A film about a Hong Kong bodybuilder who was born female but now identifies as genderqueer has netted a team of JMSC students the top award in a local documentary competition.
The documentary, titled ‘Siu Fung’, won the Grand Award in local Hong Kong broadcaster TVB’s third annual Inter-Collegiate Documentary Competition, ahead of entries by teams from eight other local universities.
Siu Fung—the subject of the documentary and a HKU graduate—now identifies himself as genderqueer rather than a transgender man, believing that gender is a fluid concept and not binary.
Siu decided to use bodybuilding to change his physique instead of undergoing surgery, but has faced discrimination when using female changing rooms. The documentary looks at how Siu handles social stigma and deals with his family, who have not accepted his gender.
‘The concept of gender fluidity is poorly recognised in Hong Kong despite all the recent discussion about LGBT rights,’ said team member Gene Lin. ‘I hope that this film can add new dimensions to the discussion about gender equality in Hong Kong.’
After extensive deliberation the team settled on the topic in mid-March and started filming in April, with post-production taking around three weeks.
Second-year Bachelor of Journalism student Lexie Ma Xiao Chi said that Siu Fung’s story had inspired the team ‘who wished to further the impact of such courageous and admirable self expression’. ‘It extends beyond the scope of gender awareness, to that of the underlying individuality and humanity residing within us all,’ she said.
The HKU team was made up of Bachelor of Journalism students Natalie Lung Fuk Yu (BJ2), Tom Tsui Kai Hang (BJ2), Gene Lin Jing (BJ2), Eric Cheung Wai Chun (BJ2) and Lexie Ma Xiao Chi (BJ2), Bachelor of Arts student Mary Hsiao Chu An (BA2), Bachelor of Social Sciences students Theodora Yu (BSocSc4) and Vivian Jenny Lin (BSocSc2), and Bachelor of Business Administration student Bobby Chan Chiu Chun (BBA4). Supervisor for the project was Kevin Lau.
The results of the competition were announced in a ceremony at the Kowloon Shangri La on 17 August but the win came as a surprise to the HKU team as it was the first time they had produced a documentary and participated in a video competition.
‘Most of us did not plan to go to the TVB awards ceremony, because we were either out of town or busy with internships,’ said another team member Natalie Lung Fuk Yu. ‘TVB called me and asked us to send representatives to the ceremony.’
The judging panel—made up of local media and broadcasting figures such as columnist Michael Chugani and CW Yuen, Controller, News & Information Services Division, TVB—described the content of the film as ‘daring’ and ‘educational’, saying that it represented ‘a sensitive topic presented well’.
TVB was founded in 1967 as the first wireless commercial television station in Hong Kong, and continues to be one of the two free-to-air terrestrial television broadcasters in the city today.
The winning documentary and team interviews will be aired on TVB Jade on 3 September at 5.30 p.m.