Black Bauhinia documentary - next steps
Start dateJuly 2022
End dateFebruary 2023
The production of a feature-length documentary film “Black Bauhinia” made possible by previous ESRC IAA funding was completed in November 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed production completion and hampered opportunities to screen the film at festivals and to the public. Nevertheless, the film has achieved significant impact.
It was screened at over 20 film festivals and received 11 awards (including best documentary feature, best first-time director, best cinematography) in Europe, Asia, and North America. During the early stage of in-person screenings, over 800 people attended. Societal impact of the documentary has been significant with fantastic feedback. The screening in Korea made international news. Members of the growing Hongkonger exile community in the UK testified that the film gave them new insights, hope and purpose. Viewers said the “film is ahead of its time” and they “feel so much stronger seeing Ray Wong embarking on a new path”.
This is an extension of the original project “Black Bauhinia – A Documentary About Hong Kong Localist Activists”. This project maximised research impact by harnessing the emotional engagement of the Hongkonger community, further strengthened the positive mental impact of the film by creating a space for co-creation of knowledge. Through the film’s website viewers are invited to create their own short version of a film on localism. Key ideas, events, protagonists will be selected including soundtrack elements from “Black Bauhinia”. These selections will feed into a new short-film “co-produced” by the audience on localism that will be available to secondary and tertiary educational institutions, hence allowing understanding, memory preservation and community-building.
Dr Malte Kaeding
Senior Lecturer in International Politics
Malte Philipp Kaeding is Senior Lecturer in International Politics in the Department of Politics. Previously he lectured at the University of Heidelberg and Hong Kong Baptist University.
He is the co-founder and co-convenor of the Hong Kong Studies Association and an Associate Fellow of the European Research Centre on Contemporary Taiwan, University of Tübingen. Malte is also the director and co-producer of a documentary film on Hong Kong.
Screenings with the growing Hong Kong exile communities in various regions of the UK, Taiwan and Canada focus on the interactive elements of the film via the newly created co-production space on the film official website (https://blackbauhinia.co.uk/). The film facilitates lively and in-depth discussions on Hong Kong identity in exile and its future developments.
The documentary’s focus on questions of identity, culture and homeland resonates not only with exile and refugee communities, but with policymakers in nations seeking stronger recognition of their unique culture and identity. The project thus emphasises domestic and overseas screenings with decision-makers from the policy circle, think tanks and NGOs. The follow-up grant thus focuses on the creation of Spanish, French, German and Korean subtitles. A screening event at the European Parliament was a great success and similar events are planned.
“Black Bauhinia” has been awarded a designated panel at the International Studies Association conference in Montreal 2023. The conference is the starting point for a North American screening tour including Montreal, Toronto, New York and Washington DC.
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