The Night of Filmmaking: Sharing with Director Chan Hau Chun

The Night of Filmmaking: Chan Hau Chun

Date: 5th August, 2022

Venue: Jao Tsung-I Academy Theatre

@Camp 2022

Mentor: Chan Hau Chun (Director)

Moderator: Jill Li (Documentary Director)

Chan Hau Chun is a videographer and independent filmmaker who graduated from the School of Creative Media of the City University of Hong Kong. Her 32+4 was shortlisted in the documentary category of the 2015 Golden Horse Festival and Awards and won the Principal Prize in the International Category of the 61st International Short Film Festival Oberhausen.




@創作營 2022



陳巧真畢業於香港城市大學創意媒體學院,現為攝影師及獨立電影工作者。作品《32+4》曾入圍2015年金馬獎最佳紀錄片和榮獲2014年德國奧柏豪森短片影展(國際競賽單元)Principal Prize。

32+4 | Cantonese and Teochew dialect | 32 mins

The director spent her childhood living apart from her family and knew very little about its history. This changed when she graduated from college and decided to face her parents with her camera in a search for answers to questions about her past.

《32+4》 | 粵語及潮洲話 | 32分鐘


Heatroom | Cantonese and Putonghua | 76 mins

In an old part of Hong Kong lies an old building, and within it countless little rooms. Demarcated merely by wooden panels, each room houses one family: a subdivided flat, with shared toilet-kitchens, sultry, impermeable, where hundreds live.

The film weaves together images taken over the last few years, documenting residents of subdivided flats within one building. After the social movement in Hong Kong and in coping with the global pandemic, the seemingly mundane everyday lives of these residents are in fact full of underlying tension. Within the cramped and rundown building, some people move out after just half a month, some stay for thirty years; some have grown up here, some have passed away in the rooms… What does our society look like when seen through these steady long takes?

《熱室 Heatroom》 | 粵語及普通話 | 76分鐘



In the evening of imagery, we screened Chan’s 32+4 and Heatroom.

32+4 was created when Chan was trying to develop an idea for her final project at the school. 32+4 is divided into several chapters that tell the story based on the director’s relationship with her family. Her narrative voice out of the lens, her calm and thorny questions to her mother, and the collage of words, old photographs, and drawings, and voiceless narrations through subtitles are extraordinarily impressive. There were also sounds of her mother chopping up meat in the kitchen and the knife marks on her bedroom door that her angry father left behind. The shots with a feeling of peeping at an “uncle,” her mother’s second husband living in the same building, are also outstanding.

In contrast to the closeness in 32+4, Heatroom features a distant visual effect. The cameras were left in the subdivided units to record every speck of the resident’s life. The residents have their own spirits and pleasures. Some endure the pains in their bodies; some are satisfied with their life; others are interested in the meaning of life and philosophical musings. The cameras in the cramped units record people coming and going and their ever-going life.

Chan had a post-screening dialogue with documentary director Jill Li who spent eight years producing her Lost Course. After the dialogue, the two documentary directors had an in-depth discussion with the campers.



而對比《32+4》的貼身,第二部放映的作品《熱室 Heatroom》,就選擇了係較抽離的視覺,有一種任由攝影機放在各間劏房裏,紀錄住客一點一滴的感覺。每個住客都是獨一無二的靈魂,有的有自己獨樂樂的興趣,有的承受著身體上的病痛,有的滿足於生活現況,有的喜歡談論生存意義等等的哲學問題⋯⋯在這擁擠的空間內放置鏡頭,折射來來往往、似乎可以永續下去的眾生相。


The Night of Filmmaking Q&A Session

1. How and why were Chan choose to film with gazing and collaging your scenes in 32+4?

After Chan decided to film about her family, her father accepted the camera, her mother rejected, while her uncle always kept his distance. Chan’s questioning behind the camera was mild but deep down in her heart there’s full of fear, especially when facing her uncle whom she absolutely knew nothing about. She reflected herself not mature enough in facing all these by the time she filmed. Therefore, those gazing and silent subtitling picked from diaries were the way she kept herself with distance to her own experience.

2. In the progress of filming Heatroom, did the director ever think of what’s the meaning of life? Why could people in the subdivided flats still live under such a worse condition?

As filmmakers sometimes we can’t avoid the sense of privilege when we film. Before look into the core on why these people think that they live well and what truly supporting them, we’d better keep an open mind, throw away all the judgements and social phenomenon and look into people only.  

3. What is the purpose of filming documentary, reflecting the fact, satisfying audience, or self satisfactory?

When filming 32+4, Chan reflected that besides its final year project purpose, to a large extent it’s also a journey in self-healing and self satisfactory. 32+4 has  influenced her family so much that her filming started with the feeling of unfairness, hatred and revenge. However, it gradually changed to a reflection between her family and herself when the film uncover the truths. It helped a lot in improving their relationship too.

4. How can we choose between the ethical dilemma of keep rolling or stop rolling when we touch the privacy of people being filmed?

Jill and Chan held distinct views on this dilemma. Jill thought that camera should hold no subjective point of view but simply recording everything. One have to  decide whether they should be kept when editing. Whereas, Chan would rather make decision at the moment of filming. Whenever it crosses Chan’s boundary, she will choose not to film and not to include those truths into clips.

5. How is truth exist in documentary?

Chan stated that she has asked herself before as well: it that really enough for director to simply take her camera and film? Every time of rolling, movement is actually all violent and subjective. It is unavoidable for filmmakers to interrupt and influence the “truth” afterwards. Documentaries are not scripted, perhaps sometimes we need to throw away the logic of filming, follow the moment when the reality keeps changing when filming.

6. When would we know we finish filming a documentary?

Regarding Heatroom, Chan confessed that the question is full of unknowns, as the reality of the future has not yet happened. She thought of finishing her filming in 2018, but the society changed wildly in 2019, and the epidemic came in 2020. Therefore, footages simply accumulated. On the other hand, maybe the moment will come when filmmaker is tired, when the desire of creation is satisfied. As reality always move onwards, and our work can always be better. Yet, life combines with many other parts expect filming. Should we really prioritise filming as top one in our life would also be the question Chan keeps asking herself.

Jill’s documentary Lost Course, which is the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival – Best Documentary, spent eight years in filming. She planned to finish filming when all the press left and lives backed to normal. The moment came almost like an instinct: it might come before another life cycle start, it might come when we want to prove our thought by filming a bit longer of time. 



1. 關於《32+4》當中的凝視和拼貼處理,為何會如此安排?


2. 在拍攝《熱室 Heatroom》時,導演有思考過生存的意義嗎?生活條件是如此的惡劣,板間房的人是為甚麼繼續生存著?


3. 拍攝紀錄片,其實是反映事實、滿足觀眾,抑或是滿足自己?


4. 在遇到那些作為影像人應該繼續roll機,作為普通人卻應該保留被拍攝者私隱這些道德難題是,要如何選擇?

兩位導演就給出截然不同的看法:《迷航 》的導演Jill覺得,應該不帶主觀視覺地全部都一一紀錄。這些抉擇時刻,留待剪接時決定。但阿真的做法,就偏向是拍攝的當下就做決定,若覺得過了內心條界線時,盡量堅持不拍,直接不把這些真實的部分變成製作素材。

5. 真實如何存在於紀錄片之中?



對照《熱室 Heatroom》,阿真覺得這個問題帶著很大的未知,因為未來的現實仍未發生。想著會在2018年完結,2019年大環境發生劇烈變化,2020年有迎來疫情,所以素材便一直、一直地增加下去。或者換一個說法,就是當拍攝者感到疲倦,當創作的慾望已經抵達,就是完結之時。因為現實永遠會遞進,而自己的作品永遠可以再好。可是,生活除了創作,還有很多其他的部分,是否真的應該把拍片放得那麼大,也是阿真持續的反思的問題。