Golden Scene at 20: Diverse Past, Bright Future

Golden Scene, one of Asia’s most enduring independent film distributors, is known for its year-round billboards attached to bus shelters around Hong Kong, and also for the spot-on taste of founder Winnie Tsang.

Tsang started the company 20 years ago by snatching opportunity from adversity. Having risen from secretary to board member at the legendary Golden Harvest production to exhibition group, Tsang jumped in when the studio made a strategic decision to exit distribution.

She set up shop nearby in the Tsim Sha Tsui district and took with her a small staff. They handled distribution on behalf of Golden Harvest’s various labels and its sub-distribution relationship with UIP.
While benefitting from a steady supply of studio business, Tsang relished the freedom to make her own choices. “I could do anything, go anywhere, visit more festivals,” says Tsang. “I had less need to be commercial and instead could pick films that appealed to my own taste and those I thought could develop the Hong Kong audience.”

Mixing up U.S. indie titles with local Hong Kong movies, Golden Scene enjoyed early success with Japanese horror hit “The Ring.” It also pioneered the early 20th century wave of Asian diversity including Korean arthouse shocker “The Isle,” Thailand’s “The Iron Ladies” and “Dolls,” and “Nobody Knows” from Japan. Money flowed from the “Twilight” saga and “Rush Hour” franchises.

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