Mr Lai Man-wai
(1893 - 1953)
A pioneer in Chinese film history, Lai Man-wai was active in the dawn of Hong Kong Cinema, involved in founding the New World Cinema and China Sun Motion Picture Co. together with his brothers Lai Hoi-shan and Lai Buk-hoi. He was involved in the production of Hong Kong’s first movie "Zhuang Zi Tests His Wife" (1914) and first long feature “Rouge” (1925). He was also a pioneer in making documentaries, and in 1923 he took trips to film the 6th Eastern Championship Games in Japan and the opera performance of Mei Lanfang in Beijing. During the Northern Expedition, Lai went to the frontline to shoot documentaries, which was later edited to “A Page of History”. In 1926, Lai headed for Shanghai to found China Sun Motion Picture Co Ltd, and continued to drill on filming techniques. He produced epics like “Way Down West” (1927) and “Mulan Joins the Army” (1928). In 1930, China Sun merged into United Photoplay Service Limited (Shanghai) and Lai headed the No 1 Studio of United Photoplay. The studio trained up acting talents like Ruan Lingyu, Jin Yan, Li Lili and Chen Yanyan, who starred in dozens of films which are still considered classics of the Chinese cinema.