In a place as fast-paced as Hong Kong, even students rarely have time for games. Dot 2 Dot explores the possibility of "slow living" in the city through an urban love story inspired by the old-school connect-the-dots game.
First-time film director Amos Wong Ho-yin says he came up with the story about 20 years ago, inspired by a Taiwanese TV series.
"The film tells Hong Kong people that they don't need to be so fast," Wong told Young Post. "Then you can see more of life, and you don't need to live under so much pressure."
An independent film starring Moses Chan and Meng Ting-yi, Dot 2 Dot is indeed different from other local productions. "Our film is quite calm. Most Cantonese films and TV shows are very dramatic and try to make your emotions go up and down," says Wong.
As well as an uneventful storyline, the film is also low-key in terms of its visuals. Unlike many Hollywood films that are loaded with complex sets and special effects, the colours of Dot 2 Dot are intentionally bland. The actors' wardrobes are also very plain, echoing Shandy Gan's simple singing in the movie.
But won't these things make the film be boring? "There's that possibility. But the film's pace is already faster than I imagined it would be. We realised if we edited it to make it too slow, it wouldn't be good to watch," says Wong. Editor Mary Stephen referenced the look of American comedy-drama Frances Ha to produce Dot 2 Dot's simple style.
The film is supported by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, which provided funding of HK$400,000. "Their grant was critical, because it provided a start. It's always the hardest to get the first batch of money. Also, when people know you're with the HKADC, they know you're not playing around," says Wong.
He finally raised HK$2.3 million, but says that's still less than half the budget of many mainstream films. He had less than a month to shoot, although editing took almost a year.
Many of the actors and crew are Wong's friends, who were willing to work for a share of the film's profits instead of a fixed salary. He only had to pay for three of the locations he filmed at, and borrowed lighting and other equipment from the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts. "I've definitely played all my friendship cards," says Wong.
He might be new to directing films, but the 43-year-old has been making dramas and documentaries for over 10 years, and has plenty of connections. "You really get to know who are your real friends, who would help you just like that," says Wong.
"Also, there's a good reason for people to help you out for your first film. This might not be the case for a second film, so the performance of this one is very important." For now, Wong's just glad that he finished the film.
Dot 2 Dot opens October 30