In the months leading up to the first ever Third Culture Film Festival. Our curator Faiyaz Jafri spent hours on end in front of a screen, going through the 1800 short films that were submitted from around the world. When the selection was made, only 70 films remained.


On the opening night of the festival, the first group of films filled the big screen in Loft 22, an art space in California Tower in Hong Kong. The first section was named Animation, It Ain’t Disney, and it surely wasn’t. After two hours of some incredibly original animation, many in the audience were left wondering which planet these animators had come from.

The animated section was followed by an introduction to the world of abstract visual art, in the section The Realm of the Senses.

The second day kicked off with a kids-friendly selection of animated short films in the afternoon, followed by a not-so-kids-friendly segment called Fairytales and Dystopia. These films showed a dark twist to the classic fantasy genre, from subtle futuristic sci-fi to a perverted take on Pinocchio.

As if this wasn’t dark enough, the last segment of the day was called The Darkness, showing some real grit to an at times terrified audience.

On the third day, the kids-friendly animation eased us all in again, followed by a collection of local Hong Kong productions. The evening started with Food, Family, Kids, Parents, an excellent selection of films; Some tragic, others comedic, all great.

The weekend closed off with Love and Confusion, showing us what passion looks like in places from China, over Egypt, to France.

On Sunday evening, the Third Culture Film Festival Awards were handed out by our amazing jury.


Mike Leeder

Based out of Hong Kong since 1990, Leeder has worked both in front and behind the camera as an occasional actor, Casting Director, Fixer and Producer for such projects as Jet Li’s Fearless, Jackie Chan’s Rush Hour 3 & Kung Fu Yoga, The Raid 2, Tracer/Truy Sat, Keanau Reeves Man of Tai Chi, RZA’s Man with the Iron Fists 1 & 2, One Million Klicks, Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Pound of Flesh, Helios, Rise of the Legend, Goldstone, and Ultimate Justice. He is currently in pre-production on a number of Film & TV projects with various partners including 108 Media. He is and always shall be a Gwailo.

Emilie Guillot, Faiyaz Jafri and Mike Leeder ©Maximilian Lai
Emilie Guillot, Faiyaz Jafri and Mike Leeder ©Maximilian Lai

Sean Tierney

Sean Tierney is a recovering academic and freelance film critic. His Youtube channel, The SIlver Spleen, focuses on Chinese-language film reviews and related topics like location visits and his own experiences in local film.

Tavia Jiang

Tavia Jiang grew up in a family surrounded by the world of arts. Her grandfather was a famous calligrapher, her father dedicated a life-long career to the film business, and her mother won awards for her work as a Chinese Opera singer. Tavia has always had an affinity and an enthusiasm for art in all its forms, including painting, photography, sculpture, performance art and cinema. Tavia is currently working at Above Second, a HK gallery which has been busy curating for exhibitions with various local and international artists. She believes that talented emerging artists should be given more of a platform to showcase their works.

Yaz Pleitgen

Yaz Pleitgen is a truly international and ‘made in Hong Kong’ writer, producer, and director. She has worked on multiple award-winning commercials, campaigns, films, branded content, and television programmes. Also, as a Chindian female filmmaker, she balances out the specific ratio of gender and race representation on the panel.

Emilie Guillot

Emilie is a local French celebrity in Hong Kong. She is a resident since 2002. She has dedicated herself to the artistic community, and founded HK Theatre Association in 2007. Emilie is an actress, a drama coach, a director, and producer of a large number of live performances. In 2015, she has directed her first feature film (L’arrivée d’un Typhon), an independent film shot and set in Hong Kong. Not only did Emilie star in this film, she is also the writer and producer.

Emilie Guillot, Yaz Pleitgen and Tavia Jiang ©Maximilian Lai
Emilie Guillot, Yaz Pleitgen and Tavia Jiang | ©Maximilian Lai

Adam Tam

Adam Tam started as a lighting designer and finally made his way as a well-known director of cinematographer, Given his growing reputation, he was invited to participate some of the best film makers in the world. In addition, Adam is also one of the high-definition (HD) technology pioneers in Hong Kong. With the expertise in advertising production and strong sense of market trend, Adam set up his own advertising company specializes in above-the-line marketing productions. He was elected as the Vice-President of the Hong Kong Society of Cinematographers (HKSC) since 1995, and then assigned to Board of Director’s Council Vice Chairman of Hong Kong Film Awards. Having a vision to spread the spirit of movie industry, Adam is currently teaching in Film Professional Training Programmed aiming to nurture a new breed of blood for the future of Hong Kong movie industry.

And of course none of this would have been possible without all the volunteers!

Thanks to all the volunteers! | ©Maximilian Lai

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