New open-access database launched to showcase history of film exhibition and reception in Colonial Hong Kong

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 Council’s General Research Fund, “A History of Film Exhibition and Reception in Colonial Hong Kong” open-access database gives essential information about Hong Kong’s film history from the initial screening 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 29,000 news items, covering cinemas, distribution companies and circuits, advertisements, and film reviews.


This first digital humanities research collection is a result of close collaborations from Lingnan University’s Department of Visual Studies, the Centre for Film and Creative Industries, and the University Library by fostering and capitalising the expertise of each other to contribute to the development of this database.


Led by Prof Emilie Yeh, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, the researchers found more than 58,000 primary sources on film marketing, promotion, screening, and reviews published from 1897 to 1925 in the three English-language Hong Kong newspapers, The China Mail, The Hongkong Telegraph and The South China Morning Post.


This project helps to reconstruct the history of early screen practices in Hong Kong, and can be used to examine the early film industry by identifying screening routines and business patterns.


Please click here to access the database.