In Conversation brings you closer to our festival guests, from the biggest stars to renowned figures in filmmaking, in a candid and personal setting.


29 NOV, WED / 7:00PM / 60MIN
Clara Law is one of the most interesting directors to emerge from the Second Wave of Hong Kong cinema of the late ’80s, creating works that are thought provoking, imaginative and honest. Diaspora is a theme that runs through a lot of her works. But more importantly, from the dispossessed and exiles, she goes further to explore the nomadic existence of the modern man, the alienation and loneliness of the contemporary human existence, and the transience of existence itself. Her works can be described as a poetic diaspora – with concerns steeped in humanity and a continual search for the ultimate truth. In this intimate conversation session, we find out more about Law’s poetic narratives, her focus on the aesthetics of cinema, and the impact her own personal journey in life has made on her works.
Clara Law studied film at the National Film School in England after graduating from the Hong Kong University. She returned to craft a number of internationally acclaimed features including Autumn Moon (Golden Leopard, Locarno 1992; Best Picture, European Art Theatres Association) and Temptation of a Monk (competition Venice 1993, Grand Prix Creteil). She moved to Australia in 1995 and continued to work in films that won many international awards including Floating Life (Silver Leopard 1996, Best Film and Best Director Gijon), The Goddess of 1967 (Best Actress Award Venice 2000, nominated Golden Lion Venice, Best Film FIPRESCI Tromso, Best Director Teplice Artfilm). She is currently working on Drifting Petals with her husband and longtime collaborator (producer, writer) Eddie Fong.


1 DEC, FRI / 7:00PM / 60MIN
Philip Lee has been involved in numerous projects throughout his career. From thought-provoking science-fiction, historical biopics, a video game adaptation and currently, a franchise series, Lee’s diverse choices in stories and directors to work with transcend the usual formulas of successful filmmaking. Instead, they focus on exciting works that are as original as they are adventurous. In this conversation session, we find out more from the experienced producer on what attracts him to a story, what his passions are and what he hopes to see in the future for Asian cinema.
Philip Lee holds a Bachelor of Arts in Directing from the College of Arts at Nihon University in Japan, a Master of Fine Arts in Producing from The American Film Institute (AFI), and a Doctorate in Business Administration from Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He was the associate producer for Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, line producer for Zhang Yimou’s Hero and many others. He executive produced Tom Tykwer and The Wachowski’s Cloud Atlas and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s The Revenant. Most recently, he executive produced Robert Schwentke’s German film The Captain.


2 DEC, SAT / 5:30PM / 60MIN
A celebrated figure in world cinema, Koji Yakusho has made his mark in both arthouse and commercial realms, steadily rising from Japanese success to international recognition. Whether playing a white-collar worker, a burnt-out detective, a powerful samurai leader or father to a rebellious teenager, Yakusho’s natural screen presence is as commanding as it can be heartwarming to audiences and critics alike. In this celebration of his work as a cinema legend, we get up close and personal with the star and find out what drives him to continue reinventing himself in his diverse filmography up till today.
Koji Yakusho is an award-winning actor from Isahaya city, Nagasaki prefecture in Japan. A longstanding legend in Japanese cinema and well-known internationally for his roles in Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)and Babel (2006), Yakusho originally got a breakthrough on the NHK series Tokugawa Ieyasu (1983). He enjoyed critical acclaim for his role in Shall We Dance? (1996) and The Eel (1997), which won the Palme D’Or at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival. Most recently, he starred in Hirokazu Kore-eda’s The Third Murder, selected for the 2017 Venice Film Festival Competition, and had a special appearance in Oh Lucy!, directed by first-timer Atsuko Hirayanagi, selected for 2017 Cannes Critic’s Week.


24 NOV, FRI / 3:00PM / 60MIN
Patterned like the music of Rajasthan’s desert civilization and unfurling like a folktale, The Song of Scorpions explores another mystic realm related to love – reflecting on possession, revenge and compassion. Anup Singh’s stunning feature stars Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani, fresh off her Paterson fame, and acclaimed Indian actor Irrfan Khan as two individuals confronted by their desires, fury and fervor amidst the unforgiving sparseness of their homeland. Join us in this In Conversation session with the director and cast, and find out how much of their own passions radiate within the film.
Anup Singh’s first feature film, The Name of a River (2001) was invited to more than 30 festivals. His second, the award-winning QISSA – The Tale of a Lonely Ghost (2013), The Song of Scorpions, his third feature, had its world premiere at the Locarno Film Festival 2017.
Acclaimed by critics as one of the best actor of his generation, award-winning Indian actor Irrfan Khan’s career spans over more than 70 films in India, the UK and Hollywood, including Salaam Bombay! (1988), The Namesake (2007), Slumdog Millionaire (2008), Life of Pi (2012), The Lunchbox (2013), The Jungle Book (2016) and more. In 2011, Khan received the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian honour for his contribution to the field of the arts.
The Song of Scorpions will be screened as part of the Special Presentation section on 24 November, 8pm at Marina Bay Sands.


28 NOV, TUE / 3:00PM / 60MIN
In Jenny Suen’s and co-director Christopher Doyle’s The White Girl, Hong Kong’s reimagined future is painted as a city on its last legs of authenticity before commercialization and gentrification take over. Essentially a love paean to their hometown, the film is a search for identity and space at the moment of its disappearance, drawn from their own personal feelings. Starring ingénue Angela Yuen as The White Girl and Japanese award-winning actor Joe Odagiri, we find out more about the film’s conceptualization, the birth of the characters and how the film relates to Hong Kong today.
Jenny Suen is a Hong Kong writer, producer and director. She studied at the University of Pennsylvania where she graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and was named Dean’s Scholar. The White Girl, her first feature film, premiered at the London Film Festival 2017.
Christopher Doyle is a renowned award-winning cinematographer, famed for his work in numerous films including Wong Kar Wai’s In The Mood For Love (2000), Gus Van Sant’s Paranoid Park (2007) and Jim Jarmusch’s The Limits of Control (2009), amongst many others. The White Girl is his fourth feature film.
Angela Yuen is a rising star in the Hong Kong film and TV industry, dubbed the “Hipster Goddess” by her many fans. The White Girl is her first leading role in a feature film.
The White Girl will be screened as part of the Special Presentation section on 28 November, 8pm at Capitol Theatre.


30 NOV, THU / 3:00PM / 60MIN
Oh Lucy! tells the story of Setsuko, a middle-aged wallflower who comes out of her shell after falling for her English language teacher, John, played by Josh Hartnett. In this bittersweet and funny feature, director Atsuko Hiranayagi examines the idea of what it would be like if the “quiet one” in the family speaks up, or if the shy coworker becomes adventurous, seizing prime opportunities in their lives. We get to know Hiranayagi’s inspiration behind the film, how it was like filming in both Japan and America, and what were the casting auditions like for the colourful characters portrayed in the story.
Atsuko Hirayanagi was born in Nagano and raised in Chiba, Japan. She is a graduate of NYU Tisch School of The Arts with an MFA in Film Production. Her second year project, Mo Ikkai, won the Grand Prix at the 2012 Short Shorts Film Festival in Asia. Her thesis short film, Oh Lucy!, received a First Prize Wasserman Award and also won more than 25 awards around the globe, including prizes at Cannes, Sundance and Toronto film festivals. Oh Lucy! (2017) is the feature-length version of the original short, which had received the 2016 Sundance / NHK Award during development.
Josh Hartnett first burst onto the indie scene in The Virgin Suicides, the critically acclaimed debut film by Sofia Coppola, and shortly thereafter, catapulted into superstardom when he played one of the leading roles in Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor. This was followed by a string of hits as the lead in O., 40 Days & 40 Nights and Black Hawk Down. Hartnett then took a hiatus from Hollywood to focus on his personal life and family, but recently came back into the limelight with his powerful performance in John Logan’s hit television show Penny Dreadful.
Oh Lucy! will be screened as part of the Special Presentation section on 30 November, 8pm at Marina Bay Sands Grand Theatre.