Chapman TO (杜汶澤) received Osaka Asia Star ★ Award!
The Osaka Asia Star Award ceremony and the special talk were held on March 17th at Cine Libre Umeda. Chapman TO, who has his film “The Empty Hands” [空手道] in the competition section, gave a special talk following the presentation of the award. Chapman TO talked about his career and background to the audience.
< Osaka Asia Star ★ Award >
Chapman TO’s acceptance speech
“I am very happy that I am receiving an award on my first visit to the Osaka Asian Film Festival. For most Hongkongers, coming to Osaka means shopping at Shinsaibashi, not receiving an award, so I find this very interesting. I started acting in 1993 and I began directing in 2015. I've acted in over 80 films, produced over 8 films and I just started my directorial career. I think that I have done more harm than good to the Hong Kong film industry. Even if the fact that OAFF thinks I deserve an award is a misunderstanding, I am still very happy about it. Nevertheless, for a performer who has just started directing, I think that this award is a good reminder to do more good than harm for the film industry. Thank you so much.”
< Special Talk with Chapman TO >
Here are some of his comments from the special talk session with moderator, UDAGAWA Koyo (宇田川幸洋).
First encounters with Japanese fans
I just found that I have fans in Japan. I didn’t know about this before. I found out this morning because I did a signing for my film after its screening. That’s when I realized that I have fans in Japan. But I suspect that the people at that signing and the people here are the same people at the signing. So if you subtract the people who were at the signing from the number of people in this venue, the sum of those two numbers is the total number of fans I have in Japan.
Talking about his background
I met PANG Ho-Cheung (彭浩翔) when I was working in a TV network in the 90s. I was working as an extra, and he was a writer for vulgar variety programs. He specialized in vulgar humor. I played people who died the second they appear on screen. Once in a while, I was lucky enough to get a line like ‘aiya!’ He said that he was hoping to direct films and that he would cast me as a male lead because he admired me a lot. Since he admired me so much, I became his friend. However, I didn’t really admire him that much. When he got the chance to make films, that’s when we started working together. The first film was “Men Suddenly in Black” [大丈夫], I think.
State of Hong Kong Cinema
I have to respect Hong Kong cinema because many investors and other directors no longer respect Hong Kong cinema. Since many of them went to work in the Mainland Chinese market, they’ve begun to neglect the feelings of Hong Kong audiences because there’s so much money in that market. For example, if there’s a film that does really well in Mainland China doesn’t do well in Hong Kong, that director would have no problem with it because he/she made that movie for the Mainland Chinese audience anyway. This hurts the Hong Kong audience a lot. I don’t approve of this kind of thinking, either. The thing is, it was the Hong Kong audience that nurtured them from lowly jobs to directors. But I guess they’ve forgotten about it because too much time has passed by. I can’t change their way of thinking, so I have to change myself and hope that they will in turn respect what they’re doing more. I used to see the film set as a playground, but now I see it as a battlefield.
Answering an audience member’s question
Each country has its own set of laws and that should be respected because each place has a different cultural background. If you want to go into their market, you have to follow their standard. There’s no doubt about that. It’s hard for a filmmaker to make films anywhere in this world. I was at a film festival in Sydney once, and I went to a party where I met a lot of filmmakers from around the world. They were all talking about the difficulties they encountered in filmmaking. This is why I think it’s not good for a director to complain too much about his or her hardships because that’s not necessarily what audiences need to know. Working is tough for anyone. Everyone encounters difficulties in their jobs. When you’re in a taxi, you don’t want to hear the driver complain about how hard it is to drive in Osaka, right? I wouldn’t ride in that taxi. So to answer your question, I didn’t encounter that many hardships as a director.