When the city falls silent,
it’s time for us to pick up our trumpets.
We blow our horns to rally people who still believe in telling stories with films.
Even if the streets of Hong Kong are still, and surveillance is everywhere,
we can’t stop youths from being part of the stories birthed by this city.
Freedom for mainstream creative works may have shrunk, but we still received more than 260 submissions for this year’s Ground Up Student Film Festival, an all-time high in the festival’s history. Diverse in genres, sensitive and candid, the films contemplate the shackles of our times. They tell stories and depict emotions of the forgotten, the ignored, and the forbidden.
It’s difficult being in Hong Kong; it’s difficult being in the current world.
When everything was at a standstill, we followed the students’ fearless spirits and launched a series of new ventures:
- The first-ever local competition for student films
Awards are passports that can take local films around the globe and bring our stories, history, and emotions to different corners of the world. The preliminary jury carefully selected 20 shortlisted works. The final jury panel then determined five films that would take home awards for their special meaning and vision. The jury panels this year were made up of members with different areas of expertise and backgrounds, and the works were selected after thorough and elaborate deliberation.
- “Ground Up Co-learning Film Journey,” in which students call the shots in Ground Up’s first film festival-adjacent programme
To further promote film education, the new initiative called for secondary- and higher-education students to take part in film appreciation workshops, interviews with filmmakers, programme curation, and article writing. The students were also part of a jury panel to select the winning work for the Student Jury Prize.
- A film festival that amplifies and connects students’ voices in and beyond the city
The “Finalists of Local Competition & Asian Student Works” programme brings together 20 shortlisted works in the local competition and 10 selected student films from all around Asia. The six curated film programmes feature an exciting lineup of short films varied in genres, subject matters, and techniques.
The programme “Filmcation?” shows great short films that did not make it to the final round, and is accompanied by an all-day beer party.
“SeaShorts Awarded Shorts Compilation” introduces the up-and-coming SeaShorts Film Festival from Malaysia, which is dedicated to nurturing young Southeast Asian filmmakers. We will show four award-winning works from the festival.
It’s not simple to pick up our horns and gather people in the cinema.
But please continue to have faith in the silver screen and its power to inspire.
We believe that students are like sponges, continuously absorbing everything around them. Not being influenced by society, students are adept at thinking outside the box and breaking through restrictions to indicate their creativity. In fact, there are many local students studying media creation and making works that represent the young generation’s thoughts and beliefs. Yet they lacked a student-based platform for publication and exchange.
The establishment of the Ground Up Student Film Festival in 2015 addressed this gap. We continue to respond to the needs of young filmmakers by showcasing their works to the public in the form of film festivals while affirming their films’ artistic, cultural, and social value. We also continue to organize workshops, talks, and other training-based activities to encourage creation.
Ground Up Student Film Festival has received enthusiastic support from different sectors of the community. Up to the present time, we have:
- received nearly 700 short films produced by local students;
- held nearly 80 screenings, workshops, lectures, and guided tours;
- selected and screened nearly 90 local and overseas student short films, with approximately 60 local secondary schools and universities participating;
- engaged with more than 100 local and overseas filmmakers;
- reached 15,000 audience members.
Ground Up Film Society is an organization dedicated to Hong Kong’s young film talents. The Society was created in 2014 by a collective of emerging film professionals working in independent film production, film education, and programming. Since then, we have curated and presented Ground Up Student Film Festival, thematic screenings, and overseas exchange programmes to bring films from Hong Kong’s emerging talents to local and international audiences. We also nurture development of innovative and creative films by connecting Hong Kong filmmakers with international film professionals. We are committed to supporting creative expression, facilitating collaboration across countries, and nurturing local creative talents through training and research. We also offer education programmes for young filmmakers and audiences to develop their practical, analytical, and theoretical knowledge of film art.