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Asian films hog limelight, shine at regional awards

By YANG HAN and JAN YUMUL in Hong Kong | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-03-12 09:27

Chinese film auteur Zhang Yimou (second from left) speaks at the 17th Asian Film Awards in Hong Kong on Sunday. CHEN DUO/XINHUA

Asian movies are gaining popularity and recognition not only with audiences but also at professional awards and industry shows, with movies and professionals from Asian countries bagging awards at the 17th Asian Film Awards on Sunday in Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong International Film & TV Market, or Filmart, opened on Monday as part of the monthlong Entertainment Expo Hong Kong.

Notable winners included Evil Does Not Exist from Japan for Best Film and Best Original Music, and Hirokazu Koreeda from Japan for Best Director for Monster. Jiang Qinqin from the Chinese mainland was declared the Best Actress for Dwelling by the West Lake, while Koji Yakusho from Japan was named Best Actor for his lead role in Perfect Days.

South Korean actress Lee Young-ae and Japanese actor Ryohei Suzuki received the Excellence in Asian Cinema Award. Veteran Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Nick Cheuk and Eric Lam, both from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, scored respectively with Best New Director for Time Still Turns the Pages and Best Production Design for The Goldfinger.

A total of 35 films from 24 countries and regions competed in 16 categories at this year's Asian Film Awards, a joint collaboration by the Busan, Hong Kong and Tokyo international film festivals celebrating excellence in Asian cinema.

Filmart attracts some 750 exhibitors from more than 25 countries and regions. It will be held through Thursday, featuring more than 30 regional pavilions.

This is the first time that the Indonesian government has sponsored a booth, said Reza Servia, a producer at Indonesian film production company StarVision Plus. Servia said he hopes to meet more distributors around the world who are interested in Indonesian content at Filmart.

"Not just distributors, but maybe opportunities for co-production, IP exchange," he said. "Just develop these relationships with people we have been out of touch with from (the pandemic)."

The Thai Ministry of Culture set up a Thai Pavilion and organized Thai Day on the first day of Filmart. The Hong Kong Trade Development Council signed a memorandum of understanding with the Department of International Trade Promotion of the Thai Ministry of Commerce to strengthen bilateral trade ties.

Chief Secretary for Administration Chan Kwok-ki said the Hong Kong government is determined to strengthen the region's position as an East-meets-West center for international cultural exchanges. "The entertainment industry is surely among our closest partners in achieving this goal," he said.

Chan said the government is restructuring the Create Hong Kong as the Cultural and Creative Industries Development agency to enhance support for the industries and everyone involved. A total of $130 million will be injected into the Film Development Fund.

In his welcoming remarks, Hong Kong Trade Development Council Chairman Peter Lam Kin-ngok said, "Asia has one of the largest and most dynamic entertainment industries in the world, and Hong Kong is located in the heart of Asia, making it the ideal location for the expo."

This year's Filmart sees a significant presence of exhibitors from the Chinese mainland, including Alibaba Culture& Entertainment Group and Bilibili that are participating for the first time.

The EntertainmentPulse will be held concurrently with Filmart to bring together global industry leaders to discuss a wide range of topics, including Hong Kong-Europe-Asia co-productions, and globalization of Chinese and Southeast Asian content.

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