Christmas at the Royal Hotel: Craig McCourry’s New War Drama

Christmas at the Royal Hotel chronicles the story of a small group of individuals whose lives are caught up in the devastation and turmoil of the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong during the Second World War. We talk with writer-director Craig McCourry about working on his latest feature, battling typhoons, and reliving one of the darkest moments in the history of the former British colony.


EastIndie: How long have you been in Hong Kong and how has it influenced you as a storyteller and a filmmaker?

Craig McCourry: I moved here three years ago from the United States. I love it here. Hong Kong is one of the best cities in the world. It has what I call ‘texture’—from the back alleyways of Sham Shui Po to the rooftops of Mongkok to the hyper-activity in Causeway Bay, the trams, boats, sidewalks, and buses—it’s a cinematic journey every time you venture into the chaos. It also sits on the fault lines of the past and the future. This makes it a fantastic setting for documentary and feature films. Most other cities seem dull in comparison. It’s like a faltering Rome—dancing on the edge, but a paradise for a storyteller.

EI: Your upcoming feature is called Christmas at the Royal Hotel. What’s it about?

CM: The film is about the impact of war on two Chinese women and the self-sacrifice of a foreign soldier who came to the defense of Hong Kong during World War II. The movie shows how lives become entangled in history, fighting for freedom, fighting to survive, in a mad churning river of war.

EI: Why did you want to tell this particular story?

CM: Most war films focus on heroes with semi-overt nationalistic themes. I wanted to tell a story that showcased the impact of war on the individuals who become trapped within its claws. As for those who died in the Battle of Hong Kong, sacrificing their future so that we may have our future, the least we can do is to remember their service…

Read the whole article on Eastern Independent here.