Eye Catcher Global awards ceremony

‘The River That Holds Our Hands’ Wins Eye Catcher’s New Director Award 

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Chen Jianhang’s The River That Holds Our Hands, produced by Lin Ziyang and Chen Baiqi, was awarded the $13,000 (HK$100,000) Asian New Director Award at the close of this year’s Eye Catcher Global in Hong Kong. 

Supported by Hong Kong’s Renaissance Foundation, Eye Catcher Global hands out awards to first cuts of feature-length first and second projects from across Asia. 

Jury for the award included Cannes Directors Fortnight artistic director Julien Rejl, Turkish critic Janet Baris, and Hong Kong critic and programmer Kiki Fung. 

Commenting on Chen’s project, the jury said: “Conceived in a documentary cinematographic style that pays sensitive attention to the present and the plasticity of the image and sound, this film does not hesitate to veer fully into fiction in the course of the narrative, allowing buried memories to emerge.”

The jury also presented the Asian New Director Special Jury Award, which came with a cash prize of $2,300 (HK$20,000), to Dear Daughter, directed by Jo Cheng Oi Yue and produced by Ruby Yang. 

“In this portrait-like documentary, the filmmaker manages to hold together three dimensions: the daily life of a homeless man struggling to survive, the letters he writes to his daughter who has emigrated, and the emotional relationship that develops between the filmmaker and her character,” the jury said. 

“The passage of time is very perceptible in this very human film, which evokes the experience of Vietnamese diaspora in Hong Kong without ever standing above its subject.”

Eye Catcher also handed out multiple awards in its International Pitching Forum, which had a separate jury comprising producer and Singapore film festival head Jeremy Chua, Asian cinema scholar Lee Sangjoon, producer Jacqueline Liu (Warriors Of The Future), Hong Kong director Derek Tsang (Three-Body Problem), Golden Scene sales and acquisitions manager Felix Tsang, Screen Australia head of development Bobby Romia, and curator Elysa Wendi. 

The International Pitching Forum jury presented the $6,400 (HK$50,000) award for an In-Development Project to Nothing Happened from Chan Tze Woon.

Three projects split the $10,200 (HK$80,000) award for a Work-in-Progress Project –Tsang Kam Shan’s CraSEAy CleanUppers, Francis Catedral’s First Fight, and Tsang Yuk Hei’s When Strange Wind Blows: A Family Portrait.

As there were three winners, Derek Tsang, who also served as Eye Catcher Global Ambassador, tipped in an extra HK$10,000 so the winners could share the award with HK$30,000 each. 

Two short films were also handed awards in the pitching forum – Wong Cheuk Man’s What I See In The Mirror Stays The Same took the prize for an In-Development Project (HK$20,000), while the prize for a Work-in-Progress Project (HK$30,000) went to Let’s Do A Canto Opera On A Boat Temple For Our Beloved Goddess Tin Hau, from director and creative director A. 

The event took place at Soho House with winning filmmakers in the Asian New Director competition who reside in Hong Kong being awarded with a one year free membership.