of Man (1992), etc. In particular, Looking Back in Anger caused a stir when it was aired and became a ratings hit not only in Hong Kong, but also in Taiwan and Mainland China. The Greed of Man, on the other hand, was regarded as a classic among local television shows, and was nicknamed “the king of shows”. The television series Wai produced were distinguished by having palpably realistic characters which left an indelible impression upon audiences, and made stars out of many actors.
After joining the film industry, Wai’s style underwent a change. His debut was the 1995 film, Peace Hotel, which he wrote and directed. The next year, he formed Milkyway Image with Johnnie To, and directed Too Many Ways to Be No. 1, which was widely praised for its groundbreaking creativity. The film was nominated for Best Screenplay at the 17th Hong Kong Film Awards in 1998 and the New Current Award at Pusan International Film Festival. Wai and To continued their collaboration, sometimes with Wai responsible for the screenplay while To directed, or Wai would write scripts that he and To would co-direct. With a slew of films that were both box office and critical hits, the pair became known as the golden couple of Hong Kong cinema. Wai’s most important directorial efforts include Needing You... (2000, co-directed with Johnnie To), Love on a Diet (2001, co-directed with Johnnie To), Running on Karma (2003, co-directed with Johnnie To), Love for All Seasons (2003, co-directed with Johnnie To) and Mad Detective (2007, co-directed with Johnnie To). In particular, Running on Karma was nominated for Best Director and awarded Best Film, Best Screenplay and Best Actor (for Andy Lau) at the 23rd Hong Kong Film Awards in 2004, while Mad Detective was awarded Best Screenplay and Best Actor (for Sean Lau) at the 27th Hong Kong Film Awards in 2008 and the Best Screenplay at the 2nd Asian Film Awards, as well as receiving nominations for Best Film, Best Director and Best Actor at the same event.
|Year||Chinese name||English name||Directors|
||Don't Go Breaking My Heart||TO Johnnie|
||Mad Detective||TO Johnnie|
||Love For All Seasons||TO Johnnie|
||Turn Left, Turn Right||TO Johnnie|
||Running on Karma||TO Johnnie|
||Fat Choi Spirit||TO Johnnie|
||My Left Eye Sees Ghosts||TO Johnnie|
||Wu Yen||TO Johnnie|
||Fulltime Killer||TO Johnnie|
||Love on a Diet||TO Johnnie|
||Needing You||TO Johnnie|
||Too Many Ways to Be No. 1|