KINO LORBER ACQUIRES NORTH AMERICAN RIGHTS FOR SUE WILLIAMS’ DENISE HO - BECOMING THE SONG

KINO LORBER ACQUIRES NORTH AMERICAN RIGHTS FOR SUE WILLIAMS’ DENISE HO - BECOMING THE SONG
 
First feature documentary profiling the charismatic Hong Kong Cantopop icon & pro-democracy activist will release July 1 on the Kino Marquee Virtual Cinema Platform
 
 
New York, May 21, 2020 - Kino Lorber announces that it has acquired North American distribution rights for DENISE HO - BECOMING THE SONG. The documentary, directed by veteran documentary producer Sue Williams, is an intimate portrayal of award-winning Hong Kong Cantopop icon Denise Ho and her personal journey from artist to activist, and closely mirrors Hong Kong's current uneasy relationship with China.  The July 1 virtual theatrical release date was chosen to coincide with the anniversary of Britain’s handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997.
 
Discovered by legendary Cantopop songstress and actress Anita Mui in her teens in a singing contest, Ho became one of Mui’s disciples and songwriters before her solo career started to rise. She came out to the world as a proud lesbian in 2012 at the Hong Kong Pride Parade, the first major female star in Hong Kong to come out as gay. In 2014, at the height of her career, she started to publicly support the students who were demanding free elections during the Umbrella Movement (protesters held up umbrellas to fight off tear gas). Her influential involvement at the forefront of the pro-democracy uprisings led to her arrest during a clearing of protest camps. The financial and social cost to her was enormous. She was blacklisted by Mainland China, her music banned. As a result major commercial and luxury sponsors like Lancôme dropped her, colleagues feared to be associated with her, and venues around the world to this day are afraid to allow her to perform.
 
In 2017, Williams began to follow and film Denise as she toured the UK and North America as an independent artist, attempting to rebuild her career while continuing to take to the streets with Hong Kongers during the massive protests of 2019  and remaining vocal about protecting civil liberties. She has also recently addressed both the United Nations and the US Congress, pleading for international help and making it clear that Hong Kong’s struggle is a universal fight for freedom and democracy.
 
Many of William’s previous films are available on Kino Lorber Home Video, including China on Film: The New Millennium, Young and Restless in China, and China: A Century of Revolution.
 
DENISE HO - BECOMING THE SONG was negotiated by Kino Lorber SVP Wendy Lidell, executive producer Helen Siu and director/producer Sue Williams.
 
Wendy Lidell, Kino Lorber SVP of Theatrical Distribution and Acquisitions said, “Denise Ho is one of a kind – a charismatic performer with a passion, not only for her music, but for human rights as well.  Film, like music, can open hearts and minds, and Kino Lorber is proud to join Helen and Sue in bringing Denise’s story to a wide audience. ”.
Siu and Williams said, “We’re delighted to be working with Kino Lorber to get Denise’s story – and by extension, that of Hong Kong – out to the world. Under the cloak of the global pandemic, China is carrying out a harsh crack down on ordinary Hong Kongers and arresting more pro-democratic leaders.  Denise’s creativity and resilience are a moving reminder of the power of courageous individuals – and music – in the fight for freedom and democracy.”
 
DENISE HO - BECOMING THE SONG will be virtually released to theaters on July 1 through Kino Marquee and will later be available for streaming on KinoNow.com and home video.
 
Sue Williams (Director/Producer)
Sue Williams is the founder of Ambrica Productions and has been making documentaries for three decades. Death by Design, produced with Impact Partners, investigated the environmental impact of the electronics industry. It screened globally on Al Jazeera in 2016, at over 30 festivals and is available on most on-demand platforms. Previous films include the highly acclaimed CHINA Trilogy (China in Revolution, The Mao Years ,and Born under the Red Flag) as well as China in the Red and Young & Restless in China–all premiered on PBS/Frontline. Sue also directed two highly praised biographies --Eleanor Roosevelt and Mary Pickford-- for the PBS series, American Experience. Awards include the 2016 Boston Globe Filmmaker of the Year Award, Cine Golden Eagles, International Film & Video Festival Awards, Chris Awards, and Edgar Dale Awards for Best Screenwriting.
 
Helen Siu (Executive Producer)
Helen F. Siu, is a Professor of Anthropology and former chair of the Council on East Asian Studies at Yale University. She has conducted decades of fieldwork in Southern China, exploring agrarian change and commerce, the nature of the socialist state, and the refashioning of identities. Lately, she explores rural-urban interfaces in China, inter-Asian connections, China-Africa encounters, popular music and new political space in Hong Kong. She has served funding and research assessment committees in the United States, Europe, and Asia. She is the founding director of the Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Hong Kong. It highlights cross-disciplinary research and global collaborations. Her recent publications are Asia Inside Out (3 volumes, Harvard U Press 2015, 2019) and Tracing China: A Forty year Ethnographic Journey (HKU Press 2016).

Kino Lorber
With a library of over 2,800 titles, Kino Lorber Inc. has been a leader in independent art house distribution for 35 years, releasing 30 films per year theatrically under its Kino Lorber, Kino Repertory and Alive Mind Cinema banners, garnering seven Academy Award® nominations in nine years. Recent theatrical releases include Cannes-winners Kantemir Balagov’s Beanpole, Jean-Pierre Dardenne & Luc Dardenne’s Young Ahmed, and Kleber Mendonça Filho & Juliano Dornelles’s Bacurau. In addition, the company brings over 350 titles yearly to the home entertainment and educational markets through physical and digital media releases. With an expanding family of distributed labels, Kino Lorber handles releases in ancillary media for Zeitgeist Films, Carlotta USA, Adopt Films, Greenwich Entertainment, Raro Video, and others, placing physical titles through all wholesale, retail, and direct to consumer channels, as well as direct digital distribution through over 40 OTT services including all major TVOD and SVOD platforms. In 2019, the company launched its new art house digital channel Kino Now which features over 1000 titles from the acclaimed Kino Lorber library.