In its 3rd edition, UK based independent film festival Odyssey: a Chinese cinema season 2023 celebrates “Global Sustainability” as its main theme this year, responding to the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). There are 5 main strands in the festival programme comprising both online & offline screenings. They include journey, equality, biodiversity, environment and urban development.
Hong Kong has been selected as the “City of Honour” this year and the festival opened with the documentary Finding Bliss: Fire and Ice (The Directors’ Cut) on 26th May evening at The Cinema in the Battersea Power Station in London. Actress, producer Josie Ho and director Kim Chan both attended the opening in person to engage with the audience.
Surprised to discover that Hong Kong ranks a low 74 on the World Happiness Index, creative powerhouse Josie Ho (Dream Home, Full Strike, Butterfly) decides to do something about it. After interviewing some folks about their personal dissatisfaction, she takes a group of musicians and students to Iceland, officially one of the world’s happiest—and most scenic—countries. There the adventurers relearn how to laugh, connect with, and trust one another, explore natural wonders, and finally, collaborate with Icelandic musicians on a trans-generational musical journey in a dark and disconsolate world.
Josie Ho’s passion for music and documentary-making inspired her to create this thought-provoking documentary. It was entirely filmed in Iceland, the northernmost country on Earth, which also gave birth to the peculiarity of going through near national bankruptcy and simultaneously claiming the top position on the worldwide happiness index. Josie and her team went on a mission to learn some lessons for Hong Kong.
Odyssey 2023 takes place between 26th May and 30th June, showcases over 60 films online and offline from or about Greater China. There is also a sizable collection of Hong Kong films in this year’s programme as the “City of Honour”. Odyssey is an annual film festival presented by NGO UK-China Film Collab. The opening reception and film screening is kindly sponsored by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in London.