Handmade designer upcycling seems to be the latest designer trend. First, it was Hermes’ hugely successful travelling caravan exhibition in Hong Kong with over 2,000 one-of-a-kind pieces, made from discarded scraps of exotic leather and luxurious fabric from its atelier, snapped up within a month at astonishingly high prices. Now, Hong Kong’s very own talented upcycling designer of handmade goods, Agnes Nong, successfully achieves her financial support target through FringeBacker for her “Memories Factory”upcycling project. In fact, she has exceeded her financial target on FringeBacker, ....and with some to spare!

Next to come will be Agnes Nong's personal exhibition of her handmade upcycling designs. Watch out for news of this!

As a supporter of handmade designer upcycling, a process of using discarded materials and transforming them into unique, one-of-a-kind pieces, Agnes met with Pascal Mussard, the great-great-great granddaughter of Hermes founder, during Mussard's stay in Hong Kong to talk about what quality means for a designer.  Regardless of it being a hundred-year-old brand or a young designer, the critical factor for coming up with quality work is in the attention to detail.  A designer has to put in love and care, instilling value and quality when making or designing an item, and to ensure that the item is even more valuable 25 years later.

To this, Agnes’ “Memories Factory” has lived up to its values. Her project has now been successfully funded on FringeBacker through great support from the public. Agnes will be preserving memories in two ways -- first, she will design her own special items for her supporters; secondly, she will custom-upcycle and re-design old pieces from other supporters, breathing new life into each of them.


During her project campaign on FringeBacker, Agnes reached out to people in her circle of life, her family, friends, schoolmates and designer colleagues, getting them excited about her project and getting support from them. Agnes has become a hot topic for the press, with widespread media interviews from Tao magazine, Hong Kong Economic Times, Sudden Weekly, Weekend Weekly and U Magazine, to name a few, spiraling her supporters to even higher levels.  We're so delighted that crowdfunding on FringeBacker has given Agnes an all new opportunity to pre-sell her creative work in a way that otherwise was all too difficult for designers. She was able to connect with a vast online community and to showcase her work through FringeBacker.  Traditionally, the public got to meet Agnes only through designers’ marts or exhibitions, and they were no different from any other consumers. But Agnes’project on FringeBacker allowed supporters to participate in her creative process and be a part of it. This vicarious experience has excited the online crowd, giving them a unique experience to not just buy things online, but to be the first to do so for something that has yet to be made and then see it come to life.

Congrats to Agnes and her supporters! Watch this space for updates on her exhibition!



  

After barely recovering from the excitement of meeting up with dozens of boisterous indie bands at the Clockenflap music festival a week ago, and answering their crowdfunding questions, FringeBacker was out in force this past weekend to support our United Nations friends from UNESCO.

All of us at FringeBacker were absolutely thrilled to have been a guest of honour, together with diplomats from 15 consulates and numerous representatives of United Nations organisations, to officiate at UNESCO's Peacemakers' Day opening ceremony.

The ceremony, the first of its kind, took place at the Hong Kong Institute of Education, with over 500 participants in attendance.  As a part of the “UNESCO Peace for All” programme, Peacemakers' Day aims to promote cultural diversity, tolerance, inter-cultural dialogue, mutual understanding and respect for different traditions and customs.

 

FringeBacker joined Professor Patrick S. S. Lau, President of the UNESCO Hong Kong Association, Professor Samuel Leong, Director of the UNESCO Observatory RLCCE and Head of the Department of Cultural and Creative Arts at HKIEd, and diplomats from 15 consulates and numerous representatives of United Nations organisations, in officiating at the Opening Ceremony

 

As a UNESCO network partner at its RLCCE Observatory, FringeBacker has enjoyed being a strong proponent of UNESCO's mission.  Along the way, we've successfully brought U.K. a capella champions All the King's Men from King's College London to Hong Kong, as well as now preparing to help fund young entrepreneurs from the Chinese University of Hong Kong's Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program. Brilliant young designers from the Hong Kong Design Centre and IT developers at Cyberport are also on our list of exciting projects to showcase soon.  Innovative young filmmakers, Hong Kong's gold-medal athletes, our exclusive interview with Hermes' creative director Pascal Mussard......the list goes on and on.

 

FringeBacker and other guests of honour

Nothing brings a smile to our faces here at FringeBacker more than helping creative and innovative people to showcase their great work for everyone to share and enjoy.  And full credit to the tremendous work done by President Lau, Director Leong, and everyone else at UNESCO in Hong Kong!



  

FringeBacker has always been a huge supporter of talented and creative minds, and we're seeing a great deal of interest in submissions to our online crowdfunding platform by musicians and other creative people who want to connect with others who share their vision and passion. And of course, FringeBacker didn't miss the chance to share our passion for music with so many indie artists and bands at Clockenflap over the past weekend. 

The hottest pick of the day – Primal Scream

Amateur musicians spotted!

 

Thousands of music-lovers, hipsters and even toddlers headed down to the West Kowloon waterfront promenade this past weekend to celebrate Hong Kong’s biggest indie music and arts festival – Clockenflap 2012. Although the sun didn’t show up and the temperature dipped to almost 15 degrees Celsius over the two days, the crowds kept warm by wrapping themselves up in the awesome waves of music, dancing and drinking.

 

Music is the focus of the day

Shall we dance?

 

Two days, seven stages, over 70 Hong Kong and international bands, artists and filmmakers, Clockenflap is the first ever indie music and arts festival of this scale in Hong Kong. The spectacular lineup included exciting performance by Primal Scream and Alt-J from the UK, De La Soul from USA, and, not to mention the astonishing performance by Hong Kong’s Jun Kung. What’s more, Clockenflap brought an early Christmas gift for all music-lovers, both the artists and festival-goers, for the opportunities provided for showcasing their efforts and support for indie music in Hong Kong.

But what lies ahead for these talented indie artists and bands after Clockenflap? In Hong Kong, as elsewhere, so much of the talent of indie artists and bands remains undiscovered.

  

Luke Sital-Singh (UK) at Timeout Stage

Let's sing out LOUD!

Are you ready for Jun Kung?

End of the day, get drunk and say HEY!

 

Well, FringeBacker now comes bearing an ‘alternative’ Christmas gift for indie musicians!  With our online platform, indie musicians, artists, filmmakers and many others can now bring their projects to life by connecting with their fans. In the US, music projects are the most successful ones among all crowdfunders, comprising 29% of the total number of successfully funded projects.

So, let's continue to hear from you!  Crowdfund your musical talent, and showcase your passion to your fans!




We couldn't have been more excited about our presentation earlier today to 140 innovative entrepreneurs at The Chinese University of Hong Kong's Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program about how to use FringeBacker's crowdfunding platform.  Thanks so much to CUEMP for having invited FringeBacker to offer crowdfunding services to 110 mentees from 36 entrepreneurial teams!  And nothing was warmer than the welcome we got from the Program's director Mingles Tsoi, as well as from the mentees and 30 mentors.  So many mentors and mentees came up to us after the presentation to tell us how they have great projects that they'd love to submit to FringeBacker for consideration, and how they've waited so long for this kind of crowdfunding platform to be available in Hong Kong for a bilingual audience in English and Chinese -- we're thrilled too, and we'll update you as their projects come online in due course.

FringeBacker's partnership with CUEMP offers the 36 entrepreneurial teams of 110 mentees the opportunity to showcase their business projects on FringeBacker for crowdfunding and to bring their plans to reality.

This year CUEMP has invited 30 of CUEMP's illustrious alumni and successful entrepreneurs to be mentors for this programme, aimed at providing entrepreneurial guidance to 36 selected teams (110 people) of mentees who have projects either at a conceptual stage, with a full business plan, or with an established business. Each team of mentees will be assigned to a suitable mentor for in-depth guidance and advice, so as to take their project into the next level.

FringeBacker is delighted to have been invited to offer crowdfunding services for the CUEMP, providing an online funding platform for mentees to reach out and directly get support for their businesses from their audience. This will be an innovative opportunity for the mentees to gauge real-time market acceptance of their business plans, to increase market awareness for themselves, and to raise funds to make their project happen.

FringeBacker will host an exclusive section on CUEMP and its mentees' fundraising projects, where mentees' projects will be consolidated and featured together.  We'll update you later as these projects come online for fundraising.



  

FringeBacker and Hong Kong Design Centre – Design Incubation Programme, together with the support of Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks, are excited to bring crowdfunding to designers, and creative and innovative companies.

On November 23, Friday afternoon, we will be talking to this group of talented designers about:

Ÿ      How you can use crowdfunding for your business to raise funds from the public through pre-selling

Ÿ      How crowdfunding gives you instant and direct market feedback on your design

Ÿ      Suceessful crowdfunding case studies in product design

Ÿ      How you can use FringeBacker to start crowdfunding

Seats for this event are strictly limited, by invitation only, to HKDC and HKSTP tenants and incubatees.  Please RSVP to [email protected].

There will be a networking session right after the talk, with drinks and light snacks. We look forward to meeting you and hearing all about your projects in the making!

 



  

It's a big day for UK a capella champions All the King’s Men on FringeBacker. Not only were they chosen as the inaugural fundraising project on FringeBacker, it has exceeded its fundraising target! What an incredible feat for the Men who seem to reign their magic on everything they’ve touched. Needless to say, quality music transcends all boundaries that come in the way of the Men.

  

Loyal Fan Base

So what has attracted fans all over to support All the King’s Men in their relentless pursuit to perform and to give everything their very best King's foot forward? One thing for sure, each and every member of All the King’s Men has worked very hard through the past year in building their loyal fan base -- from winning Voice Festival UK, then taking home Third Prize at the International Championships of Collegiate A Cappella in New York, followed by sell-out shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. And then, finally, taking Hong Kong audiences by storm. And through their tireless efforts in giving these spectacular performances, they have been totally professional and exude humility, while giving quality music, touching the hearts of everyone in the audience. Echoing one of their backers’ comment on their Hong Kong Fringe Club finale: “Absolutely, absolutely, absolutely fantastic performance.”

 

Keeping their Fans Informed

After every performance, the Men have not kept their fans hanging. Through optimal use of social media networks, they have worked hard on keeping all their fans well-informed of their latest activities on their website, on Facebook, on their blog and through Twitter -- and all in real-time. This has added to their success on FringeBacker -- fans all over got to know about their latest performances (and escapades), and came online to support them.

 

Success on FringeBacker

With their project fully funded, All the King’s Men have covered all of the expenses that made their Asia Tour 2012 a reality. They now to continue to pursue their music passion throughout the coming year, touring the world to give quality entertainment and spreading their fusion of fantastic musicianship. They will be producing their very first Asia Tour DVD, capturing memorable moments of this fantastic experience.

 

Their success has seen a significantly positive impact on other musicians who are looking to crowdfund their project online on FringeBacker. Barriers are breaking down every day in this new digital economy, and this is what it's all about for musicians -- to be able to get to their real fans and share with them their passion for music. FringeBacker is here to provide an opportunity for everyone to try out and make some sense of the changes we are seeing in the music industry right now.

 

As All the King’s Men continue with their performances ahead, we look forward to more successes for our other FringeBacker projects. 



  

There is no magic formula about how to use social media for your marketing. However, an enlightening new study just released this week by Chicago market research company Lab42 gives you stunning answers -- proof that social media matters, according to Mashable's tech industry specialist Samantha Murphy. Lab42 surveyed 1,000 social media users about how they interact with brands on Facebook -- the results show that half of all consumers believe that a brand's Facebook page "is more useful than its website".


50% of Consumers

What does this result say about how the social power of Facebook? The stunning response confirms the general perception that with hundreds of millions of users sharing with friends, Facebook is the world's ultimate matchmaker for companies and brands. 69% of those surveyed said that they "Liked" a brand on Facebook because a friend "Liked" the brand.

The survey goes further to confirm what we have been thinking about the power of social community -- 82% of respondents believe that a Facebook page is a good place to interact with brands. Out of these people, 35% of them feel that brands listen to them more on Facebook than anywhere else.

Naturally, there are frequently economic motivations -- 77% of those people who "Liked" a brand on Facebook have saved money as a result of coupons, discounts, and so on.


Post good Photos for bringing the most "Likes"

If you want to market something, how do you actually go about to get better engagement with your visitors on Facebook? Mashable's Murphy suggested that the first thing to do is make sure you have lots of pictures, and secondly, to make sure that you speak in the first person.

Murphy highlighted social media data expert HubSpot's Dan Zarella, who recently released details about his analysis of more than 1.3 million posts from the 10,000 most-Liked Facebook pages -- e.g., which posts get the most "Likes", shares and comments, which are the best post types and lengths, and which are the best times of the day to add updates.

As you would expect, photos draw the largest number of people, more than would text or video, according to Zarella. Posts that refer to "I" and "me" tend to get more "Likes". The least "Likes", shares and comments are generated by news links -- perhaps it's because news are not personal to the person posting them. To reinforce this theory, HubSpot's Zarella told Mashable, the leading social media website, that it's "important to be passionate, not neutral".


What times are the best?

Zarella's study also shows that Facebook posts that go up on weekends tend to get more "Likes" than those during the week, perhaps because there are fewer posts to compete against at those times. Thursday is, like many other offline social activities, the least active day for "Likes".

So what does that 50% result mean? Does it mean that 50% of consumers believe that a Facebook page is really more informative than a website? Or is it the reverse -- in other words,does it simply mean that they are frustrated by the lack of creativity attributed to designing informative and interactive websites?

While market experts go about getting that answer for us, the practical task facing us now is learning to work with the acknowledged social power of Facebook.



  

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.