Prestige 40 Under 40 alumnus COBA CHENG shares sentiments and stories about his new movie, Chilli Laugh Story.
How did the pandemic affect the launch of Chilli Laugh Story?
The film launch was delayed by half a year, but this allowed us more time to prepare and market the film. It was a blessing in disguise, really. We were able to fine tune and improve the post-production to make sure that the message of family, unity and perseverance really shone through.
Tell us about the city’s reaction and feedback.
It’s been great. Cinemas have been closed for so long that I think, for most people in Hong Kong, once they reopened, it felt like a really nostalgic and necessary activity for friends and family to experience again together – especially given the message of the film. I even went incognito to a few public screenings just to gauge the audiences’ reactions and was very pleased to hear only positive feedback. And laughter. A lot of laughter.
As a debutant director, what did you learn about yourself throughout this filmmaking process?
The entertainment world is different now. With all these online networks that offer pretty much unlimited choices of series or films to stream from home, the act of deliberately going to the cinema becomes a lot more profound. There’s a different sense of satisfaction in knowing that people are coming out to support not only their idols who are starring in the movie, but also the local film industry.
Before immersing myself in this new path, I had no idea the depth of work and patience necessary to pull off a project like this, but I had great mentors [Sandra Ng, Peter Chan and Matt Chow] during this process, which I’m so grateful for. Ultimately, though, the whole film was a collaborative labour of love between countless people behind the scenes. Over the last year, I’ve learned to appreciate and have a bit more understanding about the colossal effort necessary to put a movie together.
This was a totally unexpected experience for me, so if I ask myself what I want to do next, well, who knows? Now that I know how adaptable I can be, I’m looking forward to challenging myself even further.