Ip Man is a 2008 semi-biographical martial arts film based on the life of Ip Man, a grandmaster of the martial art Wing Chun and the first person to teach Wing Chun openly. One of his students was the widely influential and acclaimed martial artist and filmmaker Bruce Lee. The film focuses on events in Ip's life that took place in the city of Foshan during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The film was directed by Wilson Yip, and stars Donnie Yen as Ip Man, with martial arts choreography by Sammo Hung. The supporting cast includes Simon Yam, Lynn Hung, Lam Ka-Tung, Xing Yu and Hiroyuki Ikeuchi.
The idea of an Ip Man biopic originated in 1998 when Jeffrey Lau and Corey Yuen discussed the idea of making a film based on Bruce Lee's martial arts master. However, the studio producing the proposed film closed, and the project was abandoned. Producer Raymond Wong decided to develop his own Ip Man film with full consent from Ip's sons, and had filmmakers head to Foshan to research Ip's life. Ip Chun, Ip Man's eldest son, and several other Wing Chun practitioners served as technical consultants for the film. Principal photography for Ip Man began in March 2008 and ended in August; filming took place in Shanghai, which was used to architecturally recreate Foshan. During filming, conflicts arose between the producers of Ip Man and filmmaker Wong Kar-wai over the film's working title. Wong, who had been developing his own Ip Man biopic, clashed with the producers after learning that their film would be titled Grandmaster Ip Man (traditional Chinese: 一代宗師葉問), which was too similar to the title of Wong's film. The producers of Ip Man agreed to change the title, despite Wong's film being in development hell.
Ip Man was released theatrically in Hong Kong on 19 December 2008, receiving widespread acclaim from critics and audiences. The film grossed over US$21 million worldwide, despite not being released in North America and most of Europe. Following its success, Ip Man was nominated for 12 Hong Kong Film Awards, winning awards for Best Film and Best Action Choreography. A sequel titled Ip Man 2 is currently in post-production, and will be released in May 2010.