Hong Kong filmmaker Benny Chan (陳木勝)—known for films such as A Moment of Romance <天若有情> and New Police Story <新警察故事>—passed away last month at the age of 58 from nasopharyngeal cancer.
His memorial mass was held last night, which was attended by many friends from the entertainment industry. Among them was filmmaker Johnnie To (杜琪峯), Benny’s mentor and benefactor who had a hand on pushing Benny to make his directorial debut.
Johnnie was brought to tears when asked if he missed Benny. “I’ve known him for 39 years. I’ve known him when he still worked as a television PA. Out of all the PAs I know, he was the one who stood out the most. A lot of PAs didn’t like to work with me because of my bad temper, but Benny didn’t care. The only thing he cared about was the job itself, and he wanted to do well. In fact, he was the one who kept pushing me. Because of his proactive personality, I realized that I am someone who needs to be urged and pushed. I really admire him.”
Benny and Johnnie spent the most time together from 1981 to 1982, when Johnnie was directing television dramas with RTV and TVB. “He was so passionate for filmmaking, I knew I had to recommend him into the film industry,” said Johnnie. In 1990, Benny released his directorial debut A Moment of Romance, which was also produced by Johnnie.
“He’s never once asked me to do anything for him,” said Johnnie. “I was the one with the inconveniences. I remember booking a funeral home for a film, but I couldn’t make it there that day because I was down with a fever. Benny helped me finish it. He finished the job smoothly without asking any more questions. I didn’t have to worry one bit. Even after all these years, I was always the one asking him for help. He has very strong work ethic, a quality that all newcoming directors should learn from.”
This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.