Movie Talk – Terence Chang

Movie Talk – Terence Chang

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With the coming of 2024, the Hong Kong Film Archive is focussing on internationally renowned producer Terence Chang in our ‘Movie Talk’ series.

Chang is a crucial link in Hong Kong film’s connection with Hollywood. He was born in post-war Hong Kong and grew up watching Hong Kong films, including those made in Mandarin and Cantonese, as well as those cinematic imports from the West. In the late 1960s, he studied architecture and film in the US, returning to Hong Kong after eight years and began working for Golden Harvest’s production department. He later became a distributor, opening up international markets for the films of D & B and Film Workshop, thus enabling Brandon Lee, Michelle Yeoh, John Woo, Chow Yun-fat and other filmmakers to make names for themselves overseas.

In the early 1990s, Chang joined John Woo and Linda Kuk to form Milestone Pictures, making Once a Thief (1991), Now You See Love… Now You Don’t (1992) and Hard-Boiled (1992). All three films did well at the box office, but Chang decided to turn his attention to the US, concentrating on boosting the American career of John Woo, in whom Hollywood showed a keen interest. Hard Target (1993), the producer-director duo’s first film, was mocked for being an ‘English-speaking Hong Kong film’, but over the next few years they came up with several internationally-acclaimed blockbusters including Face/Off (1997) and Mission Impossible II (2000). On- and off-screen, the Woo-Chang partnership has become a legend.

Along the way, Chang also worked with Chow Yun-fat, Michelle Yeoh and other filmmakers, helping them start new chapters in their careers in Hollywood. But Chang’s film journey did not end there. After working in the US for twelve years, he went to Beijing to produce Red Cliff (2008) for Woo, repeating in yet another film industry the challenging process of trailblazing. He began a new phase in his career thereafter, remaining in Beijing until his retirement in recent years.

Terence Chang worked in film for over forty years. He excelled in the industries in different parts of the world, determined to build bridges across cultures. For this series of Movie Talk, Chang has selected four films, representative works of the three different phases of his career. Chang will be the main speaker in the post-screening talks of the programme, sharing with the other speakers and the audience his experience and insights as a producer who stayed behind the glamour of the limelight with passion and persistence.

The contents of the programme do not represent the views of the presenter. The presenter reserves the right to change the programme should unavoidable circumstances make it necessary. 

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