Sunday, March 26, 2023

Release: Westdale Screens 2022 Hot Docs Winner Featuring Q&A

Blue Island, a film about the past, present and future of Hong Kong in the wake of the city’s 2019 protest movement and subsequent authoritarian crackdown, is coming to The Westdale on Sunday February 12 at 2.00 pm. Elegiac, dramatic and thoughtful, the film blurs narrative and documentary to examine the question: “What is Hong Kong to you?”

Directed by Hong Kong filmmaker Chan Tze-woon, the film combines interviews and archival footage with reconstructions of real-life events. It weaves together the memories of older generations’ historical experiences with the struggles of the younger generation striving to preserve their freedom today. Through reconstructing these events, the film dramatizes their scarred memories and experiences, casting four young people who participated in the 2019 protest movement in Hong Kong. These real protagonists are separated by time and history, yet their lives parallel and overlap, because they have similarly defiant backgrounds and find themselves in similarly chaotic predicaments.

Described as a love letter to Hong Kong, it offers glimmers of hope for the city, despite the current political and social atmosphere of repression which effectively prevents the film from being publicly screened there. The film is a must-see for anyone who is interested in Hong Kong, but its themes have universal resonance, especially in a country of immigrants, like Canada.

“Over the past two years, because of the 2019 protest and political situation which Blue Island has also touched on, a lot of Hong Kong people have decided to leave Hong Kong and immigrate to Taiwan, UK and Canada. Showing Blue Island overseas to the Hong Kong diaspora is very important, but how Hong Kong people fight for freedom and search for their identity should resonate with the local audience as well,” said co-producer Andrew Choi.

Blue Island has been officially released in the UK and Taiwan, has had many special screenings in Australia, the US, and Canada, and was named Best International Documentary at the 2022 Hot Docs Festival.  

Wherever the film has been shown, audiences have been encouraged to participate in a Q&A session with the film makers afterwards. After the screening at The Westdale, co-producer Andrew Choi will be invited to share his reflections on the film, the director’s vision, and how the film’s key messages have resonated with international audiences, before opening the discussion to questions from the audience.

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