Official Launch of “A History of Film Exhibition and Reception in Colonial Hong Kong (1897 to 1925)”

New Digital Humanities Collection

Department of Visual Studies, the Centre for Film and Creative Industries, and the University Library are proud to announce the official launch of the first digital humanities research collection at the University, “A History of Film Exhibition and Reception in Colonial Hong Kong (1897 to 1925)” publicly accessible at

Developed under the project ‘Screen Practices in Colonial Hong Kong: A History of Film Exhibition and Reception from 1897 to 1925’ supported by the Research Grants Committee, HKSAR, this database serves as an essential resource for research on Hong Kong film history from the initial screenings of motion pictures in the late 1890s to the mid-1920s when the local film industry took shape. It provides online access to more than 30,000 items of news materials, covering movie theatres, distribution companies and circuits, advertisements, and film reviews.  Our research team, led by Professor Emilie Yeh and composed of one research fellow, two Research Officers of the Centre for Film and Creative Industries, and eleven student research assistants, uncovered more than 58,000 primary source materials on film marketing, promotion, exhibition, and reception published from 1897 to 1925 in three major English-language Hong Kong newspapers, namely, The China Mail (1845–1974); The Hongkong Telegraph (1881–1951); and The South China Morning Post (1903–present). These primary materials will certainly help construct the history of early screen practices in Hong Kong.

With the efforts of the Library’s Digital Services Team, 3,978 out of the 9,971 unique film records have been looked up with corresponding IMDb (Internet Movie Database) records to provide more metadata about the film records such as the actors, directors, country, and runtime information, etc. The Digital Services Team also provided the full address of the cinema, Chinese name and the location if available for plotting the map view to help visualize the data ( A full-text link is also provided for users to view the full-text image at Hong Kong Public Libraries’ Multimedia Information System (MMIS) for the newspapers of China Mail and The Hongkong Telegraph, and Library subscribed ProQuest Database for the South China Morning Post. One example can be found here:

This is an excellent partnership of the three units to capitalize the expertise of each other to contribute to the development of this database. Hope you enjoy using this research platform. We would like to hear your feedback and comments on this database for our continuous improvement.  Please complete the online survey form that is included in the platform after using it.  Thank you.

The Library welcomes collaboration with Faculties for promoting digital humanities. Please let us know by email at [email protected].