The Invitation


Hong Kong Tatler - - Contents -

Di­rec­tor Ann Hui and phi­lan­thropist Michelle Ong join forces for a red-car­pet premiere and cel­e­bra­tion of cre­ativ­ity


Era of the Hong Kong premiere of The Golden Michelle Ong ( left) and Ann Hui ahead

Talk of an academy award nom­i­na­tion is an un­beat­able way to kick off a party—and prob­a­bly ex­plains why the First Ini­tia­tive Foun­da­tion (FIF) char­ity premiere of The Golden Era had such an elec­tric at­mos­phere from start to fin­ish. Mo­ments be­fore the event be­gan, news broke that the film, the lat­est work from cel­e­brated di­rec­tor Ann Hui, had been cho­sen by the Hong Kong Mo­tion Pic­ture In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion as the city’s sub­mis­sion for the Academy Awards’ Best For­eign Lan­guage Film com­pe­ti­tion.

“It was an in­cred­i­ble mo­ment, and it made me feel so proud of my whole team,” says Hui. “I’m keep­ing all my fin­gers crossed that we make it to the fi­nal round, but even this is a great hon­our.” Michelle Ong, the found­ing chair­woman of the FIF, looked equally de­lighted by this ex­cit­ing turn of events. “I am so happy that Ann has been recog­nised. She is so tal­ented; she re­ally de­serves this,” she says. “I also

think it’s very in­spir­ing for all the young film­mak­ers in Hong Kong as it re­in­forces the city’s place on the world stage, which is ex­actly what we aim to do here at FIF.”

The foun­da­tion was launched by Ong in 2010 to support and pro­mote ed­u­ca­tion and cre­ativ­ity in the arts, de­sign, mu­sic and film in Hong Kong. “I started the char­ity be­cause I be­lieve that Hong Kong so­ci­ety can some­times be too fo­cused on business and, be­cause of that, we can for­get to nur­ture the cre­ative tal­ents in our com­mu­nity,” she says.

Both in­spir­ing fig­ures in their fields, Ong and Hui are es­tab­lished and suc­cess­ful mem­bers of the cre­ative com­mu­nity— Ong as head of cre­ativ­ity for high jew­eller Car­net and Hui as one of the lead­ing direc­tors in the city. And Ong had been a long-time fan of Hui’s work, so it was a per­fect fit when Hui of­fered the lo­cal premiere to FIF as a char­ity fundraiser.

The Golden Era is an adap­ta­tion of Xiao Hong’s crit­i­cally ac­claimed au­to­bi­og­ra­phy about her strug­gle to sur­vive as a poet and nov­el­ist in 1920s Shang­hai. The film, which was shot in and around Shang­hai, “was not easy to make, partly be­cause my Man­darin is not very good,” says Hong Kong na­tive Hui with a laugh. “But ev­ery­one has been so en­thu­si­as­tic about it since the re­lease that it made all that hard work worth­while.”

The evening be­gan with the open­ing of a spe­cial ex­hi­bi­tion of be­hind-the-scenes footage from The Golden Era, ac­com­pa­nied by in­ter­views with Hui, lead ac­tors Tang Wei and Feng Shaofeng, and more in­for­ma­tion on FIF. This was fol­lowed by a red-car­pet cock­tail re­cep­tion and a view­ing of the film at­tended by the Hong Kong glit­terati. Guests en­joyed themed treats dur­ing the screen­ing and were kept warm with lux­u­ri­ous throws made by FIF.

“It was a won­der­ful evening,” says Ong. “Ann is pas­sion­ate about what she does, and that al­ways res­onates with peo­ple. Her films are about val­ues, re­la­tion­ships and pos­i­tiv­ity. Ul­ti­mately it’s th­ese things that make Hong Kong such a won­der­ful place to live in.”

It was an ex­cit­ing evening as hun­dreds gath­ered at the ground floor of Pa­cific Place to wit­ness FIF’s rib­bon-cut­ting cer­e­mony with Michelle Ong, Ann Hui, Ea­son Chan, Wil­liam Feng and oth­ers. Af­ter­wards, guests lapped up the star treat­ment as they strolled along the red car­pet lead­ing to the cin­ema.

The premiere was at­tended by so­cialites from all walks of life—artists, celebri­ties and business mag­nates came out in support of FIF. Lynn Hsieh, Jo Jo Fok, Cather­ine Kwai and Che-hung Leong were among those seen com­fort­ably seated in the four AMC the­atres that FIF booked to screen The Golden Era.

Ian and Jo Jo Fok An­tonello De Riu and Miriam Pirone

Danny and Wendy Heg­glin

Cather­ine Kwai and Ed­ward Fung

Joy Chung and Lynn Hsieh

Ea­son Chan, Vivien Chen and Michelle Ong

David and Anita Chan and Terry Chan

Emily and Jimmy Tang

John and An­nie Leong Kam Kwok Le­ung Vincent Che­ung and Re­becca Young

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