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Interview de Godfrey Ho (page 6)

Si nous aimons rire d'un certain cinéma déviant, nous sommes très loin de mépriser les hommes et les femmes qui s'y sont impliqués ou compromis. Il nous a ainsi paru enrichissant de faire raconter le nanar et son univers par les gens qui l'ont vécu de l'intérieur. La diversité des intervenants et de leurs réponses nous a rendu encore plus proches du cinéma que nous aimons : vous découvrirez, au fil des entretiens que ces différentes vedettes ont bien voulu nous accorder, des informations précieuses pour le cinéphile et le cinéphage, des anecdotes cocasses et, en esquisse, le portrait attachant de personnages souvent hauts en couleur.
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Godfrey Ho (page 6)

What are your current activities as a teacher now?

I’ve been working at the Multimedia Innovation Center of the Polytechnic University for 5 years and teaching the student there about filmmaking, directing, editing, lighting. Multimedia Innovation Center was later integrated with the School of Design and they wanted the lecturer to have a degree, which is not my case, so I could not teach anymore there. I left and joined Hong Kong Film Academy. Now I teach people academically, so I had to read filmmaking books. Now I know what a script writer do because I know filmmaking. Before, when I read film books, it was like “oh, what the hell is that”. It’s hard to understand. So that’s what I tell to my students “you come here, I teach you very practical filmmaking”. Not only books, no need to come here for that, you can just order them from Hollywood. There are so many. That’s why when you watch academic filmmaking, you don’t understand what’s going on. When I was making a movie in New York and I had an assistant director who studied filmmaking in New York University. He asked me “Oh, Godfrey, how come the way you direct is so different from what we learned from our professors?” “Of course, your professor is not the director, he can teach you academically but not practically”. What I’m doing is practical techniques. Especially films with low budget. Films with big budget are easy. Low budget, the director is like a worker (laughs). I worked as a producer, a director, I had to take care of everything even the lunch, breakfast or dinner. When Cynthia Rothrock arrived from LA, I had to tell the line producer to pick her up at the airport. I had to handle this kind of stuff. So filmmaking is very challenging. You must keep your mind always on the move, to organise everything. It’s not boring like a clerk (laughs). I’m very busy here and enjoy meeting young people. And everybody enjoy my teaching. It’s not simply “open your books bla bla bla” I teach them how it is on set. I got a student from Korea, Netherlands, Philippines or Hong Kong. My student from Korea graduated, he did a short film and participated in some kind of festival and got a lot of reward. And now is working in Korea in a company planning to reproduce John Woo’s “A Better Tomorrow”. He wants to be a director and do it here. I told him “you want to be a director? Stay in Korea!” Because Korean’s movies are booming now. He speaks Korean, Cantonese and English. That’s why, after doing movies in Korea, if an American company comes, he will be the one they will see. He has a very good future. Not in Hong Kong, Hong Kong is dead (laughs).

Do you still have some projects for yourself?

No, not yet. Until the market is getting better. Otherwise, it’s just wasting time. We do movies according to the market. We like to do it for arts but we must survive too. A producer won’t put one million in a production if he can’t get back the money. It’s easier to lose money than winning it. I could do TV series in China but there is no creativity. You must finish one episode within 2 or 3 days. 40-minute-video done in 2 or 3 days! It’s a very tight schedule. If I was young enough, I could do this kind of work but now, for me, it’s difficult and no fun. I don’t want to do it anymore because I’ve been directing for so many years. Why I did this job? It’s because, when I was young, I saw airplanes in the sky. I thought if I do this job, I can get a chance to fly, to take the plane (laughs). Because at that period of time, we were so poor, it was hard to pay a ticket. After that, I travelled too much (laughs). I enjoyed my work.

Would you have a final word for all the people all over the world who enjoyed watching your ninjas or kickboxing movies?

I just want to thank them to have enjoyed our movies. Because, they are commercial, don’t treat them as some kind of masterpiece. It’s like watching a TV game. If you’re looking for good artistic value, no, sorry! At that period of time, I was not ready to do this kind of stuff. Maybe in the future, if I do another movie, I’ll pay more attention to the script and mise-en-scene so as to make a good film.

Big thanks to Godfrey Ho for his kindness.

Thanks extended to Roy Horan for his help.

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