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HK musician/filmmaker honored in Chicago

By Jian Ping in Chicago for China Daily | China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-19 10:56

Teddy Robin Kwan, a prominent musician, actor and filmmaker from Hong Kong, received a Lifetime Achievement Award in music and film from Asian Pop-Up Cinema in Chicago last week.

Kwan, who is wildly popular in Asia, said he was "honored and happy to be recognized in Chicago".

"I never dreamed I'd be a movie star because I'm small and not handsome," said Kwan with a laugh. "But I have a good voice and can sing a wide range of songs," he added.

"We seek out talents with significant achievements in the entertainment industries in Asia. Teddy is highly regarded with 50-plus years of involvement in the music and film industry," said Sophia Wong Baccio, founder and director of Asian Pop-Up Cinema.

Asian Pop-Up Cinema is a non-profit organization specializing in promoting Asian culture to American audiences via film.

"He is a legendary icon from Hong Kong and is known as the Godfather of Hong Kong rock 'n' roll," Baccio added.

In the 1960s when Hong Kong English pop was at its peak, Kwan was at the top of the charts with his band Teddy Robin and the Playboys.

He has acted in two-dozen feature films, directed four and produced about 30. He has also written musical scores for about 30 films.

Prior to the awards ceremony, two of Kwan's films were screened to Chicago audiences. One - She Remembers, He Forgets (2015) - which he produced; and the other - Gallants (2010) - won him Hong Kong Film Awards for best supporting actor and best original score.

Kwan has been nominated numerous times for Hong Kong Film Awards in various areas, including best original song (Hong Kong Graffiti, 1983), best original film score (City on Fire, 1987) and best director (All the Wrong Spies, 1983).

Local Chicago artists performed Kwan's music scores and songs at the award-giving ceremony, including three of his award-winning theme songs in Cops and Robbers (1973); Till Death Do We Scare (1982) and City on Fire (1987).

Baccio said the live performance of Kwan's music was a special feature this year because of "his significant impact and influence through his music scores and songs for films and Cantopop music industry".

At 70, Kwan shows no sign of slowing down. Right now, he is busy with the post-production of another feature film while working on music scores for two films.

"I enjoy what I do," said Kwan. "Everything has pressure. Once you solve the problems you are faced with, it's great."

Asian Pop-Up Cinema runs a semi-annual Asian Film Festival in Chicago, one in the spring and one in the fall.

 HK musician/filmmaker honored in Chicago

Sophia Wong Baccio (left), director of Asian Pop-Up Cinema, and Hong Kong filmmaker Teddy Robin Kwan sit for an interview in Chicago last week. Jian Ping / for China Daily

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