The Ubiks is a creative label founded by three award winning film directors and writers.
Our goal is to gather talented people in the domains of cinema, graphic design, music and arts in general to help us build projects with a unique and distinctive identity.
As writers and directors on various projects, independently, we have always tried to find new angles, new takes on classic stories and genres.
Now united behind a common vision, and with the help of our friends and partners, we intend to explore and redefine genre films with the following principles :
– Uncompromising technical quality and aesthetics, to offer an elegant, sophisticated and attractive film.
– A fetishist care for all production details : image, sound, art direction, framing, characters design and actors filming to stimulate the senses for a visual, audio and emotional pleasure through the story.
– Stories and narration built with several layers so as to be easily appreciated at a first glance and enjoyed more thoroughly with a deeper attention.
– Popular and commercial entertainment intending to touch large audiences without ever selling the stories and the genre cheap or being vulgar. Whether serious or humorous, thrilling or scary, always striving to find a pleasant but original and intelligent approach.
– Exploration of classic genres and themes of cinema to renew them for the 21st century and modern audiences by adding dynamism, sophistication, a new film language and technology, playing with the codes and the archetypes of the genres. This for the purpose of bringing back to nowadays audiences the same kind of powerful emotions and thrills these movies used to generate, instead of a detached post-modern and cynical take that create distance from the viewer to the film.
Following these principles, we will create films with a distinctive and appealing identity, a label of quality materialized by one name : The Ubiks. Why this name? Because for the length of a film we are taking audiences for a tour of our alternate reality. A parallel world of sensorial delights. And while you are watching our films, you are both here and there. In your world and ours. A form of ubiquity to escape from daily reality while remembering all this is a delicious fantasy.
The Ubiks founding members are :
Kit Wong – Hong Kong born – Director, writer, producer.
Laurent Courtiaud – French born – Director, writer.
Julien Carbon – French born – Director, writer.
Julien Carbon and Laurent Courtiaud met in 1990 and helped through their work for several movie magazines French audiences know more about modern Asian cinema and especially Hong Kong films. In 1995, while Laurent teaches screenplay to film adaptation at Louis Lumière National Film School and Julien works for Jean-Pierre Dionnet with film acquisition they decide to write films and aim at joining the Hong Kong movie business.
In 1996 one of their screenplays, “Psionics” (a story about the department of paranormal affairs in mainland China), is bought by Tsui Hark who invites them to come and work with him in Hong Kong at Film Workshop, his company. This screenplay is followed by development work on many projects like a Godzilla for Toho and adaptations of Japanese comic books such as Golgo XIII and Lupin III. Through theses years of training along Tsui Hark, Carbon and Courtiaud settle in Hong Kong and explore the many faces of the city.
In 1998, Johnnie To, who is shifting to stylish cop stories in the tradition of those by John Woo or Ringo Lam, hires Laurent and Julien to write a mainstream thriller as a vehicle for the biggest local star, actor singer Andy Lau. The film, “Running Out of Time”, becomes a major Box office and video hit and gathers a large number of awards, among them for the script and the Best Actor award that had until then eluded Andy Lau through his long career.
The success of the film allows Carbon and Courtiaud to work in a different way on their next four screenplays and write “on and from the field”. While working on an original screenplay for Wong Kar-wai, they become part of the “In The Mood For Love” production crew and are sent to Cambodia to prepare for the film’s shooting in Angkor. For Kit Wong’s “Black Door”, a horror film shot in Canada, they write the script and work on location in Vancouver. Then they fly to meet Tsui Hark in Bangkok and assist him on the set during the filming of “Black Mask II”. After this they are hired by Michelle Yeoh to write “The Touch”, a collaboration that will send them through China and to Tibet where they work at the foot of the Potala palace. To paraphrase one of their models, Hunter S. Thompson, it is the beginning of “Gonzo Screenwriting”.
They follow with work on adaptation of popular culture franchises, like a script based on the Capcom video game “Onimusha” for Davis Films or a transposition of the Tristan and Isolde’s story in Ancient China as a lavish Wu Xia Pian. They are also hired as consultants on the game “Red Steel”, one of the first adventure games produced by Ubisoft for the Nintendo Wii.
In 2007, along with their long time partner, Hong Kong director Kit Wong, they establish a Hong Kong based production company, Red East Pictures, as well as a creative label: The Ubiks. They invest in their own filming equipment by acquiring one of the first Red One cameras.
Their goal is to use their international experience as well as talented local crews and partners to develop unique genre films with a strong identity, both set in an Asian context and traditions but with international cultural and commercial appeal.
“Red Nights” is the first long feature produced by this company, a film with a distinctive style and atmosphere, filmed on digital media but with the highest quality requirements, and making the best use of talents from various countries with its mix of cast and crews from Hong Kong, Taiwan, France and Belgium.
After having been selected in prestigious film festivals like Sitges, Toronto, San Sebastian, Brussels… Red Nights has been released in France in april 2011. Julien and Laurent then wrote two long features, “3 Days Away” a romantic thriller set in Hong Kong with an international cast, and “La Famille”, a thriller set in France. It is during the writing of these scripts that they have completed work on “Betrayal”, a short feature filmed before “Red Nights” as a “private prequel”, so as to finally release it to the public.
They recently began another adventure when, while being in France, their love for the detective stories and interest for different formats of storytelling gave them the desire to try their hands at TV series. Recent American and British series and mini-series have proved that boundaries between cinema and TV in terms of production quality, directing, cinematography, cast… are disappearing in a digital age when both films and TV are often watched in the same ways and on the same devices by the viewers, and the series format offers more space for twists, suspense and character development. Julien and Laurent have been eager to explore this new field of possibilities and the first outcome has been the sale of a detective series to TF1 which they are currently writing.
Wong Kit Mei, aka “Kit Wong”, was born in the 70s’ in Hong Kong where she finished her studies in her late teens. Always fascinated by movies since her teenage years, Kit Wong joined the business in the early 90s’. Having experience in HK movie business for over a decade, she has worked for Tsui Hark and Wong Kar-wai in major production houses such as Film Workshop, Win’s and Jet Tone to learn cinema from different aspects. She has worked in production and distribution, but also as an assistand director and as a screenwriter and translator of English scripts into Cantonese and Mandarin. She also organised concerts and promotional events in Mainland China, notably at the occasion of the Hong Kong handover in 1997
In 1999, with a script written by Laurent Courtiaud and Julien Carbon, she undertook to find a producer and direct her first movie “The Black Door”.
The Black Door came out in 2001 with the official screening invitation from the “Sitges Festival International de Cinema de Catalunya” in Spain. Following the successful special screening in Sitges, The Black Door was requested by another fantastic film festival in Spain. It thus went to win Best Director and Best Film Awards at the Semana Internacional De Cine Fantastico De Malaga (Spain) in 2002.
While developing other film projects, and collaborating on scripts, Kit co-wrote and co-directed the TV series “Splash of Love”, a teenage romance series set in the world of sports competition, for Mainland China’s TV. She also wrote a horror comic book, Voice of Shadows, published in Italy by Brian Yuzna, and drawn by comic book artist Li Chi-Tak whom she had met when working on the movie Black Mask for Tsui Hark.
In 2007, she set up a production house in HK with the two French writer- directors, Laurent Courtiaud & Julien Carbon. In 2008, she produced their first short film “Betrayal” which they used to attract French investment. In 2009 she co-produced with a French company their first long feature “Red Nights” which has been selected in TIFF 2010 and has won the “Best Original Score” award in Sitges.
After having produced her partners’ films, Kit has been working on her own projects as a director, for Asia and for Europe. One of her scripts, X&Y, about teenage delinquants in Hong Kong public estates, based on true stories and inspired by her own experiences was a finalist at the Fonds Sud in 2011, but Kit has recently been working on a Japanese Horror style movie for Mainland China, an English speaking thriller set in Canada, and two stories, one as a motion picture and one as a TV series, in French and taking place in France.