The District Councillor

简体中文Hong Kong2008 / 47min / DV
Director:CHAN Wai-yee

“Without fire burning inside your heart, you won’t take such a job,” said YIN Zhao-jian, who suddenly said so while busy preparing for his election campaign.

Year 2003 is a rather turbulent period for Hong Kong – the economy was in recession, the government constantly implemented futile policies, SARS outbreak and, on July 1st, 500,000 people went on strike opposing the adoption of Article 23 of the Basic Law and demanding the resignation of their Chief Executive TUNG Chee-hwa. It was against this political atmosphere that YIN Zhao-jian gave up his social worker job, a 10-year long and steady career, and joined the political circle and participated in the district councilor election, which he had no idea about.

After being elected as a district councilor, he participated in the year 2004 Legislative Council Election. He was aware that he was not so well-known, and therefore, there was only a slim chance of him winning the election. He knew that Hong Kong people were generally not so enthusiastic about elections and he understood that the social trend could not be changed with the effort from only one councilor. Although all this made him feel frustrated, he still had the fire burning inside his heart and he felt that someone had to stand up and overlook the transitional period for democracy in Hong Kong.

However, he failed in the election and he was still a district councilor. The new Legislative Council Election for 2008 is just around the corner. Will he give another try? Is the fire within his heart still burning? Will the reality four years later again crush the dream 4 years ago?



Director: CHAN Wai-yee

She is currently studying Comparative Literature and Sociology at the University of Hong Kong. At the age of 17, she made a documentary “Gay or Not” which is about homosexuality in a high school. The film won International Young Film Makers Award at Up-and-Coming International Film Festival Hannover and Honorable Mention at Bangkok International Film Festival. It was selected by more than 10 international film festivals, including the 2004 Taipei Film Festival and Hong Kong International Film Festival.


From the Director

The reason why I decided to make this film is not that I was a particular fan of a certain party or political idea. What I’m more concerned about is why a person gave up his 10-year  steady career and devoted himself to the political circle, which is full of unknown.

Therefore, the focus of the film is neither the “right or wrong” of the political parties, nor that of the political figures. Rather, it is about the changes of a person within 4 years – if he is still pursuing his dream colliding with difficulties in reality.

Why did I choose such a theme? Because I’m a college student who will soon graduate, and because I’m a young man who should be full of dreams, yet is now full of doubts about dreams.

My friends and I often talk about our future plans. When they choose their majors or a career path, all they have in mind is “how much money they can make out of this.” What about ideal? What about dream? Who cares. How wrong can it be to make lots of money.

With such pressure from my peers, although I know I like film-making, I couldn’t help wondering whether it is too unrealistic to take it as a career. To my great surprise, when I was making this document and trying to figure out the process YIN Zhao-jian had undergone between his dreams and reality, I found the answer to my own question.



Film Festival

※The 2nd Vancouver New Asia Film Festival, 2009

※Chinese Documentary Festival 2009 (recommendation)
※CNEX Documentary Film Festival 2008 

※Hong Kong Asian Independent Film Festival 2008