A film featuring a group of underprivileged children in Guangzhou vying to be the world’s rope jumping champions and world record holders premiered at the Hong Kong Space Museum on Saturday to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the motherland.
Starry Road is based on the real-life story of 33 children from poor families learning rope jumping at a rural primary school in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province. After overcoming various obstacles, they went on to become world rope jumping champions, breaking a dozen world records.
The movie is directed by Xie Deju, a senior reporter at the Guangzhou Broadcasting Network. The story first caught the public’s eye when Xie made a three-minute documentary that was later adapted and turned into a movie by the network.
Evonne Shuai, a senior reporter at the Guangzhou Broadcasting Network, said at the premiere that none of the actors and actresses in the film was a professional, but rather they were the Guangzhou children portraying themselves.
Eileen Tsui Li, director general of the Kowloon Federation of Associations, attended the premier and said she was deeply touched by the sincere and natural performance of the young cast. She said she plans to arrange for students from various districts in Kowloon to watch the film together.
Ng Chung-Kin, who is 72 years old, took his grandson Brandon Ng to the premiere. In his view, the film is meaningful and could educate young people on the correct world view, which he said is crucial for the country’s development.
Brandon Ng said he was happy to enjoy the movie with his grandfather, adding that it was moving to see the children breaking the world record.
Nine-year-old Katy Wang, who is a student at Fukien Secondary School Affiliated School, had been looking forward to the movie after watching the trailer. She said the movie exceeded her expectations, adding that she learned the spirit of perseverance and determination from the film.
Starry Road was honored as the best children’s film at the 33rd Golden Rooster Awards in Xiamen, Fujian province, in 2020, and received many international awards as well.
It was the first movie screened during the Cinema Carnival of Lights－an outdoor event organized by Southern Film Co to mark the 25th anniversary of the SAR’s establishment. The event is among more than 500 planned to mark the anniversary.
The screening was supported by Bauhinia Culture Group. Wu Baoan, a member of the culture group’s board, said all the films featured in the Cinema Carnival of Lights have elements related to the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. The film Anita, for example, is about the late Hong Kong Cantopop singer Anita Mui Yimfong, and The Captain is directed by a Hong Kong filmmaker.
More than 20 films will be screened to showcase how Hong Kong changed before as well as after the handover, and the new face of the Chinese mainland will also be highlighted.
Wu said he hopes the films will bring warmth and joy to the people of Hong Kong, with the city getting into a festive mood. The movies will be shown this month at various venues across the city, including plazas and outdoor parks.