Peter Yung was born in Hong Kong in 1949, and studied cinematography under famed Chinese-American cinematographer James Wong Howe in 1969. He produced and directed his first documentary, One Day in Los Angeles, in 1970. After obtaining his Bachelor’s degree (honors) in 1971 from the Art Centre College of Design in California, Yung returned to Hong Kong in 1972 to work as a photographer and held his first solo photo exhibition in 1973 with the sponsorship of James Wong Howe. In 1974, he went to Indonesia to make a series of documentaries. Between 1976 and 1979, Yung worked with award-winning British director Adrian Cowell on six documentaries about the drug trade and another three documentaries on the environment. Between 1976 and 1977, he served as the producer and cinematographer for an independent television company on another documentary about drugs. Yung made his directorial debut in 1979 with the self-funded The System, with Stanley Kwan as his assistant director. Regarded as one of the first Hong Kong New Wave films, The System exposed the dark underbelly of the Hong Kong government and decision makers with detailed and well-researched materials such as police surveillance procedures that were taken from the documentaries Yung had worked on. Using documentary techniques like on-location sound, live-recorded sound effects and music, the film achieved a high degree of realism. Yung even operated a handheld camera himself on many of the film’s chase scenes.
Yung’s second film, Life After Life (1981), used the horror genre formular and an experimental approach to explore the concept of reincarnation. Despite being banned twice in Taiwan for allegedly spreading superstition, the film was nominated for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Cinematography at the 19th Golden Horse Awards in Taiwan. It was also shown as a special screening at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1982. Both The System and Life After Life have been shown and received awards at international film festivals in Hong Kong, Berlin, Los Angeles, Manila, Canada and Taiwan.
Yung’s self-funded Soul of the Wind (1982), produced in collaboration with Sil-Metropole Organization, centred on archeologists working in Xinjiang. Double Decker (1984), produced by Yung’s own company, focused on youths as a social issue. Yung’s final documentary as a director to date, Warlords of the Golden Triangle (1987), sees him again teamed up with Adrian Cowell. In 2005, Yung served as the producer of a documentary on Chinese workers in Israel. Yung’s body of work, most of which he wrote, directed and produced, are concerned with social issues, which has to do with his extensive training in making documentaries. During a career spanning over three decades, he has served as the producer, director and cinematographer for many narrative films and documentaries from all over the world.
Between 1975 and 1977, Yung worked as a lecturer of film for the diploma program at the Chine University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies. Between 1975 and 1982, he was a lecturer at the School of Communication at Hong Kong Baptist University. In addition, he was head of the Producing and Production Management Department at the School of Film and TV of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Executive of the Hong Kong Directors’ Guild, Consultant for the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, Professional Adjudicator for the Hong Kong Film Awards and Project Reading Committee member for the Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum.
Yung published four books through the Oxford University Press which came out in 1986, 1989, 1997 and 2000. He also held eight solo exhibitions at various galleries and art centres in Hong Kong and around the world. His first book of photography, The Termination, was selected as part of the permanent collection at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum in 2000.
|Year||Chinese name||English name||Directors|
||Warlords of the Golden Triangle|
||Soul of the Wind|
||Life After Life|