Andy Lau recently had an exclusive interview with Nanfang Daily.
Nanfang Daily (N): We're still puzzled on how you came about Focus First Cut?
Andy Lau (A): Coming up with this project is that I feel that movies had entered a downturn during that period, there're many new directors whom could not get a chance to enter the market to be known by the audience, in order for film investors to have confidence in them, many background crew members could not start work. While I still have the ability, thus I try to start such a project. Many people within the industry should have laughed at me, exclaimed that a silly person investing without thinking .... as a real businessman, he would not do such a business like mine which is not earning money, no guarantee, a business that one cannot see any future in it, I deserve to be laughed by others. I also didn't plan to make any money from this project, the company had caculated that I would not lose a lot of money in this project thus I decided to go ahead. It's the same as Jet Li's "One Foundation", everyone came out with a dollar, very fast it would reached 100 million, 100 billion. For Focus First Cut, I took out a dollar, for other people to see it, get interested, will continue to follow me, you took out a dollar, he also took out a dollar, the movie industry can be saved.
N: How you looked at the effects that Focus First Cuts project had done to the Chinese film industry? What does that name "Andy Lau" do anything?
A: Focus First Cuts had a huge effect in the Chinese film industry, it's not now but 10 years later, everyone would have a definition that I produced an effect, or this batch of new directors opened the doors of movies. I only knew that after me, many people started to invest in such new directors projects, many boss will not reject new directors. One movie company's boss once told me that he had actually read Ning Hao's script but he don't understand why his staff didn't like it and missed out, he told me that he scolded his staff for that.
N: From an actor to an investor, what changes made to your mentality? Which role suits you better?
A: From an actor to an investor, my mentality had not changed, I still used the same words and spirit when working: "I love movies." I'm more suitable to be an actor, because I've been an actor for more than 20 years. As a boss, I feel that I'm still not experience, I'm not ruthless enough, still not sure how business works, haha.
N: Why you always stress that Focus First Cut films are not boring, not in the direction of artistic films just similar to drama?
A: I stressed to the new directors, I hope that every one being a new director, first and second film would be commercialise films, or films that the audience will like. But they did they listen to me? Did they understand the meaning behind these words? This I'm not so sure, I think the only one whom understand and digest it is only Ning Hao.
I'm not sure who's the one who categorise movies as commerialise and artistic. I only know that they are movies that are nice to watch and not nice to watch. Many new directors does not like the word commericalise, actually it represent "the audiece like to watch". To buy a ticket into the cinema, it's not just a few person, it's thousands of audience.
N: So what would you advise to those new directors whom wishes for people to inest in them?
A: Should borrow what Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill had said: "No wisdom is new wisdom", I'm not sure of the direct Chinese translation of this phrase. For the new directors, they should learn from those whom started in front of them, doing something new, thus the "old" can be reborn. This is what I've to say, better think about what Churchill had said, then go and write your own script, it's your movie, good movie will surely be supported by people.
N: So what you wish what the new director repay to you?
A: I really never think about it, if I want them to repay me, give me in a few good movies, it would delight me and the audience, maybe if they have a good script, they could cast me in them, I'll be delighted.
N: Details of the second Focus First Cut had not been revealed, is it facing any problems?
A: When I started the first Focus First Cut, I never plan to have a second. At the beginning of 2007, all the movies of Focus First Cut had been screened, there's still some post works need to be done, like helping these movies to be sold to other and overseas market, we're never rushing for the second Focus First Cut. Many people are starting similar projects, if I'm not doing, other people would be taking over me, thus there's no rush. I'm very busy recently, after The Warlords I'm going to become Zhao Zilong, followed by concert tours, thus take it slowly. Currently my company had been collecting new directors, many new scripts coming in, people are reading them and choosing them, similar to the last time, when we're more or less prepared, we will start the second Focus First Cut. Maybe next time I don't invest in movies, let's have one music Focus First Cut, that will do too.
N: With your win of Chinese Film Media Awards' "100 Media Respect Award" and "Year's Outstanding Film-maker award, this is after last year's Pusan Film Festival's Year's Outstanding Film-maker award, your identity is recognised for the second time, how you feel about that?
A: Many thanks to Nanfang Daily for giving me this award. The year's Outstanding Film-maker, I really don't dare to take it, I also not sure what to say. I could not collect the award due to work committments, hope all of you don't mind, this award should not only be my own, it should belongs to everyone in the background and those whom had contributed in Focus First Cuts.
In addition, I also wanted to seize the chance to thanks the media for their long support for Focus First Cuts, without you reporting on the project, without your applause and encouragement, Focus First Cut would not be this successful, for every praise, support had nurture this batch of new directors. Hereby I represent the new directors in Focus First Cuts to express their thanks and hope all of you to continue support the old and newbies in the movie industry to allow us to have more spirit and strength into new challenges.
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