Specials
Report on Shemaroo

Oscar-winning Moonlight producer shares his journey

HONG KONG: Fresh from a successful Hollywood awards season, film producer Andrew Hevia led the popular “Sharing by Andrew Hevia, Co-producer of Oscar-winning Best Picture “Moonlight”” session held on 14 March at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The discussion was moderated by Maurice Lee, Partner, Maurice WM Lee Solicitors. The seminar was part of the HKTDC International Film & TV Market (FILMART) (13-16 March), which is organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC).

Andrew Hevia, Co-producer of Oscar-winning Best Picture “Moonlight,” used the seminar platform to share how his journey of independent filmmaking in Miami, United States, led to the Academy Awards stage. Using various trailer examples of indie movies that he loves, and often helped create, Mr Hevia explored the theme of specificity and identity in filmmaking. The up-close dialogue explored how his professional journey of micro-budget community filmmaking and the local networks he created in Miami impacted and led to the creation of the Oscar-winning production Moonlight. Having previously resided in Hong Kong, Hevia shared his special connection to the city and discussed how his approach to filmmaking can apply to Hong Kong creators seeking to tell local stories.

Miami Beginnings

As a proud resident of Miami with Cuban origins, Andrew Hevia has strived to create and share a film telling the “Miami story from a Miami perspective for a Miami audience.” This passion for authenticity and localised storytelling led to the creation of the “Borscht Film Festival.” Featuring film pieces specific to neighbourhoods throughout Miami, not “just the beaches we are all familiar with”, the event encouraged residents to tell stories important themselves and their niche using minimal budgets. Through this passion project, he “learned how to make movies cheaply and quickly” and shared that micro-budget films are basically “inviting your friends to work with you and make something you like.” Through persistence driven by creative hunger, the Borscht Film Festival led to greater community support and the eventual sharing of his projects across multiple film festivals. It was during his times in the Miami film community he initially met eventual screenwriter and director of Moonlight Barry Jenkins.

Creative Solutions

Introducing several key takeaways from his professional journey, Hevia explored the advantages of micro-budget filmmaking. He stated that “it can be better to have no money than some money” because with “some money it is a job that doesn’t pay well but if you have no money it is not job. With no money you have fun.” He further explained that with limited to no funding you have to get creative to achieve your end result and those results are “personal, original and not expensive.” Continuing on, he said “it’s easy to make things look like you spent money; it’s hard to make them good.”

The Power of Specificity

The core theme of Hevia’s presentation was the power and importance of specificity in filmmaking. He highlighted the importance of his experiences “focusing on Miami” because it allowed him and the creators he worked with to “explore the stories we knew that no one else knew” which made them personal and unique. He said that “we wanted to show you where we lived, who we were and how we lived.” In reference to the eventual success of both the Borscht Film Festival and Moonlight, he stated that “a limited audience is actually a specific audience, and that is an asset” compared to the standard universal movie approach which creates a movie that appeals to everyone but “universal is bland” in his opinion. He suggested that if you can make a specific movie accessible by “taking what you know and making other people appreciate it, you have done something good.”

Bringing “Art-house to the Hood”

Hevia detailed how a personal phone call and invitation from Jenkins led to him joining the Moonlight production. He explained that Moonlight was a hard movie to make because it did not fit the traditional ideals of what a successful movie is – “it had no movie stars, there were no white actors, it was an experimental narrative and it had no international appeal.” But from Hevia’s perspective, “the reasons why people don’t want to fund your movie are probably the reasons you need to make it.” Moonlight was successful because it was “about and for a specific audience, it was told in an unexpected way, it paid attention to craft over spectacle and that it was about ideas.” He said that “identity is specific” and Moonlight is an identity film about “someone growing up poor, black and gay.” He explained that “identity is how people see themselves, and if you show people themselves they will reward you with passion” which leads to success because “when people are passionate about your work, your work will spread.”

Stories for Hong Kong

To conclude to the sharing session, Hevia focused on how specificity and identity in filmmaking can apply to Hong Kong. Reflecting on his experience residing in city, he said “one thing about Miami that I recognised when I came to Hong Kong was that Miami is a place nobody lives in; everyone is temporarily there, they are from somewhere else.” This issue was a originally a key inspiration for starting his local film festival to tell Miami stories as a way to express identity and how Miami relates to residents’ identities. He went on to say that

“I think Hong Kong in a similar way has some of those same issues” and that creates an opportunity to “start talking about what it means to be here, to be from here, what is it like live here.” In reference to Hong Kong’s position juxtaposed with the Chinese mainland, he compared the situation to Miami against New York and Los Angeles and encouraged filmmakers to “do Hong Kong” and focus on the specific stories and identities of the city like he did with Miami.

Hevia is currently developing a Hong Kong-based mystery thriller with local commercial director Joshua Wong. “Dark Room” will be an English-language film with a focus on authentic Hong Kong aesthetics inspired by his time living in the city in 2015 as Fulbright scholar.

Latest Reads

https://ntawards.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/03/17/david_beckham.jpg?itok=1KbuPdU6
David Beckham to talk Studio 99 during Digital MipTV keynote

Paris: Global sporting icon and legendary football player David Beckham will be the keynote speaker at the 58th edition of the Cannes TV market Digital MipTV. The event is all set to begin on 12 April and will be a virtual affair for the second consecutive year. The 2020 edition was also forced to...

Specials Event Coverage Miptv
https://ntawards.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/03/13/img_13032021_113144_800_x_800_pixel.jpg?itok=bq1ddtk5
MIP Cancun sets date for physical event in November 2021

PARIS: Reed Midem has confirmed that MIP Cancun, the leading international content market and conference for Latin American and US Hispanic television, will take place as a physical event in 2021. The eighth edition of the signature one-to-one matchmaking market will take place at the Moon Palace...

Specials Event Coverage Occasions
https://ntawards.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/03/09/ww100.jpg?itok=m83x7lXz
Wonder Women 100: Mindset needs to change first for more inclusion, diversity

Women are increasingly coming out and taking up more challenging roles against all odds. The media, entertainment and advertising industry is no exception. Despite the great strides made over recent years, there are still issues like fewer women leaders in upper management positions and salary gaps...

Specials Event Coverage Occasions
https://ntawards.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/03/08/wonder.jpg?itok=z8diX8OO
The Wonder Women are here: Honouring 100 women leaders from M&E, ad & marketing

MUMBAI: Many a successful organisation in India's media, advertising, marketing and entertainment ecosphere have women leaders in key management and ownership positions. Where once women were assigned jobs related to programming or ad sales or media – and mostly at the middle management level –...

Specials Event Coverage Occasions
https://ntawards.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/03/08/ww100.jpg?itok=et9bXcf6
International Women's Day: 'Wonder Women 100' list to be unveiled today

Women have made tremendous strides over the years to achieve equal representation in the workplace. Many have broken the glass ceiling and risen to the top despite all odds. This International Women’s Day, Indiantelevision.com will recognise 100 such talented and outstanding women executives and...

Specials Event Coverage Occasions
https://ntawards.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/02/02/budget-21.jpg?itok=5WhZBuHf
Silver lining of #Budget2021: M&E industry hopes for ad spend growth

KOLKATA: Tax reliefs, lower customs duty, input tax credits, better scope for foreign direct investment (FDI) were among the many hopes that the media and entertainment industry had pegged on a budget “like never before.” But the pandemic-hit industry has not received any specific supportive...

Specials Forecast
https://ntawards.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/01/25/stream.jpg?itok=7fe0xmlZ
Vidnet 2021: On innovation & creating disruptive content on OTTs

The rise of streaming platforms like Netflix, Disney+ Hotstar, Amazon Prime Video, Voot, Zee5, MXPlayer and ALT Balaji has allowed Indians to watch diverse content from around the globe along with experiencing new genres.

Specials Event Coverage VidNet
https://ntawards.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/01/19/pg.jpg?itok=LTqNyJQ5
#Forecast2021: Rural consumption to rule the roost, says Parle’s Krishnarao Buddha

In 2020, marketers learnt to grapple with unforeseen challenges elicited by the lockdown, and they are prepared to handle such circumstances, incase of another such instance in the future (hopefully not).

Specials Forecast
https://ntawards.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/01/19/dth.jpg?itok=O1UHQ7UO
#Forecast2021: Positivity returns slowly for cable, DTH operators

Waking up to a new pricing regime, followed by an unprecedented pandemic, natural disasters, and tensions with China, 2020 turned out to be a gloomy year for the cable TV distribution industry.

Specials Forecast

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories

* indicates required