Netflix’s Hong Kong Human Rights Film Considered for Oscar

A documentary film featuring Hong Kong student activist Joshua Wong Chi-fung, which was released by Netflix, has aroused widespread international attention. (Image:  thierry ehrmann via  flickr  CC BY 2.0 )
A documentary film featuring Hong Kong student activist Joshua Wong Chi-fung, which was released by Netflix, has aroused widespread international attention. (Image: thierry ehrmann via flickr CC BY 2.0 )

A documentary film featuring Hong Kong student activist Joshua Wong Chi-fung, which was released by Netflix, has aroused widespread international attention. Winner of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival’s World Cinema Audience Award: Documentary, Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower will also vie to be nominated for the 2018 Academy Award for Best Documentary.

Directed by Joe Piscatella, the film features the formative experiences of a 15-year-old student activist. At this young age, Joshua instigated the inception of advocacy group scholarism, which aims to combat Hong Kong’s ‘national education’ program that is designed to reeducate the population according to the mainland’s agenda.

The film also looks at Joshua’s participation in the Occupy Central protests that led up to the storming of Hong Kong’s  government headquarters in 2014.

Joshua Wong Speaking at gathering in Hong Kong, 2012.(Photo Credit: Iris Tong [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

Joshua speaking at a protest in Hong Kong in 2012. (Image: wikimedia / CC0 1.0)

Suitable for the international stage, the documentary informs viewers about Hong Kong’s political struggle for sovereignty. In this way, it is an important film, as many people throughout the world have never heard of the “one country, two systems” decree or the transfer of sovereignty back to China.

In August, Wong was sentenced to six months jail time for his actions. He was recently released on bail, but his travel documents were confiscated.

The film was debuted in January of this year at the largest independent film festival in the U.S., the Sundance Film Festival. After winning the World Cinema Audience Award: Documentary, Netflix acquired the rights to the film.

Wong believes the future of Hong Kong should be decided by Hong Kong. (Image via MovieTrailersHD Screenshot/YouTube)

Joshua believes the future of Hong Kong should be decided by Hong Kong. (Image: YouTube/Screenshot)

With the help of hollywood star and civil rights activist Richard Gere, the film was screened by members of the Oscar nomination committee in New York in October via videoconference with Joshua, who received a standing ovation.

Joshua shared his experiences in jail during the videoconference. He said that his time in incarceration did not kill his spirit, and in fact has made him more determined to fight for democracy. To this young man:

The documentary also outlines the plight of a young man named Nathan Law Kwun-Chung, who had become the youngest legislator in Hong Kong. He was disqualified in July and then sentenced to jail in August. Joshua hopes that through this documentary, the international community will become aware of Hong Kong’s youth’s fight for democracy and freedom.

Joshua speaking at a protest in Victoria Park in 2013. (Image: Pacific Chillino via flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)

Joshua speaking at a protest in Victoria Park in 2013. (Image: Pacific Chillino via flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)

Echoing Mahatma Gandhi’s famous words, Joshua said:

Watch the official trailer of the film Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower:

Translated by Chau BC.

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