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Derek Tsang on Capturing the Essence of the Strong Female Friendship in his Golden Horse-Nominated Feature ‘Soul Mate’.

By Flora  /  04 Nov 2016 (Friday)

Director Derek Tsang may not be a household name just yet, but he will probably soar as one of the up-and-coming directors to look out for in the near future. His China-set feature film ‘Soul Mate’, feted with seven nominations at the Golden Horse Awards including Best Director; Best Leading Actress (2 of his female leads are nominated: Zhou Dongyu and Ma Sichun); Best Adapted Screenplay; and Best Editing.

“I’m putting my hopes on the two female leads,” said Tsang on the Golden Horse Awards nominations. 

“If I really had to choose, I think Dongyu may win, because her character shines more. When audiences watch this movie, most of them will be captured by An Sheng (Zhou’s character) personality. It's not that Si Chun is not good. She's fantastic in the movie as well, but you need an actor to portray Qi Yue, an innocent and grounded character, then you are able to bring out the An Sheng’s personality who is the opposite of her. If both are so loud and bubbly, audiences will get tired watching it,” he added.

Photo Credit: Golden Village Pictures

Starring Zhou Dongyu and Ma Sichun, the film is based on the best-selling novel by Li Jie (Anni Baobei), the story revolves around the inseparable friendship between two girls - Li Ansheng and Lin Qiyue. They have been best friends since 13 but their friendship is put to the test when both of them fell for the same man, Jia Ming (Toby Lee). 

What stands out in this film is the essence captured between the inseparable friendship between the two characters, a coming-of-age drama filmed with much depth and emotion. 

“I didn't set out thinking too much about a guy making a female-centric film or film it from a female point of view.,” he said at an interview. “I think as a director, you need to know the what the story needs. When I first read the story, I was very intrigued by the friendship between these two ladies, and I understood the experiences that the characters had to go through… that's why I had the confidence to film it.”

Tsang also cited his personal experiences as one of the factors that may have contributed to the deep understanding of women, as portrayed in the film. 

"To be honest, throughout my growing-up years, my dad wasn't around much. I was brought up by my mum and grandma, and the two of them hung out with their female relatives and friends," he said.

“I've been around with groups of women, and maybe that's why, I still do enjoy watching films and reading novels with female-centric themes or those that are written by female authors because their detailing of women’s emotions and experiences are complicated but interesting.”

Tsang started out as an actor in his early days in the entertainment scene, having starred in several comedies like SDU: Sex Duties Unit and Naked Ambition 2.

As a new director, he hopes to explore many other film genres and learn from those experiences. “I’m still a very new director, I think it’s important to stay humble and keep working hard. There’s still a long way ahead.

Don't miss this critically-acclaimed film 'Soul Mate', opening InCinemas 10 November 2016!
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