It’s only natural for the Hong Kong Film Directors’ Guild to compile The Ultimate Guide to Hong Kong Directors. The Directors’ Guild has over 200 members, and since 1979, there have been over 600 individuals who had directed a feature film in Hong Kong. During these 30 some years, Hong Kong cinema has gone from boom to bust -- an undeniable truth. Many talented, experienced, ambitious directors were either forced to go into another line of work, turn their sights to the huge Chinese television market, biding their time or immigrate to another country. Overall, the scene has become quite barren.
I am late to the game. Three years ago, I became a director at a relatively old age and assembling this book has led me to feel much empathy for the difficulties and loneliness many Hong Kong film directors have faced. It was quite difficult for us to make contact with many seasoned directors, even after making many efforts and committing over a year’s time in our search. Some directors even stated that they do not wish for this book to mention their names. Then there are those who do not wish to be supporting characters down the memory lane, which seems to be coming from a very negative perspective. Yet between respecting historical truth and respecting the directors’ personal wishes, we unequivocally choose the former.
Most of the biographies, filmography and director’s statements in this book have been reviewed by various directors in order to ensure the accuracy of our information. Nonetheless, there are directors who do not wish to disclose their date of birth or other personal information, while others are disinterested in writing a director’s statement, unwilling to have his/her photograph published, or even attempt to disown certain films from their repertoire. Even as we edit and verify our material, we have also tried our best to accommodate the directors’ demands.
We choose 1979 as a starting point of introduction because it was the year when the Hong Kong New Wave broke into the scene. As for the directors from an earlier era, we hope one day we will have The Ultimate Guide to Hong Kong Directors: The Trailblazersto commemorate their achievements. Finally, I wish that not long after this book is released, we would see a breath of fresh air in Hong Kong cinema, or perhaps another New Wave.
Freddie Wong Kwok-shiu