Immediately after the feature, ticket holders can enjoy a pre-recorded bonus Q&A with director Evans Chan and film subject Alex Chow!
Official Selection, 2020 International Film Festival Rotterdam
Electric and analytical, WE HAVE BOOTS marches through the last six years of activism in Hong Kong, the first draft of a history that may just as quickly be suppressed. It’s a history told in paintball shells and improvised tactics, in subways, airports, and campuses, capturing young and old in an existential standoff. Evans Chan’s essential documentary covers the events of Occupy Central and the Umbrella Movement in 2014 and the anti-extradition protests that shook the streets in 2019. But what makes WE HAVE BOOTS such a critical work is that it gives equal attention to what happened in between those bookends, when teenage protesters became the political vanguard, and when veteran scholars became enemies of the state. In those years of eerie apprehension, the protest shifted into the legislature, the realm of street art, and the conflict over free speech and the wealth gap.
Interviewing key participants–Ray Wong, Agnes Chow, Benny Tai, Shiu Ka-chun, Chan Kin-man, and others–Chan complements the shocking and sublime on-the-ground documentation with insights into the consequences of speaking out and the adjustments in philosophy and strategy required to maneuver around an increasingly bloodthirsty bear. The film has an epilogue too–2020 has more curveballs in store–and some of the participants have been arrested or terminated since the filming. But WE HAVE BOOTS is as much about renewing passions as it is about police brutality, and so prepares us for the prospect that this historical chapter is far from complete.