exclusive: MakerVille, the recently launched entertainment subsidiary of Hong Kong-based media conglomerate PCCW, will hit Filmart with an ambitious lineup of films and premium series following its debut feature film crazy fatewhich had its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival.
Lofai Lo, CEO of MakerVille and former general manager of PCCW’s free-to-air channel ViuTV, sat down with Deadline to go over the roster and outline the company’s production strategy. In addition to the international appeal that Hong Kong has long been known for, he also intends to make local creators famous with a series of high-end Cantonese and Mandarin TV dramas that can be distributed outside Hong Kong.
More from Deadline
“We produce about 2,000 hours of programming for ViuTV per year, and while most of it is for the local market, it has allowed us to create an incubator structure where we can experiment with new ideas, directors and scripts,” Lo explained.
“Through this process, we’ve been able to select some high-potential talent and create a premium content pipeline. But we’re also an open platform because we’re working with some experienced filmmakers like [Mad Fate director] Soi Cheang, and some guys who just graduated from college. That’s why we’re called MakerVille — no matter how much experience you have, we want to be a place where filmmakers can come together and create together. “
In terms of series, MakerVille is regrouping crazy fate Johnnie To’s Milkyway Image Co-Producer Talks Fantasy Drama three fates (tentative name), tentatively scheduled for ten episodes. Screenwriter He Qingyi (time), the series begins with a teenager facing a pivotal decision in his life, then plots three different scenarios for his future based on the different choices he could have made.
Three up-and-coming Hong Kong filmmakers – Zhang Xinzhe (Broker Mr. Chen), Vera Wang (trivia) and Li Zongsheng (edge) – will direct the series, which features a cast that includes Ernesto de Sousa, Chen Guobang and Chrissie Chau. Johnny To and his longtime producing partners You Naihai and Zhu Qilian will serve as producers.
MakerVille also produced a 20-episode series, perfect gentleman (tentative title) tells the story of a gangster who is released after 30 years in prison, struggling to adapt to modern life with new technology and changes in gangland culture. “There’s going to be some humor, but it’s more of a dark comedy because at the back of it is still a gangster story,” Lo said.
The cast includes Philip Keung (shock wave), Xuan Xuan (G storm), Angie Cheong and members of Hong Kong boy band Error managed by MakerVille. Chan Kiu-ying and Patrick Leung serve as producers.
MakerVille is also the artist management company of Hong Kong’s largest boy group Mirror, and is preparing to make a movie. we twelveStarring a full cast of 12 Cantonese pop singers, some of whom have made their debuts in hit movies.
“It’s not easy to write a story with 12 important characters, not just a few main characters and a lot of side characters, so we’re working with a writer who’s been working with the boys for five years,” Lo said. The film was written by Lisi Chang, produced by George King, and directed by He Berry, who worked with the band on the music video.
Also on the film front, MakerVille is working with Singapore-based MM2 Entertainment on Moriichi’s New York series, my paradise cityStarring Song Priscilla and Der Spiegel member Du Qiang.
Meanwhile, MakerVille’s first production, Soi Cheang’s crazy fate, was selected as one of the two opening films at this year’s Hong Kong International Film Festival (March 30-April 10), following a special premiere at the Berlin Film Festival. The noir thriller starring Lam Kar Tung and Mirror member Lokman Yang makes his debut. “We had a great response to Lokman’s performance in Berlin, which gave us the confidence to continue developing stories for other icons,” Lo said.
MakerVille and Hong Kong free TV service ViuTV and pan-regional streaming platform Viu are both subsidiaries of PCCW Media Group, but Lo said those relationships don’t limit who the companies can work with. While MakerVille will produce some premium content for Viu, the company is also free to partner with other regional and global streamers. MakerVille has also established an international distribution division to license its content internationally, under the leadership of Regent Lai, Head of International Sales and Marketing.
“The plan is to produce about five films and ten series a year, with regional or international targets,” Luo explained. “We don’t have established guidelines for genre or demographics because we’re more focused on stories and filmmakers. We do have data to look at, but we think it’s more important to identify new and unique content because audiences are constantly changing.”
Viu has its own pipeline of independent productions, including local-language dramas produced in South Korea and Southeast Asia, which will be featured at Filmart’s showcase on Wednesday (March 15) alongside the MakerVille roster.
sign up Deadline Newsletter. Follow us for the latest news Facebook, Twitterand instagram.