Text Box: Pascale Mussard spoke to FringeBacker in Hong KongHats off to Pascale Mussard for her astoundingly impressive creativity -- or should we say re-creativity -- Hermès' Petit h. Mussard, the great-great-great-granddaughter of Hermès founder Thierry Hermès, and its director, explained her creative genesis to FringeBacker's marketing director Vivien Chan when they met in Hong Kong this week, "At a young age, I was intrigued by a special gift from my great uncle Robert Dumas-Hermès. He gave me a stone from the beach which was polished and delicately placed in an orange box. I was so proud of it and even though I had so many things, this meant a lot to me. Since then I was inspired with creating unusual objects, and reinventing them to a different form.”

Mussard has set for herself a challenge -- to merge the inspired creativity that was nurtured by her own childhood upbringing up in Paris, with unbounded imagination about how we should live our lifestyles. As she spoke, she was reminiscent: “Since I was young, I have been going to the Hermès workshop at Faubourg Saint-Honoré every day after school, I would play with the little pieces leftover by the craftsman and use them to make play things”.

Mussard's adorable baby Petit h (what she calls her atelier de re-création) is the exhibition of her artistic mission to evangelise the Hermès magic, where her creativity in her mind meets excellence in French craftsmanship -- topped off with her wonderful tendency to surprise and make us smile.  To bring this about, this warm and gentle lady set off on a brilliant adventure to re-create and upcycle amazingly beautiful materials that otherwise would be discarded, turning them into functional works of art in a multitude of ways that are totally unexpected -- this is the essence of Mussard’s (grand) Petit h. 

And, what's more, each piece is unique. “Many pieces were inspired by items owned by my family", Mussard said, showing a triangular-shaped pouch made of silk scarf, "like this whimsically-shaped little bag pouch which is something that my grandmother used to have, and I begged her to give it to me but she refused.”

Although perhaps whimsical, Petit h – little h -- is not your typical baby sister. In fact, Mussard's Petit h is the precocious younger sibling who is re-shaping "Grand H" – Hermès..... and in a grand way, as well as re-directing the way that Hermès thinks about its own direction. Because Petit h is about upcycling, the small name given to the grand mission of breathing a second life into otherwise unused and discarded scraps and materials.

For instance, leather trimmings falling off from the cutting table of a craftsman, crocodile skin with irregular scales or uneven dye, air bubbles on the stem of a crystal glass, a tiny mark on a silk scarf -- all of these things are normally rejected by Hermès. Chipped porcelain, irregular horse hair, towelling remnants, marked buckles -- what Hermès would otherwise have discarded end up being the materials that are a treasure trove for Mussard and her team of Petit h designers, breathing new life into them.

At Petit h's workshop, Mussard and her artists let their imaginations rove wild in their (work!) playground.  Quietly located down the street from the main Hermès atelier in Pantin, France, it is at this laboratory of creativity where Mussard and her team of designers run their visions over whatever materials they are left with.

Mussard explained lovingly to FringeBacker the upcycling that she was wearing -- “We also invite artists and designers to collaborate with us -- this reversible cardigan I am wearing today is designed by Gustavo Lins; it is made from Hermès scarf on one side, and Hermès tie material on the other. And the necklace is made from a Cristallerie Saint-Louis wine glass base designed by Gilles Jonemann. I love it!”

We need to help Creative People, they are our Future

FringeBacker“As a network partner of UNESCO's Art in Education Observatory, FringeBacker is an ardent funder of arts, creative and cultural projects -- these projects use our online platform to get funding from the community. I’m sure our creative and talented project owners will be very inspired by what you are doing with Petit h.”

Pascale Mussard agreed: “I can see that it is very difficult for creative people, they have so many ideas but they do not necessarily have the opportunity to make it. We need to help creative people, they are our future.”


As Mussard was talking to FringeBacker -- out on the shop floor at Hermès Galleria Shop in Hong Kong, where the Petit h travelling caravan had only just started its one-month special visit -- an extremely contented lady walked off with an exclusive HK$400,000 (US$51,000) Petit h Kelly set on five crocodile skin feet.  There you go -- Pascale Mussard's creativity and imagination meets no boundaries!






Life is complicated for Tom Hindmarch.

Last month, the second tenor made a great impression with fans in Hong Kong, together with the other 9 members of British a capella champions All the King's Men, during the second leg of their historic FringeBacker-funded Asia Tour -- the first time that Hindmarch's voice is heard in Asia. What some do not know is that Hindmarch is working hard to combine his two lives -- the fifth-year of his degree in medicine at Cambridge and London, while singing on three international concert tours this year (and more to come).

Hindmarch was a choral scholar, a select group of talented singers chosen after a series of auditions, while studying for his medical degree at Cambridge University. After graduating from Cambridge, he continued the clinical stages of his medical degree at King's College London. Despite an academically and physically gruelling schedule of life studying medicine, and doing his hospital work every day, Hindmarch was drawn to All the King's Men. The group was already one of the top UK a cappella groups, by their fusion of fantastic musicianship and quality entertainment, and eventually was awarded third place in the International Championships in New York. It's no easy feat accomplishing a demanding medical degree and, at the same time, finding time for his passion to perform.

While expectantly looking forward to the release of their Asia Tour DVD, FringeBacker got the opportunity to speak with Hindmarch about his experience, where he shared with us his insight into how he manages it all. We've got to say that we're pretty impressed by all the exciting things he has done.

How did your passion for a cappella come about?
Well, my passion for singing began when I was about 15 and started writing my own songs (some of which are scattered across the internet)! I joined our school barbershop group, who were known for their comedic interpretation of songs. When I was 18, I was offered a choral scholarship at Cambridge University and was a member of Sidney Sussex Choir for three years there. After completing the pre-clinical stage of my medical degree, I decided to return to my roots. I had heard about ‘All the King’s Men’ whilst in Cambridge and decided to audition as soon as I arrived at King’s College London. Fortunately I got in! My passion for a cappella really developed within the group, mostly because we have so much fun, both on and off the stage, but also because we get to sing brilliantly crafted arrangements to a variety of fantastic audiences.

What is your most cherished childhood memory?
When I was two, and my father was studying at an unnamed Oxford college, I was caught urinating on the main college green… What can I say? The Oxford/Cambridge rivalry was alive even back then!

Do you wear boxers or briefs?
That would be telling… The answer begins with a ‘b’.

How to you balance studying for a doctor’s degree and pursuing your music passion?
With difficulty! The management team (Josh Darley and Cameron Carr) and Musical Directors (Henry Southern and Hugh Benson) are extremely understanding of my commitments elsewhere, and will work rehearsals around me. When not with AtKM, efficiency is vital so I try to multi-task (often unsuccessfully). For example, I have been known to sing in the shower (haven’t we all????) and like to read on my way to hospital in the morning, so as to keep my knowledge fresh. However, I still have time to play guitar and spend time with friends and family.

Do you practise singing during surgical operations?
Unfortunately, I’m still a little young to be operating, but when we are in theatre, we often have the radio on. Some surgeons even bring in CDs with their own playlists. As you can imagine, these are of variable quality…

If you were a character in House, who would it be?
Firstly, I love House! It’s incredibly addictive and I own pretty much all of the series on DVD. I’m not entirely sure, so I’m going to take the ‘Which House Character Are You?’ quiz……………
(5 minutes pass)
Apparently, I’m Dr. Robert Chase.

How do you keep yourself motivated when times get tough?
Simple. Chocolate.

What advice would you give to aspiring doctors who also want to get a life beyond studying?
Go get it! Medical school is very competitive, and this doesn’t change as you get older. I’ve always passed all my exams, but I’ve never had ambitions to come top of the year, and this has left me free to explore other hobbies. During my university years, I have found time to sing, play sport (mainly football), teach other students, and enjoy debating with friends over tea. At King’s, we very much abide by the philosophy ‘work hard, play hard’.

Tell us something that we shouldn’t know about you.
Hmmmm..... Is it possible to answer this question appropriately… Aren’t things a secret for a reason?.....

What's next for you after All the King’s Men?
Who knows? I’ll have to look at my options when I decide to leave AtKM… All I can really say is that I will keep singing as long as there are audiences that will listen.



We all know what's our favourite film of all time -- but what about the Top 10 greatest independent films of all time?  Which are the bravest, most innovative, and most creative films -- the "ultimate indie lineup" of the best non-studio works ever made?

Empire, Britain's leading authority on the film industry, ranked these experimental films which are made without big budgets and stars, and took into account "the quality of the film, the circumstances behind its production, the achievement of the filmmakers despite monetary and logistical constraints and its influence on subsequent projects".

First, where do we draw the line? -- what is an independent film?  It usually refers a film that is made outside the established film studios, and more likely than not by a little-known director and producer on a shoe-string budget.  It would probably have unconventional plots and characters, and perhaps attract only a limited audience.  While some can be breakthrough films for the directors and actors involved, they may have limited access to cinema screens that reach mass audiences.  However, they often embody groundbreaking topics that appeal to relatively intellectual viewers, and may not have been produced primarily for commercial reasons.

What is not surprising (or what may perhaps be surprising to some) is that the Number One greatest independent film of all time bears an undeniable tribute to the Hong Kong filmmaking industry.  Empire's list of "The 50 Greatest Independent Films" boasts a plethora of now-household names.  So here we go, as the annual celebration of international independent films, the Hong Kong Independent Film Festival 2013 is just three months away, here is the top 10 from Empire's list, FringeBacker's tribute to the Top 10 Greatest Independent Films of all time:

10.  Mean Streets (1973).  Directed by Martin Scorsese

Description: http://www.impawards.com/1973/posters/mean_streets.jpg 

For only his third feature film, Martin Scorsese returned to his tough neighbourhood roots in Little Italy, New York.  While Francis Ford Coppola upgraded Hollywood gangster films into epics about the Mafia and capitalism -- The Godfather and The Godfather Part II -- Scorsese chose to forgo his first love (the priesthood) and reflected upon the other end of the spectrum, the detailed intricacies of everyday life on the streets and reliving his personal memories.  Using documentary-style camera movement, unusual lighting and angles, and a pop-infused soundtrack, Scorsese directed an intimate film of even of the most trivial daily incidents and violence that is commonplace in Little Italy in the lives of Charlie and Johnny Boy -- encounters that Scorsese and screenwriter Mardik Martin lived through when they grew up in Little Italy on the edges of Chinatown.  Mean Streets opened at the New York Film Festival to critical acclaim, had commercial success in New York, and is probably Scorsese's most powerful and most personal film.  Although audiences elsewhere did not show the same level of enthusiasm, the film set the scene for Scorsese's long partnership with Robert De Niro (Johnny Boy) in huge productions to come -- Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The King of Comedy, and Goodfellas.

9.  Sideways (2004).  Directed by Alexander Payne

Description: http://www.impawards.com/2004/posters/sideways_ver2.jpg

 Alexander Payne stunned critics with this arthouse spectacle -- a seemingly simple story of two friends, Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church. with very different personalities who end up with a weekend in wine country.  Considered one of the best character study films ever made, it encompasses comedic and depressing scenes, as well a happy ending.  If this had been produced by a major studio, Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church would not have been cast in more than bit parts, instead of as leads.

8.  The Usual Suspects (1995).  Directed by Bryan Singer

Description: http://gregorymancuso.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Usual-Suspects.jpg 

The ending makes this whole film, one which launched the careers of both Kevin Spacey and Bryan Singer.  Flashbacks and misdirections are used by the director, leading the audience and playing with perceptions and leading the story an outcome, before the shock of the ending that changes all that has gone before.  A filmmaking masterpiece, much of which is credited to its surprising ending.

7.  sex, lies and videotape (1989).  Directed by Steven Soderbergh

Description: http://www.impawards.com/1989/posters/sex_lies_and_videotape_ver1.jpg 

Made two years before Tarantino arrived, the story of sex, lies and videotape is now a film classic, having been written by writer-director Steven Soderbergh, then aged 29, in eight days while on a trip to Los Angeles.  The film, Soderbegh's debut film, was made on a low budget of US$1.8 million, and won the Palme d'or at Cannes, as well as the best actor for then teen idol James Spader, more recently of Boston Legal.  The film marked the first time lead for Andie MacDowell.  It's never boring, and the use of first-person camera drew similarities with what subsequently would be known as internet voyeurism.  sex, lies and videotape generated so much noise that it probably single-handedly saved the troubled Sundance Film Festival.

 6.  Night of the Living Dead (1968).  Directed by George Romero

Description: http://www.impawards.com/1968/posters/night_of_the_living_dead.jpg 

Made for US$100,000, Night of the Living Dead was initially dismissed but after it was re-released one year later in 1968, it attracted favourable attention for touching upon Vietnam-era anxiety.  It grossed US$12 million over the next 10 years, inspiring a series of apocalyptic films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and was the poster film for horror.  It was considered the reason for the revival of zombie films. Although Romero's skills were somewhat lacking and the shoestring budget did not help, the true horror of a zombie takeover was brought home to the audience.

5.  Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979).  Directed by Terry Jones


Description: http://www.impawards.com/1979/posters/life_of_brian_ver2.jpg

Nothing is sacred in this film, an amazing satire on religion, and a hugely funny film, with an appearance by Beatle George Harrison.  Probably the funniest film ever made - with the whole Monty Python crew -- John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin.

4.  Clerks (1994).  Directed by Kevin Smith

Description: http://www.moviegoods.com/Assets/product_images/1010/490857.1010.A.jpg 

Filmed with a budget of only US$27,000, Clerks was a film that Kevin Smith had to borrow money to make.  The film was taken up by Miramax, who saw raw vitality in its dialogue, spirit and humour.  Clerks connected easily with disenchanted youths and ordinary workers.  Kevin Smith did not need to borrow money again for future films.

3.  The Terminator (1984).  Directed by James Cameron

Description: http://www.moviegoods.com/Assets/product_images/1020/265383.1020.A.jpg 

"I'll be baaaack" -- Schwarzenegger.  Need we say more?  Co-writer/director James Cameron made such a reputation for himself that he would never look back, and went on to make Titanic in 1997.  Cameron solidified Arnold Schwarzenegger as a global star, although it was at that time an untried director leading an relatively unknown lead actor, and on a low budget.

2.  Donnie Darko (2001).  Directed by Richard Kelly

Description: http://www.movieposterdb.com/posters/06_04/2001/0246578/l_109645_0246578_282ed518.jpg 

Young 27-year-old writer/director Richard Kelly almost had to release his debut on cable television, having refused to accept co-operation with major studios.  The film went to become a cult hit, and placed Jake Gyllenhaal on the route to much bigger things.  The film reinvented the teen film genre for the 21st century, and could not have hurt Drew Barrymore, Patrick Swayze and others. 

1.  Reservoir Dogs (1992).  Directed by Quentin Tarantino

Description: http://nickcernak.com/hangar18/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/rd-scan-w1.jpeg 

Undoubtedly, Reservoir Dogs launched Quentin Tarantino overnight from an unknown and unproduced screenwriter and part-time actor into probably the one most influential new filmmaker of the decade.  The script was written part-time in two weeks by Tarantino.  It was not a huge commercial success although it was critically acclaimed.  It incorporates many themes that have now become hallmarks of Tarantino films -- violent crime, pop culture, profuse profanity, and a nonlinear storyline that jumps all over.  The tribute to Hong Kong films is shown through significant elements that were inspired by Ringo Lam's 1987 film City on Fire, featuring Chow Yun-fat.  Chow was included by Tarantino in the dedication credits. 

Reservoir Dogs' effect on indie films has been unmatched -- Empire concludes that: "If it wasn't for Dogs, Hong Kong action cinema would still be a lot more marginal than it is today".  And film expert Damon Wise, writing in The Observer, credits Hong Kong director John Woo: "Through Woo, cinemagoers began to understand the genealogy  of Harvey Keitel's two-handed gunplay in Reservoir Dogs (a film believed to have been based on City on Fire by Woo's Hong Kong compadre Ringo Lam)."   Whether you like the acting or not, or the characters' colour names (a la The Taking of Pelham One Two Three), whether you like not seeing the heist or not, whether you like Hong Kong style elements or not -- as Empire suggests, "Love or hate it, Reservoir Dogs is greatest independent movie ever made." 

There is no fantasy marketing or big budget for independent films -- what we see is what we get.  It's filmmaking at its most creative.  Expectations are therefore high for the upcoming celebration of independent filmmaking at the Hong Kong Independent Film Festival 2013.  What we can be sure about is this -- the creativity and imagination of some of these filmmakers will undoubtedly end up taking your breath away.





All the King’s Men's whirlwind tour of Hong Kong has not only left a lasting impression with Hong Kongers, but has also secured massive coverage in the press, some of which include: on television on TVB Evening News, in print newspapers including Sing Pao Daily, Ta Kung Pao, Hong Kong Commercial Daily, and on radio on RTHK Radio 2. Their fund raising project on FringeBacker has received huge response, and already has achieved more than half of their funding goal within two weeks after their tour.

TVB Television Evening News September 3, 2012



Sing Pao Daily September 4, 2012

Britain's All-Male A Capella Group Performs in Public in Hong Kong, with Fundraising Aspirations


Hong Kong Commercial Daily September 4, 2012                        


RTHK Radio 2. September 4, 2012

FringeBacker Brings Creativity to Life; Britain's A Capella Group All the King's Men Completes Asia Tour Aspirations


Ta Kung Pao September 4, 2012

Britain’s A Cappella group shows up in Hong Kong's busy streets




One of the most important elements of your project on FringeBacker is making a good video. It is the first impression that you are giving your potential backers so it is important to tell your story. A compelling story shows off your passion and your project, and is able to inspire or to be relevant where the crowd can relate to.

How you choose to express your story through your video is entirely up to you. Some may use a simple PowerPoint to explain, some would film it themselves or ask a friend to help, some would even add animations, or others would use tools and a mime act to express it.

The quality of video can vary according to your capability-- the quality, the camera and the lighting are all just part of your video tools. Even an iPhone video works for some people. But of course, if your video is compelling, creative or cool, it will be even better!

Remember these few pointers:

-          Tell your project story, keep it real and compelling

-          Tell people why you need their support

-          What unique rewards people will be getting if they support you

-          Show your appreciation, and sound positive

Lastly, believe in your story. Believe in yourself.