Two movie screenings in the fourth Ground Up Student Film Festival have been cancelled after the films failed to obtain a Certificate of Approval from Hong Kong’s Office for Film, Newspaper and Article Administration (OFNAA).

Ground Up Film Society announced on Facebook that the screening of Piglet Piglet was cancelled just over five hours before the screening was set to be held.

A scene from Piglet Piglet. Photo: Taiwan Film Festival, via video screenshot.

According to the trailer of the film from the Taipei Film Festival, Piglet Piglet was set around the Taiwanese presidential election in 2020. Citizen News reported that the director, Lin Tsung-yen, was asked by the OFNAA to “axe all scenes and information linked to the election and Tsai Ing-wen.”

Lin told Citizen News that he had “never experienced that our creation will become a natural impossibility in some places and countries.”

‘Rather sensitive’

Piglet Piglet is the second film cancelled in the festival. The screening of The Cage, directed by Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) graduate Tsoi Wing-chau, was cancelled last Friday.

The Cage is a short film that provides a strong message on totalitarian rule, capitalism, freedom and resistance,” the film description from the HKBU’s graduate show website read. “Under totalitarian rule, even if we keep ourselves in peace, can we really live in a stable life?”

Tsoi told Stand News that the Ground Up Film Society called OFNAA twice prior to the screening to ask about the progress of the certification. The director said that she thought “it was a shame” that her film could not be screened, and that she thought it was because the topic of the film was “rather sensitive.”

The Cage. Photo: AVA BA Grad Show website.

Last month, the Legislative Council passed amendments to the Film Censorship Ordinance , allowing the government to ban films deemed contrary to national security.

Any person who exhibits an unauthorised film could face up to three years in jail and a HK$1 million fine.

Before the amendments were passed in the city’s legislature, several films about the 2019 anti-extradition bill protests were either pulled from commercial screening or did not apply for exhibition in Hong Kong, including Inside the Red Brick Wall, and Hong Kong Director Kiwi Chow’s documentary Revolution of Our Times.

The latter film was attacked by local Beijing-backed newspapers as advocating independence, an offence criminalised under the national security law, along with offences including subversion, collusion with foreign forces and terrorist acts.

Candice Chau

Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.