Past Film/Video | Documentaries

Denise Ho - Becoming the Song

(Sue Williams, 2020)

Stream | Ohio Premiere

Denise Ho looks off into the distance amid a crowd of protesters.

Screening on the anniversary of Britain’s 1997 handover of Hong Kong to China, this intimate documentary traces the personal journey of openly gay singer Denise Ho from Cantopop icon to human rights activist.

Ho emerged in the late 1990s as a rising star of Cantopop—an international music phenomenon based in Hong Kong and enjoyed across Asia but largely scorned by China’s conservative establishment. Ho opened herself to further scorn by being Hong Kong’s first female star to come out as a lesbian in 2013.

In Becoming the Song, we watch Ho increasingly put her life and career on the line to support the struggle of Hong Kong citizens to maintain their identity and freedom during the Umbrella Revolution that emerged in 2014. We follow her she tours the US, Canada, and UK and prepares to release a new song in an attempt to rebuild her career after sponsors and venues at home withdraw their support over her activism. In June 2019, as the world watched Hong Kong explode in antiextradition law protests, Ho took to the streets herself—facing tear gas, protecting fellow protesters, and using her platform to advance their cause at the United Nations and US Congress. (83 mins., digital video) In English and Cantonese with English subtitles.

More about the film
Feature, “Denise Ho Confronts Hong Kong’s New Political Reality,” Jiayang Fan, New Yorker

"As Beijing chips away at Hong Kong's freedoms, Ho has become an emblematic figure of the territory—embattled, emboldened, and unbeholden."
New Yorker
Denise Ho sings into a mic looking up with a raised fist

Image courtesy Kino Lorber

Denise Ho in plain clothes is escorted by Hong Kong police

Image courtesy Kino Lorber

Denise Ho walks under an umbrella during a protest in Hong Kong

Image courtesy Kino Lorber

A sea of umbrellas in different colors covers a street during a protest in Hong Kong

Image courtesy Kino Lorber

Denise Ho looks off into the distance amid a crowd of protesters

Image courtesy Kino Lorber

Greater Columbus Arts Council
Ohio Arts Council
American Electric Power Foundation
The Columbus Foundation
Institute of Museum and Library Services
Nationwide Foundation

Huntington Bank
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Kaufman Development
Cardinal Health Foundation



Past Film/Video

Denise Ho - Becoming the Song