What do Jackie Chan and Jean Claude Van Damme have in common? Stanley Tong

Stanley Tong is a Hong Kong film director, producer, action choreographer, screenwriter, entrepreneur and philanthropist. Brussels Express had the pleasure to meet him in the framework of the BIFFF Festival where his movie Kung Fu Yoga was screened. Kung Fu Yoga was directed by Stanley Tong and having as a star the famous Jackie Chan. This Chinese-Indian production was released  in China on 28 January 2017 and in India on 3 February 2017. In Europe, the première was in Brussels during BIFFF’s festival.


Why have you decided to attend BIFFF?

I first of all was invited by the Hong-Kong government to come here. I am not used to attend movie festivals, as I work in action movies. And this sort of movie is not celebrated as much as other movies. On the other hand, I have travelled quite a lot in Europe before. I have been to Paris, Italy and Spain but I had not been in Brussels before. I have heard so much about the city, the capital of Europe, but I had not had the chance to visit. When I was offered to come, I have then accepted.

I also knew the audience would be very cool and relax, which is true. This is another reason why I have accepted, and I have really been enjoying my experience so far.

What does Europe mean to you in terms of movies?

I will be honest, I do not know so much European movies as we do not have so many opportunities to watch them in Asia. I know there are lots of European movies every year, but they are not released in China. I wanted to discover what this sort of cinema was, and Brussels was a great opportunity to do so. I have arrived yesterday, and I was showed a couple of movies who will be released during the festival to have an overview of the European fantastic movies. Regarding Belgium, I know Jean-Claude Van Damme. He came to Hong Kong before and we have been keeping in touch.

Chan and Tong

Do you know other Belgian actors/film-makers?

Not really to be fair. I only know Jean-Claude Van Damme as he became a friend after we ate together in Hong-Kong. He likes my movies, he loves Jackie Chan. We however have not had the chance to work together yet.

What are the main challenges cinema is currently facing today?

The film-makers are facing several challenges. I would say the main one is about Internet. You know, today, once a movie is released in a cinema, it can be watched online after few times. It is coming faster and faster. Young people are able to watch it on the laptop or the smartphone. The big challenge is therefore to find reasons why they should keep on coming to the cinema.

We need to keep the young audience, the 1990’s audience, which is a key challenge nowadays. That means all the film-makers should have an audience mindset. We need to work hard to convince the people to watch our movies in a cinema.

What about Belgian traditions?

That is a good question. I actually love chocolate. As the Belgian chocolate is very famous, this is a good point. I have tasted it and I like it. I have planned to bring some pieces back to China. I however do not drink alcohol and I then cannot taste the Belgian beer. But my assistant does and he told me it is super good.

And finally, I have tasted the Belgian fries yesterday night, they are very good! Definitely better than the ones in MacDonald’s (he laughed).