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Interview Nicholas Chin on Magazine Gap Road
Making Magazine Gap Road 1/1 - Page 1
Info
Author(s) : Mounir Zekhnini
Thomas Podvin
Date : 7/12/2008
Type(s) : Interview
 
 Intext Links  
People :
Comfort Chan Kwong Wing
Nicholas Chin
Kui Wing
Wenders Li Tung Chuen
Jessey Meng Guang Mei
Richard Ng Yiu Hon
Elvis Tsui Kam Kong
Movies :
Magazine Gap Road
 
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The independently-produced, albeit visually superb, Magazine Gap Road explores the secluded world on the Peak. The Peak is a special area in the HK Island and a refuge for the high society. For his directorial debut (he did a short beforehand, Taitai) Nicholas Chin gathered a seasoned cast (Elvis Tsui, Richard Ng, Jessey Meng, Qu Ying) from the three Chinas and a very skilled crew (producer Chiu Wah-lee, editor Wenders Li, music writer Chan Kwong-wing). Chin weaves a tale in a cold world of wealthy Cantonese, ex-pats and Mainland families.

Below, Chin discusses the choices he made for his first long-feature film and his viewpoint on the actual HK film scene.

Making Magazine Gap Road

HKCinemagic: These days it is very difficult to make movies in Hong Kong, not to mention to recoup the costs at the box office. Within such context, what did fuel your motivation to make Magazine Gap Road?
Nicholas Chin: The motivation as a young director is to learn the craft, develop a style and build a body of work. And to tell a story.

For the producers of the film it was crucial we keep the costs down for a chance to recoup. Also when developing the film, we wanted to make a film that did not look or feel like a typical low budget independent film so great care was put into making the film feel rich, stylised and different on a shoe string [budget]. I think we achieved it.

One advantage independent film-making has over more commercial films is time. Without the pressures of bringing it to the theatre as quick as possible -- in post-production you can afford to wait on very talented people, editors, sound mixers and colorists, wait when they have free time in between their very busy schedules. It may mean snatching a few hours or days in between their other work, usually midnight shifts, but it means you can get the right people to collaborate with you. For them, an independent project also allows them to try new ideas and makes for a better, more untypical film. Waiting also gives you time to think through the film properly.

 
HKCinemagic: How long did it take to get Magazine Gap Road off the ground?
Nicholas Chin: MGR took well over three years. About a year and a half to write, shop and develop script. Then there was shooting which was relatively quick because of the budget, then over a year for postproduction and then going to market. The film is a follow up to [my short] TAI TAI so it was crucial in getting this film off the ground.

Jessey Meng
HKCinemagic: Magazine Gap Road is said to be an indie film. When you made it, did you think of independent channels of distribution and a good career in festival circuits or did you ever muse with the idea that the film could also have a mainstream distribution?
Do you want to keep making independent films or you’d like to make more mainstream movies?
Nicholas Chin: I honestly feel the line between what is independent and what is mainstream is more blurred with Asian films especially with the budgets here. How the film is received or who will distribute it is out of my control and musing on it can in fact, for a first time director, be a distraction and creatively quite destructive. I concentrated only on what works or what does not work for the film and within the story. You hear often stories about indie directors who emerge after their first cut realising in fact they have a real mainstream film on their hands and then, experienced mainstream directors who (or their producers) realise their material belongs more to film festivals than multiplexes. There is a truth to this.

Because making films (and I have only made two!) takes a long time, the most important decision about future projects is finding a subject or material you love. I am obsessed with and I can live with it day in day out for many years. It’s much more important than whether it should be independent or mainstream.

 
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