Ash Hoyle, Eye Catcher Global

Source: Eye Catcher Global

(l-r) Ash Hoyle, Min Bahadur Bham, Aditya Assarat at Eye Catcher Global 2023

Hong Kong’s Eye Catcher Global (ECG) will expand into industry screenings and add Asian new director awards for its 2024 edition, following last year’s inaugural event that focused on international pitching.

The second edition is scheduled to run June 20-23 at Soho House in Hong Kong. The new Industry Screening programme will curate up to eight independent film projects from Asia. All will be works-in-progress, with at least a first-cut available for international and local industry delegates to view.

Julien Rejl, artistic director of Cannes’ Directors Fortnight, will attend the event as jury president of two new awards created for the Industry Screening: the Asian new director grand award with a cash prize of nearly $13,000 (HK$100,000) for a fiction film project; and the Asian new director special jury award of $2,500 (HK$20,000) for either a fiction or non-fiction film project.

The Industry Screening programme also comprises non-competitive screenings, including four short films commissioned by ECG and two independent feature films by Hong Kong directors – all of which are work-in-progress cuts – as well as four short films that previously premiered at Directors Fortnight.

“Eye Catcher Global serves as an extended initiative for our local talents to further connect to their Asian peers and the global pioneers,” ECG creative director Eric Tsang Hing Weng told Screen. “It fosters exchange of bold thinking and new ways of collaboration.”

Tsang is a film director whose debut feature Hong Kong Family premiered at Busan in 2022.

The ECG team is also headed by director general Samuel Chai and backed by Hong Kong-based non-profit charitable organisation Renaissance Foundation.

The International Pitching Forum, which launched last year, will return with around 10 in-development projects and six WIP projects, which will take part in an open pitch and one-on-one meetings. The forum is open to both shorts and feature films with Hong Kong elements.

Four awards with a total cash prize of $23,000 (HK$180,000) will be presented, including two Eye Catcher Grand Awards for in-development projects and two Eye Catcher Grand Awards for WIP projects.

Jeremy Chua, general manager of Singapore International Film Festival and producer of Cannes Camera d’Or winning feature Inside The Yellow Cocoon Shell, will be one of the jury members for the pitching forum.

Last year’s ECG international jury included Thai filmmaker Aditya Assarat, Min Bahadur Bham whose Shambhala became the first ever feature from Nepal in competition at the Berlinale, and Sundance film festival programmer Ash Hoyle.