Famous HK director’s son shoots documentary on maids

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Tessie served the Cheung family in Hong Kong for 23 years. Photo: Justin Cheung

Justin Cheung Ko-ming, eldest son of famous Hong Kong director Alfred Cheung Kin-ting, and six former fellow film students recently made a documentary movie about Hong Kong’s domestic workers, who make up one of the most vulnerable communities in the city.

Justin Cheung was quoted as saying in an Apple Daily report that he had planned this movie, titled Ya Ya, which means “caretaker” in Tagalog, for a long time as he wanted to make a tribute to his family’s Filipino maid, Tessie, who has faithfully served the family for 23 years.

Hong Kong’s domestic workers are hard-working but are not cared for or respected by the local people, he said. They also cannot stay with their own children but have to take care of other people’s kids, he said.

The 45-minute movie’s production cost was HK$150,000 (US$19,200), which Cheung raised through crowd-funding over the Internet.

Cheung graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts last year, where he had spent four years studying film and television production.

He was praised by his father for having chosen the right topic, which could extend to Hong Kong’s economic changes and cultural development. Alfred Cheung also said the movie could be financially sustainable if some online broadcasters are interested in buying its copyrights.

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