Incubation Programme 23/24- Case Study: Creation and Production on Short Film Al Niente
孵化計劃23/24- 案例剖析:與金馬60入圍劇情短片《裊裊》團隊拆解短片製作回顧

Eye Catcher Incubation Programme 2023/24

Date: 16 December, 2023 (Sat)
Lo Lam | Screenwriter & Director
Rachel Leung | Lead Actress
Eric Tsang | Producer

For the 2nd Session on Case Study, we had the creative team behind the shortlisted project Al Niente from the 1st Eye Catcher Incubation Programme, Lo Lam (Screenwriter & Director), Rachel Leung (Lead Actress) and Eric Tsang (Producer) to share their thoughts on the journey from the starting point of it, script refining and finally to the shooting, where Al Niente was shortlisted at the Fresh Wave International Short Film Festival and the Golden Horse Film Festival.

Both the Chinese and English title of Al Niente, (Chinese title: 《裊裊》), carried the main theme of the plot: on one hand, we have a reference to the Chinese expression “the remaining sound of music swirling around” – which describes the feeling of music lingering in one’s mind; its English counterpart, Al Niente, is a musical term printed at the end of sheet music to signify the gradual weakening of a musical note to trail off into silence. Both expressions represent the paradoxical nature of memory for people diagnosed with dementia, whose memories seem to linger in the mind and disappear gradually. 

When Lo Lam participated in the Mentorship Programme during Eye Catcher Incubation Programme 2022, her mentor was director Ray Yeung. Lam recalled that after the 3 meetings from the Mentorship Programme, it felt like the story and characters for Al Niente were finally clear, and the script was edited to the point where it was basically rewritten. Al Niente was inspired from the director’s personal experience upon her return to Hong Kong – drawing inspiration from her difficult feelings from finding out about her grandfather’s dementia, to her guilt and avoidance toward her siblings, her observation of her grandfather’s primary caregiver and the possible efficacy of music therapy… all of these experiences led her to face herself, to write her characters with unlovable and contradictory characteristics, to finish the story, which has slowly progressed into what the audience is seeing now.

About the casting process and collaborating with the actors, Lo Lam and lead actress Rachel Leung demonstrated the mutual understanding and trust between director and actress. Lam talked about discovering lead actress Rachel Leung from other Hong Kong films, observing her ability and talent to fully embody the unrestrained and somewhat temperamental character of Yun Ling in Al Niente. Leung also shared her own attitude towards her career as an actress: to keep an open mind when facing different scripts and directors – to be able to see from different perspectives and to think outside the box to be able to embody the character and their speech.

Al Niente was submitted to a number of film platforms and festivals along the way. Lam said that the entire process has led her to grow through experience, and only when she exited her comfort zone can she introduce the work to a wider audience. 




《裊裊 Al Niente》的中英文名,本已帶著導演對故事主軸的想法:一邊是中文的「餘音裊裊」那種音樂一直縈繞著人的感覺;一邊是英文的「Al Niente」——通常寫在琴譜最後,代表漸弱至到無聲的意思。兩者都代表著對於認知障礙症患者來說,記憶這回事就是如此矛盾地,好像一直縈繞在腦海,又好像漸漸消失一般。