Once Upon a Rooftop
(29 minutes) China
Director/Producer: Sybil Wendler
Once Upon a Rooftop is a visual portrait of the families and individuals who live on the rooftops of mid-rises in Hong Kong. Hidden from below, these homes are constructed illegally and haphazardly. The inhabitants have no rights in terms of ownership or tenancy and yet are allowed to have water, gas, electricity and even postal addresses by the government. Clinging onto this no-man’s land, the residents’ best hope to escape their grinding poverty is to ensure that their children are mainstreamed into Hong Kong’s educational system. But looming over these fragile communities is the ever-present threat of redevelopment and hence possible destruction of their tenuous habitat as land is a premium commodity in this gateway metropolis.
Sybil Wendler has worked in various capacities in film and curatorial endeavors for the past decade. Her award-winning short documentary Once Upon a Rooftop is the first film that takes an in-depth look at the hidden rooftop population that subsists in the housing black market in Hong Kong. She is currently producing a dramatic short film that hopes to be completed by the end of 2011. Born in Hong Kong but raised in the United States, Sybil lives and works in Southern California.
Web site: www.imdb.com/title/tt1673643