'Hong Kong Mixtape'

Source: Tigerlily Productions

‘Hong Kong Mixtape’

The British Film Institue (BFI) Doc Society and Screen Scotland have boarded feature doc Hong Kong Mixtapethe debut from Hong Kong Chinese-Scottish filmmaker San San F Young.

It is being produced by London and Glasgow-based Tigerlily Productions and is now in post. 

The film examines the fight to protect creative freedoms in Hong Kong amid China’s introduction of a national security law that restricts certain words, images, books, slogans and songs.

Hong Kong Mixtape weaves the personal story of the film’s director, Young, with the experiences of artists – from rappers and dancers to illustrators and stunt collectives – as they are forced to navigate the new authoritarian normal, and asks if they are willing to risk a life sentence for their art.

The project took part in BFI London Film Festival’s 2021 works-in-progress showcase. It is produced by Nikki Parrott and Natasha Dack of Tigerlily Productions, whose credits include as co-producers on Ella Gendining’s Sundance title  Is There Anybody Out There? and Paul Sng and Celeste Bell’s Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché. Sandra Whipham, Mark Thomas and Dani Carlaw executive producing.

Young has previously worked as a current affairs reporter and directed documentaries including Hong Kong’s Rooftop Rebels for Middle Eastern news broadcaster Al Jazeera and short The Infamous Chalk Girl for the UK’s Guardian Documentaries. She formed her own production outfit, Younger Productions, in 2015.

“Some years ago, I lost my grandparents and my brother close together – three Hong Kongers who cemented together my steady safe home, and I found myself filming the city more and more. It felt important to be there,” said Young. “At the same time our dynamic city of noise and colour began to slide backwards, and for many creatives and artists I knew, whether performers, filmmakers, photographers, writers, activists… what was happening to our home came to the foreground of our work.

“The problem is we are tiny, and China is mighty, and being forcibly merged into a mammoth authoritarian block is problematic. Especially for those used to letting loose creatively. These artists I’ve come to know through making films or being old friends, have marked our city’s changes in words or images or in how they live. In the climate of the last few years everything has become a political statement, the smallest creative act became acts of defiance.”