Watch HKtv Revolution 睇「香港電視革命」

Watch my new documentary HKtv Revolution 香港電視革命 (with English & Chinese subtitles) in this stranger than fiction time. Love to hear your feedback. (note: you can use Chromecast or Apple TV to watch this on your HDTV)

在這個比小說更離奇更荒謬的世代,請讓我分享紀錄片「香港電視革命」(中英文字幕)。請留言,寫下您寶貴的意見。(注意:您可以使用Chromecast或Apple TV 放上您的高清電視觀看)

HKtv Revolution 香港電視革命 (full-length 2015) (read Director’s Statement)

1) Watch HKtv Revolution 香港電視革命 in a “stranger than fiction” time

As our real world is often stranger than fiction, you are invited to watch HKtv Revolution 香港電視革命 to witness and reflect what HongKongers had gone through in the last few years in fighting with the CY Leung Hong Kong SAR government for their simple “rights” to watch some good TV shows.

Why March 2016 is especially “stranger than fiction”? When HKTV’s license application was first rejected in 2013, as you will learn in the start of the film, the CY Leung government claimed it worried about “cut throat competition” might lead to lower programming quality. Well, after watching the slow sinking of ATV (the one of only two free-to-air TV broadcasters in HK) in 2015/2016, we now have positive proof how ridiculous that “cut throat competition” claim was!

In recent months, ATV had trouble paying salaries of its hundreds of employees, still own many employees millions in wages, hadn’t been paying its broadcast license fees to the government for months, and couldn’t even pay the service/maintenance fees for its elevators (so ATV employees had to walk up the stairs to work), etc. And ATV’s liquidator accounting firm Deloitte finally announced on Thursday (March 3rd) evening that it will dismiss almost all ATV employees!

And after Deloitte’s announcement, ATV investor came out to flaunt a case of ‘cash’ at press conference in last-ditch attempt to save ATV (see news #2 below). The cash flaunting event later became even more of a farce as news media spotted (news #5 and #7 below) that the stacks of HK$ 1,000 bank notes were propped up by empty boxes and HK$ 100 notes to give an appearance of a fuller box of HK$ 1,000 bills!

As ATV shuts its broadcasting down in the coming days, after close to 59 years of continuous operation, I hope you will enjoy and gain some insight watching HKtv Revolution 香港電視革命 in our turbulent and “stranger than fiction” time.

2) Review HKtv Revolution 香港電視革命 on IMDb

Please (pretty please) rate & review the film at IMDb, it is easy and it helps spread the words of the film.

I hope you enjoy the film (on your big screen HDTV or your computer) as much as I in making it. Feel free to post any questions you may have re HKtv Revolution 香港電視革命. And I definitely appreciate your time in leaving me any words of encouragement.

My best,

Director of “Revolution Trilogy” (革命三部曲)
2005 Long Hair Revolution 長毛革命 (watch online)
2015 HKtv Revolution 香港電視革命 (watch online)
2015 Umbrella Revolution: History as Mirror Reflection 雨傘革命實錄:以史為鏡

P.S. ATV shutdown March 8th news updates here, here, here.


Director’s Statement – Umbrella Revolution: History as Mirror Reflection

Freedom will still blossom 自由仍是會開花 (有傘有聚,莫忘初衷!) Photo credit Yu Kwok Leung)
Freedom will still blossom 自由仍是會開花 (Photo credit Yu Kwok Leung)

Umbrella Revolution: History as Mirror Reflection 「雨傘革命實錄:以史為鏡」 (full-length 2015)

Umbrella Revolution: History as Mirror Reflection
雨傘革命實錄:以史為鏡 (Chinese title)

Director’s Statement (version 2.0) (see four video clips at end of this post)

雨傘革命實錄:以史為鏡 Umbrella Revolution: History as Mirror Reflection (IMDb, “Umbrella Reflection” in short) is the most difficult documentary I’ve ever made. Factors like the amount of footage and the total footage made things challenging.

The 2014 Umbrella Revolution was a defining period in Hong Kong history and I felt some self-imposed pressure in trying to do a “good” job. I stopped worrying too much by reasoning that Umbrella Revolution will be covered by multiple filmmakers. And my documentary will be one of many films and documentaries covering this period. This understanding has freed me to make my own documentary. Freeing myself to share my own view of Umbrella Revolution. I feel free to include some big and small moments without feeling forced to include every ‘important’ moments and every “important” participants. Umbrella Reflection is not that kind of movie. I hope people will get a sense of how it feels like to be there after watching Umbrella Reflection.

Crowdsourced materials and friends

Unlike my first two documentaries which I shot my own footage, I decided to make Umbrella Reflection a crowd-sourced documentary. What I meant by “crowd-sourced” is that Umbrella Reflection relies totally on video footage, photos, songs and artworks shot and created by 100+ creative people (closer to 150+) in Hong Kong.

I believe this lack of control of how the raw footage was filmed and who to interview has paradoxically allowed me to paint a more comprehensive picture of Umbrella Revolution. In fact, one of the content creators (an independent citizen reporter who had been arrested more than once) wrote on his Facebook statuses that he was at the wrong places during a few “major” incident” which lead me to think 100+ is better than just one of me.

I reached out to the many of the content creators during and after the 79 days of Umbrella Revolution, collecting much more materials than I ended up using in Umbrella Reflection. The multiple people and crowd-sourced approach allowed me to have “eyes” at many places at the same time instead of only me at one place at one time.

As a result of contacting many content creators, I’m delighted to have made a few Facebook online friends during the process.


The editing of Umbrella Reflection was also mentally challenging. In particular, the scenes of police brutality depicted in the Umbrella Reflection were hard to watch again and again during the editing process. And it is frustrating to know the police brutality still have not yet been dealt with fairly by the judicial system (as of the writing of this director’s statement) despite clear video evidences of the beatings by the eight involved policemen.

Depth and complexities

I’ve tried my best to make Umbrella Reflection good and hope I managed to add some some depth and complexities to it. As the filmmaker, I am still picking up things, small details that I just notice in the film. So hopefully others will have the enjoyment in these discoveries themselves.

Finally, I hadn’t imagined a 10-year gap after my debut documentary (“Long Hair Revolution”) in 2005. Life is full of surprise and I am happy to fill this gap by completing two documentaries in 2015.

Kempton Lam
Calgary, Canada
October 2015

Official Facebook: HKtvUmbrellaRevolution
Official Twitter: HKtvRevolution
Official Blog:

Umbrella Revolution: History as Mirror Reflection trailer

Umbrella Revolution film excerpt – 獅子山下 Below the Lion Rock

Umbrella Revolution film excerpt – 海闊天空 The Boundless Sea and Sky

Umbrella Revolution film credits – “100+ Thanks“ 「百多謝」(v2.0)

Director’s Statement – HKtv Revolution

HKtv Revolution 香港電視革命 (full-length 2015)

HKtv Revolution

香港電視革命 (Chinese title)

Director’s Statement (version 2.0)

HKTV protest at Civic Square Government HQ (Photo Credit: Kempton Lam)
HKTV protest at Civic Square Government HQ (Photo Credit: Kempton Lam)

A lawmaker highlighted the core HKTV issues in the chamber of Legislative Council of Hong Kong this way,

“Does watching TV constitute a basic human right? Legally speaking, it is hard to justify. But why did the government’s decision on this particular free-to-air license cause such an uproar from citizens? Because it completely destroyed the core values held by Hong Kong citizens! What are these core values? An open and transparent process, a level playing field, procedural justice and the rule of law.”

Two years ago in October 2013, I shot the first footage for HKtv Revolution (IMDb) and conducted the first interview without thinking the HKTV issues could drag on for years and some of these materials would one day be used in a feature-length documentary. But the real world is sometimes stranger than fiction.

As of the writing of this director’s statement, a High Court judge has “quashed the decision of the Chief Executive in Council in refusing to approve HKTV’s free TV licence application and remit it back to Chief Executive in Council for reconsideration.” (full court judgement in English) But the CY Leung government is appealing HKTV’s judicial review victory and dragging the case out for potentially more years to come. Ignoring the views of the 120,000+ citizens protesting on the street in support of HKTV. And also tarnishing Hong Kong well-known image as a business friendly city. In this topsy turvy world, turning something as simple as people’s desire to watch some new and good TV shows into a full-blown business and political crisis.

Finally, I hadn’t imagined a 10-year gap after my debut documentary (“Long Hair Revolution”) in 2005. Life is full of surprise and I am happy to fill this gap by completing two documentaries in 2015. Because of how the events happened, HKtv Revolution is the film that inspired me to make my third documentary (“Umbrella Revolution: History as Mirror Reflection”) back-to-back.

Kempton Lam
Calgary, Canada
October 2015

Director of “Revolution Trilogy” (革命三部曲)
2005 Long Hair Revolution 長毛革命 (watch online)
2015 HKtv Revolution 香港電視革命 (watch online)
2015 Umbrella Revolution: History as Mirror Reflection 雨傘革命實錄:以史為鏡

Official Facebook: HKtvUmbrellaRevolution
Official Twitter: HKtvRevolution
Official Blog:

HKtv Revolution trailer

Making of “100+ Thanks“ 「百多謝」製作花絮

Until I can thank you in person

How can I say my heartfelt thanks to my films’ awesome crowdfunders (named and anonymous ones) plus the 100+ content creators for Umbrella Revolution? With luck, I hope to say my thanks in person face to face during a film festival movie screening. Until then, I’ve tried my best to make the “credit roll” and “thank you” interesting and nice to watch. And honestly the credit section is one of the segment that move me very much as it reminds me the vast number of people that make this film possible. And indirectly remind me that Umbrella Revolution happened because of tens of thousands of HongKongers.

(7+1) hours

Here is a trivia you may not realize. The full 122 minutes film took the computer about 8 hours to compile. To break things down, it took 7 hours to process the first ~118 minutes of the film, and then one full hour to process the last ~4 minutes!

Song & Animation

Have a watch of the credit roll. I hope you enjoy the song & animation as much as I do and can feel my heartfelt thanks.

Umbrella Revolution film credits – “100+ Thanks“ 「百多謝」 

Over 100 crowdsourced credits

Two (song & video) of the 100+ crowdsourced content used in “雨傘革命實錄:以史為鏡 Umbrella Revolution: History as Mirror Reflection“.
Two (song & video) of the 100+ crowdsourced content used in “雨傘革命實錄:以史為鏡 Umbrella Revolution: History as Mirror Reflection“.

Umbrella Revolution: History as Mirror Reflection 雨傘革命實錄:以史為鏡“, as I have said many times, would be impossible to make without the creative content (videos, photos, music, art, etc) from over 100 crowdsourced content creators. And I have decided to do the following.

1) Emphasize this film is a crowdsourced film at the start of the film. And mention that the 100+ credits will be given at the end of the film. In fact, the following text are words I am currently using (subject to change) in a screen before the film starts.

This documentary is crowdsourced from 100+ creators.

Full credits are given at the end.

2) At the credits section at the end of the film, I have given credits to the 100+ creators under the sections of videos, photos, music, etc. When possible, I’ve asked for and received permissions from the content creators and give them credits. In the cases of some public figures, news media outlets, etc, I have relied on the “Fair Dealing” provisions (for example the “news reporting” provision which include Continue reading

Two new trailers for HKtv Revolution & Umbrella Revolution

Making good movie trailers is hard and it is definitely a skill that I wish I have. Anyway, I’ve tried my best by creating multiple drafts and kept tweaking the two trailers for days until I created these two trailers. Have a watch to get a sense of the two documentaries that I made back-to-back in 2015. Enjoy.

HKtv Revolution 香港電視革 (2015) Trailer (note: IMDb link )

Umbrella Revolution: History as Mirror Reflection 雨傘革命實錄:以史為鏡 (2015) Trailer (note: IMDb link )

Neil Gaiman, the English author of short fictions, novels, graphic novels and films, once said in a keynote address (video),

I decided that I would do my best in future not to write books just for the money. If you didn’t get the money, then you didn’t have anything. If I did work I was proud of, and I didn’t get the money, at least I’d have the work.

Over the years, I try to only make films not “just for the money” but make films that I think are “important” in some way. Obviously I can be wrong and what I think “important” may turn out Continue reading

Two documentaries … and the words revolution vs movement

Umbrella Revolution
Umbrella Revolution
20150529 HKtv Revolution - Screen Capture of new born film title
HKtv Revolution

Yes, I can’t believe I just finished our second feature-length documentary. Two feature-length documentaries made back-to-back. And the second film is not a just short documentary as I wrote three months ago in case you haven’t been keeping up-to-date with the films via the official Facebook page. In fact, at 121 minutes long, the second “bonus” documentary is longer than the first one.

When I started writing this update last night, the computer was working overtime on our second feature-length documentary “Umbrella Revolution”. At one point the movie encoding software was running at 677.8% CPU load! Apparently things can push above 100% on a machine with multiple CPUs (cores) by an app with multiple execution threads!

Our currently 121 minutes long documentary ended up taking 4 hours 32 minutes to finish encoding. You know the crazy thing is that about 4 minutes (out of 121 minutes) of graphics intensive footage in the film involving four high-resolution gigantic graphics (1 big map graphics in one scene and 3 big art graphics in the end credits) had taken 1+ hour to encode, stressing out the computer!

I’m proud to have made the film better even yesterday as I found a perfect photo to use in one scene. Yes, people may or may not notice the photo but I would know and I am glad that I made that change. I am reasonably happy with our films now. And yes, editing “Umbrella Revolution” and looking at the documentary footage again and again has actually exerted a toll on me. A toll? Yes, how could it not exert a toll on me as I edit footage of HongKongers, not just Umbrella Revolution protesters but also radio and TV reporters, being brutally assaulted. And many of the criminally accused are still NOT charged or properly dealt with by the criminal justice system months later (as of July 28, 2015).

And HK police has effectively made a mockery of the HK justice system when, as reported by the South China Morning Post, “Occupy opponents arrested for allegedly assaulting a TVB reporter last year were allowed to wear shower caps and masks at two identity parades.” Wearing shower caps and masks at identity parades? Unheard of in HK until now. And what kind of precedences have these set for future criminals?

To end on a positive note, I’m happy that I can now say my “Revolution Trilogy” will three full-length documentaries: Long Hair Revolution (2005), HKtv Revolution (2015 work-in-progress), and Umbrella Revolution (2015 work-in-progress). Please keep your fingers crossed and wish us luck on our two films getting accepted by film festivals. So far, HKtv Revolution has been submitted to some film festivals and waiting for their decisions. And Umbrella Revolution has not been submitted to any film festivals yet as it has just been completed.

Oct 5th, 2015 update: About the words revolution vs movement. In reply to “陳健民:革命的誘惑“, I quoted, 李怡先生 “蘋論: 雨傘一年:壞消息與好消息” 寫得有理,”雨傘運動,有人認為應該稱雨傘革命,其實兩者沒有太大分別。革命可以是非暴力的顏色革命,運動也可以是顛覆性甚至帶肢體衝突的抗爭,如五四運動、美國獨立運動、民權運動。”

//To me, Industrial Revolution, Digital Revolution, Information Revolution, Internet Revolution, … none of these revolutions had shed blood. In 2005, ten years ago, I named my documentary “Long Hair Revolution 長毛革命” because I felt Long Hair 長毛 had the potential to change the mindsets of a generation of youth. Long Hair 長毛 didn’t and still doesn’t want to see a bloody revolution. Ten years ago I was taking a wild guess. Even I had no idea he would have matured enough (in my mind) to qualify as a “statesman” and one of the many LegCo politicians.//

For the record, Kin-man also wrote “Occupying Hong Kong: How deliberation, referendum and civil disobedience played out in the Umbrella Movement” in the International Journal on Human Rights.