Christopher Doyle Creates Hong Kong Protest Trilogy

Australian artist and cinematographer Christopher Doyle is planning a trilogy of short films about Hong Kong with a focus on the city’s recent pro-democracy protests. Doyle is currently attempting to raise $100,000 on Kickstarter in order to complete the film, more than three-quarters of which has already been pledged by supporters.

Based in Hong Kong, Doyle is known locally by his Chinese name Du Kefeng and is popular for his work with auteur Wong Kar-wai on such lauded films as In the Mood for Love and Chungking Express.

The trilogy started as Hong Kong 2014: Education for All a fictional short shot in a documentary style. It was commissioned by the Hong Kong International Film Festival and screened in March 2014. The film was also available online at Youku.com, a Youtube-style platform for the Chinese mainland where it received 1.5 million hits.

Doyle followed up with two more parts to the film and during his shoots the surge of protests in Hong Kong, which came to be known as the Umbrella Movement arose. “It gave the whole project much more sociopolitical reference,” said Doyle, who attended and filmed the student demonstrations.

Now called Preschooled, Preoccupied, Preposterous, the project will be a three-part, 90-minute feature about the city told through the perspectives of three generations of Hong Kong residents, set against the backdrop of the Umbrella Movement.

The fictional film will be shot in a documentary style using ordinary people as actors, encouraging improvisation, and will also feature footage Doyle captured from the pro-democracy demonstrations.

It isn’t the first time the filmmaker has been involved in crowd-sourced funding. In 2014, Doyle shot Jason Wishnow’s sci-fi short The Sand Storm, starring Chinese artist Ai Weiwei as a water smuggler in a future dystopia (see Star Turn for Ai Weiwei in Science Fiction Movie). Doyle also collaborated with Ai on the music video for Dumbass, which was shot in Beijing in three days and recreated Ai’s one and a half month long detention.

Doyle has been breaking away from shooting feature films and venturing more into art film territory in recent years. During last year’s Art Basel Hong Kong he worked with director Jenny Suen on Allergic to Art, a satirical short that responds to the city’s current art craze.


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