Preserving the Record of an Era!

It has been over a hundred years since the birth of Chinese cinema. Hong Kong cinema is a significant sub-division of the Chinese-language cinema outside of Mainland China and Taiwan. Due to a myriad of historical reasons, Hong Kong cinema has established a unique identity in the Chinese diaspora, becoming fertile ground for talented filmmakers to nurture their creativity, freely making films of their interest in a market-driven industry.

Chinese filmmakers have never placed much importance on documentation. Hence in our hundred-plus year history, we have lost many original materials, prints, pictures, records and even lists of cast and crew. Even though various film archives have been established in recent years in attempts to repair the damage, the ground they need to cover is simply too vast. It is only appropriate for The Film Directors’ Guild to focus on the director -- the soul of a film.

It is therefore time for us to pick up this undertaking, regardless of how arduous is the project.

In the past year or so, thanks to the leadership of the editing team and the coordination of the administrative office of the Film Directors’ Guild, we have gone through a process that can only be described as painstaking, one of collecting data, organizing, making contact, interviewing, meeting deadlines…. . During this time, as we tried to search for directors who had stepped away from the limelight, there had been moments when we felt discouraged, realizing that some who had directed films now see little significance of that experience. The director, a title seemingly endowed with prestige and glory, can be conceived in totally different regards by those not in the industry.

The years between 1979 to 2013 are definitely the most important thirty-five years of Hong Kong cinema. This period witnessed the emergence of over six hundred film directors. For this volume, the Contemporary Editionof The Ultimate Guide to Hong Kong Film Directors, the editing team had exhausted every venue to search for information. Directors were often compelled to lament upon completion of a film that more can be done. I can only say the same about the possible shortcomings of this book and urge pardon from fellow filmmakers of any blemishes that we are unable to eradicate.

Finally, we would like to thank everyone who has poured their heart and soul into consulting, planning and assisting this project. And lest we forget to thank the Hong Kong Film Development Council, without its financial support none of this would have been possible!

The Hong Kong Film Directors’ Guild
Manfred Wong