UP­CLOSE: GINA WONG

HK Magazine - - CULTURE -

HK Magazine: What’s the big­gest dif­fer­ence be­tween ex­per­i­men­tal film and movies you see in reg­u­lar cin­e­mas?

Gina Wong: Nar­ra­tive mo­tion pic­tures are like a novel or magazine, and Hol­ly­wood block­busters are like a tabloid: It’s just en­ter­tain­ment. Ex­per­i­men­tal films are like po­etry. Every word in po­etry is the in­ten­sive feel­ing of the writer. Ex­per­i­men­tal film doesn’t have a lin­ear sto­ry­line; it’s more com­plex, more flow­ing. I think that’s the beauty of it. [I was drawn to it] be­cause ex­per­i­men­tal films are made by a va­ri­ety of film­mak­ers. If you look at Hol­ly­wood films, a lot of them are still made by men. Ex­per­i­men­tal films write hu­man his­tory in a way which gives a bet­ter pic­ture of [re­al­ity] in 2016.

HK: Women seem to have a prom­i­nent po­si­tion in the Hong Kong arts scene: Do you think that’s true? GW: Women have a prom­i­nent po­si­tion in arts ad­min­is­tra­tion. But that’s not where the power lies. They’re vol­un­teers, they’re ad­min­is­tra­tors, they’re man­agers. But the top col­lec­tors, the tastemak­ers and the power peo­ple: They’re men. But things are chang­ing. More women are par­tic­i­pat­ing in art. You’re sup­posed to break through the sta­tus quo. Oth­er­wise it’s not art, it’s dec­o­ra­tion.

HK: How has it been, run­ning an in­de­pen­dent film art space in Hong Kong?

GW: We have a small group of diehard fans, about 350, who come to all our screen­ings. We don’t get any fund­ing from the gov­ern­ment. It’s truly in­de­pen­dent, so our arts ex­hi­bi­tions are not afraid of crit­i­ciz­ing any­body, in­clud­ing the gov­ern­ment. We’re re­ally flex­i­ble, as we don’t have to wait for the Arts De­vel­op­ment Coun­cil to ap­prove of our pro­grams a year in ad­vance. I spend quite a lot of time reach­ing out to in­di­vid­u­als for an­gel fund­ing in Lon­don and Shang­hai. You can’t re­ally do that in Hong Kong—there’s no one to sup­port it.

HK: What’s in store at Screen x Ex­per­i­menta?

GW: Half of them are Asian pre­mieres. The first pro­gram is “X Screen World Drama,” which is more for the begin­ners. They have nar­ra­tives and ac­tors speak­ing. It’s eas­ier to watch. “X Screen Po­etry” is for the ex­per­i­men­tal film buffs. Films are more po­etic, and made by women film­mak­ers. One high­light is “I Feel as if I am Van­ish­ing,” from a lo­cal film­maker of Pak­istani ori­gin. It’s time we picked In­dian and Pak­istani com­pa­tri­ots who are from Hong Kong. There’s go­ing to be a world pre­miere of my own film, “The Road to Day Dream Mine,” a story to re­mem­ber my own grand­mother, who I thought was ahead of her time. I con­trasted the red of the Aus­tralian Mundi Mundi Plains with the ocean in Hong Kong. And it’s go­ing to be shown in vir­tual re­al­ity too. We have a few Google Card­board [VR view­ers] to give out each day, and peo­ple who reg­is­ter can down­load my film and watch it from there.

HK: Why work to de­velop the Hong Kong art scene? GW: I’m a Hong Kong girl. I grad­u­ated from the Uni­ver­sity of Hong Kong, this is where my heart is. With all the pol­i­tics go­ing on, isn’t this the most amaz­ing time to be here? Be­cause maybe I can make a lit­tle bit of dif­fer­ence. I hope to tell the story of as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble—es­pe­cially those whose sto­ries have not been told.

Film­maker and cu­ra­tor Gina Wong See-yuen founded in­de­pen­dent film and video art space Ex­per­i­menta in 2008. This March, she is work­ing in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Art Cen­tral to bring three ex­per­i­men­tal film pro­grams to the pub­lic in “Screen X Ex­per­i­menta.” She shares with Eve­lyn Lok her pas­sion for al­ter­na­tive film and mul­ti­me­dia art.

See Screen X Ex­per­i­menta at Art Cen­tral. Film pro­grams take place Mar 22-26, from 4:30pm each day. See art­cen­tral­hongkong.com for de­tails.

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