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Hong Kong Horror Comedy ‘The Vampire of Sheung Shui,’ With Indian Protagonist, Sets HAF Debut

Shreyom Ghosh’s “The Vampire of Sheung Shui” is unique in that it is a Hong Kong-set horror-comedy with a protagonist of Indian origin.

It has been selected for the 22nd Hong Kong — Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF), the project market that operates concurrently with FilMart.

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Written by D.F.W. Buckingham (“Finding Love in Sisters”), the film will follow Lokesh, a slacker in his 30s, living with orthodox Jain parents in a sleepy Hong Kong suburb, waiting to take over the family jewellery store and move to the U.K. after selling it. When his father announces his retirement, Lokesh must show that he can be responsible and adhere to the values of his family’s traditions or lose the store to his annoying cousin. The problem is that Lokesh is turning into a bloodthirsty vampire. Now he must find a way to survive on blood without hurting people, while also proving to his family that he’s not a total leech.

Ghosh, a graduate of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts, created and directed Hooq comedy-drama series “Bhak” (2019) and made animated short “Vegetable Rising” (2022).

“It started as a joke about an Indian vegan man transforming into a vampire. It was funny for us since vampires and the particular community of Indians we wanted to show — the Jains — have one thing in common — a repulsion to garlic. We started pitching this idea around and seeing the reaction of people from different corners the world, we realized the universal appeal of our idea which culminated into a vampire film from an Indian point of view. This made us move forward into developing it further into a film that can be equally funny and horrifying but, most importantly, relatable and entertaining,” Ghosh told Variety.

“We live in a world where right and wrong are subjective. Our wavering moral compass can justify any violence till someone close to us gets hurt. This is the crux of our film, which is embodied by our protagonist. He has no other choice but to drink blood to survive but is surrounded by characters who thrive on sucking life out of others. He will realize that even though morality is subjective, one must take responsibility for their actions and learn what it means to sacrifice for the sake of others. At its core, ‘The Vampire of Sheung Shui’ is a late coming-of-age story about taking charge of your life and a celebration of Hong Kong’s diversity wherein the most dangerous character is definitely not the vampire,” Ghosh added.

The film is being produced by industry veteran Michael J. Werner, former co-head of Fortissimo Films, who has produced and distributed numerous Asian titles, including Wong Kar Wai’s “The Grandmaster” (2013), Zhang Yimou’s “Shadow” (2018) and Ray Yeung’s “Suk Suk” (2019); Peter Yam, producer of “The Sunny Side of the Street,” winner of three Golden Horse Awards, and Ghosh.

“The audience for the film are vampire and genre-film aficionados both here in Hong Kong and around the globe who will appreciate this fresh approach to an often told but well appreciated horror tale,” Werner told Variety.

The English, Cantonese and Hindi-language project is budgeted at $1.2 million. “We have raised sufficient funds to cover development and the first stages of pre-production, but with strong indications of interest from funders and possible investors from a few key markets sufficient to cover a meaningful percentage of the budget,” Werner said.

“We are looking for international co-production and financier partners on this pilgrimage, [while] our HAF scheduled meetings have shown promise, we expect nothing but vibrant exploration with industry delegates around the globe,” Yam added.

Production companies on the project are Tasia Films and 70 Plus Production Company.

Shreyom Ghosh Michael J Werner Peter Yam
Shreyom Ghosh, Michael J Werner, Peter Yam

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