New English-Language Publication on Filmmaker King Hu

UH Manoa associate professor George Chun Han Wang (Academy for Creative Media) recently co-edited King Hu in His Own Words, the first English-language publication of legendary filmmaker King Hu’s writings. Published by Centro Espressioni Cinematografiche, the book was officially launched at the 15th Far East Film Festival (FEFF) in Udine, Italy (April 19-27, 2013).

King Hu in His Own Words represents the culmination of years of collaborative efforts on an international scale nurtured by Editor Roger Garcia, Executive Director of the Hong Kong International Film Festival. Cambridge-based media specialist Chanel Kong served as Associate Editor. Renowned Hong Kong cinema expert Law Kar served as Consulting Editor.

Mr. Garcia and FEFF recruited George Wang in 2009 as a key collaborator of this publication that aimed to bring King Hu to the English reading public for the first time. Serving as the Co-Editor, George helped select, translate and review articles, essays and interviews from King Hu’s large repertoire of literary materials. Having worked closely with King Hu in 1996, the book also features an unpublished film treatment George wrote under King Hu’s direction.

UH Manoa’s many Chinese-language experts contributed as translators for the book. They include professor Frederick Lau (Music) and associate professor Shana Brown (History), both faculty members of the College of Arts and Humanities.

Other UH Manoa translators include Cathryn Clayton (Asian Studies), Cynthia Ning (Confucius Institute), Stephen Tschudi (Language Education) and Ming-Bao Yue (East Asian Languages and Literatures).

Additionally, George Wang directed/edited a short documentary titled King Hu in His Own Words which screened at the Far East Film Festival on April 27th. It contains rare interview footage of King Hu conducted towards the end of his life. The editorial team then discussed about King Hu and his writings at a panel discussion hosted by Roger Garcia. Attendees were festival guests, international media and general public.

King Hu’s masterpiece A Touch of Zen (1971) was the opening film of the 2013 Far East Film Festival. The lesser seen Raining in the Mountain (1979) and My Lucky Star (1963, dir. Ho Meng-Hua) featuring King Hu as the lead actor, were also screened at FEFF as part of the King Hu retrospective special section.

Far East Film Festival is the biggest European festival of popular Asian cinema and a fertile source for new films from Asia for the European and North American markets. “FEFF has always tried to venture deeply inside the cinematic history of each country,” says festival president Sabrina Baracetti, who cofounded the festival with coordinator Thomas Bertacche. “King Hu is a master director, but here in Italy we don’t know much about him,” says Baracetti. “That’s what started us thinking about the book with Roger Garcia about five years ago. We thought it would be an important contribution to cinema history, as there is no book on this topic available in English. We put a lot of effort into this publication, and we also thought it would be a great way to allow our audience to see some of King Hu’s classic movies.”