Arts, Lifestyle & Events Hong Kong

Video Premiere: Kowloon Forest – a virtual reality film follows five strangers finding intimacy in a changing Hong Kong

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The trailer for Kowloon Forest premieres exclusively on HKFP: The unique eight-minute Virtual Reality (VR) film strings together the stories of four unlikely characters as they navigate the ins and outs of a city in flux.

“Set in Hong Kong, it is a film about finding intimacy in a city of density,” director Alexey Marfin told HKFP. “It uses the format of VR to inhabit the tiny personal spaces of characters.” The film is set to premiere at Osage Gallery on July 5.

“In contrast to a lot of VR films which place us in huge expansive environments, this film is an attempt to create new experiences of being extremely close to characters in Virtual Reality,” he added.

Kowloon Forest.

Photo: Kowloon Forest.

Marfin takes a wry look at the social dynamics that govern residents in contemporary cities. The film’s cast includes: Toonyun, a local musician; Sara Meredith, a Hong Kong-born actress and daughter of a domestic worker, who plays a Filipina maid; Raghuram Shetty, a spiritual teacher from South India who plays a Hong Kong-Indian astrologer; and Ming Lo, a Wall Street financier-turned-actor, who plays a Chinese businessman.

In contrast to VR films that take place in sprawling environments, Marfin said he hopes to bring audiences in extremely close to characters in moments of intimacy.

Kowloon Forest.

Photo: Kowloon Forest.

The director, based in Los Angeles and Hong Kong, said the film draws upon his own experiences, from living in Chungking Mansions to doing laundry on top of rooftops in Sham Shui Po.

Born in Leningrad, Russia, he began his filmmaking career as a visual effects artist at the Sundance-award-winning studio Factory Fifteen, before directing his own films.

Kowloon Forest.

Photo: Kowloon Forest.

Marfin’s films have screened worldwide, at the L.A. Short Film Festival, the Brooklyn Film Festival, BiFan, Berlin Interfilm, and many more.


  • Date: Friday, July 5.
  • Time: 6pm-8pm.
  • Venue: Osage Gallery, 4/F, 20 Hing Yip Street, Kwun Tong.

Kowloon Forest is presented by the Osage Art Foundation under its new platform HKACT! for the promotion of Art, Culture and Technological Innovation in Hong Kong.

Video Premiere: Kowloon Forest - a virtual reality film follows five strangers finding intimacy in a changing Hong Kong