After the Umbrella Movement in 2014, which saw the streets of Central filled with pro-democracy protestors, award-winning director Matthew Torne set out to chronicle the human stories that emerged in its wake.

His upcoming documentary “Last Exit to Kai Tak” interweaves the stories of activists Joshua Wong, Denise Ho, Wong Yeung Tat, Ed Lau, and Derek Lam as they set out to bring democratic change to Hong Kong. It confronts the burning question: what does it mean to be a Hongkonger today?

Photo: Last Exit to Kai Tak screenshot.

“If you truly value the city and truly value your home, then you have to draw a line in the sand at some point and say I’m going to stand up for it,” Torne told HKFP.

In creating a mosaic portrait of the five pro-democracy figures, the director sees the film as an effort to enrich Hong Kong’s plurality. “The democracy movement can be pluralistic,” Torne explained. “What kind of democrat are you if you can’t respect a multitude of voices?”

He said he hopes audiences will leave the theatre with an open mind: “And maybe, just maybe, some will realise that society is richer when, to quote a phrase, ‘you can disapprove of what they say, but are willing to defend to the death their right to say it’.”

Filmed sporadically, the footage in “Last Exit to Tak Tak” took Torne over two years to capture . The project faced challenges from funding to editing hundreds of hours of footage into a coherent whole. Torne, however, said that the film is the result of the unwavering passion of all those who worked on it.

Torne’s previous films include “Lessons in Dissent” (2014) and “Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower” (2017), which won an audience award at the Sundance Film Festival and earned a Producer Guild Award nomination last year.

“Last Exit to Kai Tak” premieres on 26 September 2018.

26 September (Premiere)7:45PMLouis Koo Cinema, Hong Kong Arts Centre
(UB, 2 Harbour Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong)
30 September2:30PMScreening Room, HKICC Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity

(135 Junction Road, Kowloon)

30 September7:30PMScreening Room, HKICC Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity

(135 Junction Road, Kowloon)

1 October7:30PMScreening Room, HKICC Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity

(135 Junction Road, Kowloon)

After each screening session, there will be a talk from the director, Jonathan Young, and local independent filmmakers Chan Tze Woon and Nora Lam.

Date: Wednesday September 26, 2018.
Time: 7.45pm
Venue: The Hive Spring, 3/F Remex Centre, 42 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Aberdeen, Hong Kong Island – open except on event days.
Entry: Free.

Visit the film’s Facebook page for more information. Tickets are available here.

Hong Kong Free Press

Hong Kong Free Press is a new, non-profit, English-language news source seeking to unite critical voices on local and national affairs. Free of charge and completely independent, HKFP arrives amid rising concerns over declining press freedom in Hong Kong and during an important time in the city’s constitutional development.