(September 19, 2014) Sundance Institute and The Metroplex officially unveiled the opening of Sundance Film Festival – Hong Kong Selects tonight on September 19, which is a screening series of new American independent films accompanied by a delegation of filmmakers and Festival organizers. The screenings run from today to 28 September, 2014, at the newly opened Cineplex, The Metroplex, in Kowloon Bay in Hong Kong. Drawing on the Sundance Film Festival’s 30-year history of discovery and innovation and The Metroplex’s commitment to supporting film culture, Sundance Film Festival – Hong Kong Selects offers eight new films direct from the 2014 Festival in Park City, Utah, U.S.A.
The opening was officiated by Mr. John Cooper (Director of Sundance Film Festival), Ms. Sarah Pearce (Co-Managing Director, Sundance Institute) and Mr. Stuart Wang (Director, The Metroplex), together with visiting US directors including Ms. Maya Forbes (Director of the opening film Infinitely Polar Bear), Mr. Craig Johnson (Director of The Skeleton Twins), Mr. Cutter Hodierne and Mr. John Hibey (Director and Producer of Fishing Without Nets), and Mr. Ben Cotner and Ryan White (Directors of The Case Against 8).
Mr. Cooper explained their choice of Hong Kong for the screening series to take place: “In our effort to share the best of American independent film with audiences outside the U.S., Hong Kong seemed an excellent location with a rich cinematic history. In partnership with The Metroplex, we look forward to presenting this program of diverse and high quality independent films.”
Mr. Stuart Wang commented on this collaboration: “We strongly believe that the collaboration with Sundance Institute will further stimulate the creativity of young local independent filmmakers and foster the interest of new upcoming talent.”
The Sundance Film Festival – Hong Kong Selects features eight films from the Sundance Film Festival, including five award winners. The full lineup is: The Case Against 8, Fishing Without Nets, God Help the Girl, Infinitely Polar Bear, Life After Beth, Skeleton Twins, Whiplash and Wish I Was Here. The screening series has begun with the Hong Kong premiere of Infinitely Polar Bear, a bitter-sweet family tale of how life’s storms can be weathered with creativity and love.
The visiting directors will also participate in a panel discussion on 20 September (4:00 – 5:30 p.m.), entitled Visions of Independence, sharing their stories of what it takes to make their films. Their experience in realizing their visions is often as intriguing as the films themselves. The panel discussion will be moderated by John Cooper with Bede Cheng, Festival Director and Senior Program Manager of The Metroplex.
The spirit of independence transcends art forms. As a complement to the Sundance Film Festival – Hong Kong Selects, The Metroplex has programmed a selection of independent artists who share the spirit of creativity and independence to perform at the Atrium, E-Max on two consecutive weekends during the screening series, 20-21 and 27-28 September. Besides, Musiczone @ E-Max will be transformed into a multi-media art museum showcasing two art pieces namely, Anádelta and Chance Cinematheque, which further echoes The Metroplex’s and Sundance Institute’s commitment in promoting creativity and cultural collaboration.
Press release sent by Cultural Connections on behalf of The Metroplex.
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About Opening Film: Infinitely Polar Bear
Infinitely Polar Bear (Director and screenwriter: Maya Forbes) — A manic-depressive mess of a father tries to win back his wife by attempting to take full responsibility of their two young, spirited daughters, who don’t make the overwhelming task any easier. Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Zoe Saldana, Imogene Wolodarsky, Ashley Aufderheide. OPENING FILM / HONG KONG PREMIERE
About Other Films in the Line-up
The Case Against 8 (Directors: Ben Cotner, Ryan White) — A behind-the-scenes look inside the case to overturn California’s ban on same-sex marriage. Shot over five years, the film follows the unlikely team that took the first federal marriage equality lawsuit to the U.S. Supreme Court. Winner of the Directing Award: U.S. Documentary at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. HONG KONG PREMIERE
Fishing Without Nets (Director: Cutter Hodierne, Screenwriters: Cutter Hodierne, John Hibey, David Burkman) — A story of pirates in Somalia told from the perspective of a struggling, young Somali fisherman. Cast: Abdikani Muktar, Abdi Siad, Abduwhali Faarah, Abdikhadir Hassan, Reda Kateb, Idil Ibrahim. Winner of the Directing Award: U.S. Dramatic at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. HONG KONG PREMIERE
God Help the Girl (Director and screenwriter: Stuart Murdoch) — This musical from Stuart Murdoch of Belle & Sebastian is about some messed up boys and girls and the music they made. Cast: Emily Browning, Olly Alexander, Hannah Murray, Pierre Boulanger, Cora Bissett. Winner of a World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. CLOSING FILM / HONG KONG PREMIERE
Life After Beth (Director and screenwriter: Jeff Baena) — Zach is devastated by the unexpected death of his girlfriend, Beth. When she mysteriously returns, he gets a second chance at love. Soon his whole world turns upside down… Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon, Cheryl Hines, Paul Reiser. HONG KONG PREMIERE
The Skeleton Twins (Director: Craig Johnson, Screenwriters: Craig Johnson, Mark Heyman) — When estranged twins Maggie and Milo feel that they’re at the end of their ropes, an unexpected reunion forces them to confront why their lives went so wrong. As the twins reconnect, they realize the key to fixing their lives may just lie in repairing their relationship. Cast: Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Luke Wilson, Ty Burrell, Boyd Holbrook, Joanna Gleason. Winner of the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: U.S. Dramatic at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. HONG KONG PREMIERE
Whiplash (Director and screenwriter: Damien Chazelle) — Under the direction of a ruthless instructor, a talented young drummer begins to pursue perfection at any cost, even his humanity. Cast: Miles Teller, JK Simmons. Winner of the U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic and Audience Award: U.S. Dramatic at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. SPECIAL PRESENTATION / HONG KONG PREMIERE
Wish I Was Here (Director: Zach Braff, Screenwriters: Zach Braff, Adam Braff) — Aidan Bloom, a 35-year-old struggling actor, father, and husband, is still trying to find purpose in his life. In coming to terms with the death of his father, Aidan and his family unite to discover how to turn the page onto the next chapter. Cast: Zach Braff, Kate Hudson, Mandy Patinkin, Josh Gad, Ashley Greene, Joey King. HONG KONG PREMIERE
About The Metroplex
In 2014 The Metroplex opened its doors to the public as a state-of-the-art 9 screen multiplex at the heart of Eastern Kowloon. The Metroplex is a self-operated independent cinema under Hopewell Holdings Limited, showing a wide range of films from Hollywood blockbusters, international award-winning pictures, film festivals, local, specialty and independent films in its 9 silver screens. Moreover, being located in one of the Group’s investment properties Kowloonbay International Trade and Exhibition Centre (KITEC), Metroplex has the flexibility in cross platform entertainment such as film/music festivals, live streaming, concerts and shows, multimedia conferences, and many other events of similar genre. For more details, please visit www.metroplex.com.hk.
About Sundance Institute
Sundance Institute is a global nonprofit organization founded by Robert Redford in 1981. Through its artistic development programs for directors, screenwriters, producers, composers and playwrights, the Institute seeks to discover and support independent film and theatre artists from the United States and around the world, and to connect audiences to their work. The Institute promotes independent storytelling as art and as a compelling and powerful way to inform, inspire and unite people. Internationally recognized for its annual Sundance Film Festival, Sundance Institute has supported such projects as Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Sin Nombre, The Invisible War, The Square, Dirty Wars, Spring Awakening, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.