Category Archives: Movies

Asian Film Awards Honors Feng Xiaogang and Chen Kaige With Top Prizes

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Louis Koo won best actor for “Paradox” and Sylvia Chang won best actress for “Love Education”
at the 12th Asian Film Awards in Macau on Saturday night. 
PHOTO: Asian Film Awards Academy

HONG KONG — Chinese director Feng Xiaogang’s coming-of-age drama “Youth” picked up best film at the 12th Asian Film Awards on Saturday night, while the fantasy epic “Legend of the Demon Cat” — a Hong Kong, Japan and mainland China production from director Chen Kaige — picked up four awards, the most for any one film.

Louis Koo was named best actor for his role in the Hong Kong movie “Paradox,” which also won best action film.

Taiwanese actress Sylvia Chang received double awards: best actress for her performance in “Love Education” and the AFA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Chang is one of Asia’s most prominent filmmakers, working both in front of and behind the camera.

I’ve loved singing and performing since I was young, but I always felt uneasy in a photo studio. That’s how I gradually learned what I was good at,” Chang said in a statement prior to Saturday’s awards event. “You’ll always be attracted to what you like. If you keep running towards that forest, you’ll open up a world that grows bigger with time. That world has everything, and you’ll never stop learning about it.”

Previous recipients of the AFA’s Lifetime Achievement Award include Hong Kong filmmaker Tsui Hark, Korean director Im Kwon-taek, Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien, Hong Kong director Ann Hui, Hong Kong producer Raymond Chow, Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan and Japanese director Yoji Yamada.

Chen, the director of “Legend of the Demon Cat,” is one of China’s most critically acclaimed filmmakers. In 1993, his film “Farewell My Concubine” won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, the festival’s highest honor.

Film critic Maggie Lee described “Legend of the Demon Cat” as “a visually and mentally seductive piece of historic revisionism,” in her review for Variety, adding “this stunning blockbuster shows that a superior original source, vaunting artistic ambition and a $170 million budget can turn a potboiler supernatural whodunit into something of ravishing beauty.”

Other distinctions on Saturday night were given to Hong Kong actress Kara Wai Ying-hung, with the Excellence in Asian Cinema Award; Lim Yoon-a of South Korea with the AFA Next Generation Award; and the mainland Chinese blockbuster “Wolf Warrior 2” for the 2017 Top-Grossing Asian Film Award.

This year’s total 89 nominees were among 32 films from 10 countries competing in 17 categories, including two new sections: best new director and best action film. The awards ceremony was held at the Venetian hotel in Macau.

The full list of nominees and winners:

Best Film

  • “Angels Wear White” (France/Mainland China)
  • “Newton” (India)
  • “The Day After” (South Korea)
  • “The Third Murder” (Japan)
  • “Youth” (Mainland China)  – WINNER

Best Director

  • Chen Kaige, “Legend of the Demon Cat” (Hong Kong/Japan/Mainland China)
  • Sylvia Chang, “Love Education” (Mainland China/Taiwan)
  • Ann Hui, “Our Time Will Come” (Hong Kong/Mainland China)
  • Hong Sang-soo, “The Day After” (South Korea)
  • Yuya Ishii, “The Tokyo Night Sky Is Always the Densest Shade of Blue” (Japan)  – WINNER
  • Feng Xiaogang, “Youth” (Mainland China)

Best New Director

  • Vivian Qu, “Angels Wear White” (France/Mainland China)
  • Anucha Boonyawatana, “Malila: The Farewell Flower” (Thailand)
  • Huang Hsin-yao, “The Great Buddha+” (Taiwan)
  • Dong Yue, “The Looming Storm” (Mainland China)  – WINNER
  • Derek Hui, “This Is Not What I Expected” (Hong Kong/Mainland China
  • Yoshiyuki Kishi, “Wilderness” (Japan)

Best Actor

  • Kim Yun-seok, “1987: When the Day Comes” (South Korea)
  • Sukollawat Kanarot, “Malila: The Farewell Flower” (Thailand)
  • Rajkummar Rao, “Newton” (India)
  • Louis Koo, “Paradox” (Hong Kong)  – WINNER
  • Duan Yihong, “The Looming Storm” (Mainland China)

Best Actress

  • Yu Aoi, “Birds Without Names” (Japan)
  • Sylvia Chang, “Love Education” (Mainland China/Taiwan)  – WINNER
  • Marsha Timothy, “Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts” (France/Indonesia/Malaysia/Thailand)
  • Kim Min-hee, “The Day After” (South Korea)
  • Zhou Dongyu, “This Is Not What I Expected” (Hong Kong/Mainland China)

Best Supporting Actor

  • Yoo Hae-jin, “A Taxi Driver” (South Korea)
  • Geng Le, “Angels Wear White” (France/Mainland China)
  • Tian Zhuangzhuang, “Love Education” (Mainland China/Taiwan)
  • Eddie Peng, “Our Time Will Come” (Hong Kong/Mainland China)
  • Yang Ik-joon, “Wilderness” (Japan)  – WINNER

Best Supporting Actress

  • Choi Hee-seo, “Anarchist from Colony” (South Korea)
  • Hana Sugisaki, “Blade of the Immortal” (Japan)
  • Kitty Zhang Yuqi, “Legend of the Demon Cat” (Hong Kong/Japan/Mainland China)  – WINNER
  • Estelle Wu, “Love Education” (Mainland China/Taiwan)
  • Suzu Hirose, “The Third Murder” (Japan)

Best Newcomer

  • Zhou Meijun, “Angels Wear White” (France/Mainland China)
  • Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying, “Bad Genius” (Thailand)  – WINNER
  • Lim Yoon-a, “Confidential Assignment” (South Korea)
  • Ling Man-lung, “Tomorrow Is Another Day” (Hong Kong/Mainland China)
  • Akari Kinoshita, “Wilderness” (Japan)
  • Zhong Chuxi, “Youth” (Mainland China)

Best Action Film

  • “Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds” (South Korea)
  • “Blade of the Immortal” (Japan)
  • “Brotherhood of Blades II: The Infernal Battlefield” (Mainland China)
  • “Paradox” (Hong Kong)  – WINNER
  • “The Thousand Faces of Dunjia” (Hong Kong/Mainland China)

Best Screenplay

  • Hwang Seong-gu, “Anarchist from Colony” (South Korea)
  • Tanida Hantaweewatana, Vasudhorn Piyaromna, Nattawut Poonpiriya, “Bad Genius” (Thailand)
  • Sylvia Chang, You Xiaoying, “Love Education” (Mainland China/Taiwan)
  • Mayank Tewari, Amit V. Masurkar, “Newton” (India) – WINNER
  • Yan Geling, “Youth” (Mainland China)

Best Editing

  • Li Nien-hsiu, “mon mon mon MONSTERS” (Taiwan)
  • Mary Stephen, Kong Chi-leung, “Our Time Will Come” (Hong Kong/Mainland China)
  • Shin Min-kyung, “The King” (South Korea)  – WINNER
  • Hirokazu Kore-eda, “The Third Murder” (Japan)
  • Zhang Qi, “Youth” (Mainland China)

Best Cinematography

  • Cao Yu, “Legend of the Demon Cat” (Hong Kong/Japan/Mainland China)
  • Yunus Pasolang, “Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts” (France/Indonesia/Malaysia/Thailand)
  • Kim Ji-yong, “The Fortress” (South Korea)  – WINNER
  • Nagao Nakashima, “The Great Buddha+” (Taiwan)
  • Mikita Takimoto, “The Third Murder” (Japan)

Best Original Music

  • Jo Young-wook, “A Taxi Driver” (South Korea)
  • Wen Zi, “Angels Wear White” (France/Mainland China)
  • Joe Hisaishi, “Our Time Will Come” (Hong Kong/Mainland China)  – WINNER
  • Lin Sheng-xiang, “The Great Buddha+” (Taiwan)
  • Taro Iwashiro, “Wilderness” (Japan)

Best Costume Design

  • Shim Hyun-sup, “Anarchist from Colony” (South Korea)
  • Rama Rajamouli, Prashanti Tipirineni, “Baahubali 2: The Conclusion” (India)
  • Yuya Maeda, “Blade of the Immortal” (Japan)
  • Chen Tongxun, “Legend of the Demon Cat” (Hong Kong/Japan/Mainland China)  – WINNER
  • Shirley Chan, “The Thousand Faces of Dunjia” (Hong Kong/Mainland China)

Best Production Design

  • Lee Mok-won, “Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds” (South Korea)
  • Tu Nan, Lu Wei, “Legend of the Demon Cat” (Hong Kong/Japan/Mainland China)  – WINNER
  • Frans Paat, “Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts” (France/Indonesia/Malaysia/Thailand)
  • Yohei Taneda, “The Third Murder” (Japan)
  • Ben Luk, “This Is Not What I Expected” (Hong Kong/Mainland China)

Best Visual Effects

  • Jin Jong-hyun, “Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds” (South Korea)
  • Ankur Sachdev, “Baahubali 2: The Conclusion” (India)
  • Shingo Kobayashi, “Gintama” (Japan)
  • Norio Ishii, “Legend of the Demon Cat” (Hong Kong/Japan/Mainland China)  – WINNER
  • Huang Mei-cing, Pao Cheng-hsun, “mon mon mon MONSTERS” (Taiwan)
  • Jang Seong-ho, Park Young-soo, Son Ohh-young, “The Thousand Faces of Dunjia” (Hong Kong/Mainland China)

Best Sound

  • Wang Gang, “Brotherhood of Blades II: The Infernal Battlefield” (Mainland China)
  • Khikmawan Santosa, “Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts” (France/Indonesia/Malaysia/Thailand)
  • Tu Du-chih, Wu Shu-yao, Tu Chun-tang, “mon mon mon MONSTERS” (Taiwan)
  • Choi Tae-young, “The Fortress” (South Korea)
  • Tu Du-chih, Wu Shu-yao, “The Great Buddha+” (Taiwan)  – WINNER

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Director Feng Xiaogang accepting the award for best film, “Youth,” from Mainland China.
PHOTO: Asian Film Awards Academy

‘Trivisa’ and ‘Mad World’ Are Favorites at Hong Kong Film Awards

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Kara Wai Ying-hung paid tribute to her mother while accepting
the award for best actress in ‘Happiness.’
Featured image photo: Gordon Lam Ka-tung accepting the best actor award.
PHOTOS: Hong Kong Film Awards, via Facebook

HONG KONG — The gangster drama “Trivisa” took top honors at the Hong Kong Film Awards on Sunday night, winning best film, director,  actor, screenplay and editing.

“Trivisa,” about three gang leaders facing a changing criminal landscape amid Hong Kong’s 1997 handover, was directed by a trio of new directors and produced by Johnnie To. The film, which premiered at last year’s Berlin International Film Festival, received strong reviews and was named best film by the Hong Kong Film Critics Society in January.

The award for best film was presented by Hong Kong movie royalty: Nansun Shi, Raymond Wong, Eric Tsang, Teddy Robin, Karl Maka and Dean Shek, the team behind Hong Kong’s legendary Cinema City studio, which produced a string of hit movies in the 1980s.

One of the night’s highlights came as Kara Wai Ying-hung won best actress for  “Happiness,” a drama about a woman with dementia. It was Ms. Wai’s third Hong Kong Film Awards honor for best actress.

Ms. Wai, who began her career as a martial-arts performer, gave an emotional acceptance speech in which she paid tribute to her mother, who died recently of Alzheimer’s disease.

“I want her to know that I have brought glory to the family,” Ms. Wai said, as tears streamed across her face. “I hope she would say ‘I am proud of you,’ and, mom, I didn’t cause the Wai family to lose face.”

Ms. Wai also thanked Albert Yeung, the head of Emperor Motion Pictures, for investing in a film that was close to her heart but had limited commercial prospects.

Another favorite going into the awards was “Mad World,” a drama about a young man with mental illness. It picked up three awards, for best supporting actor and actress, and best new director for Wong Chun.

The full list of nominees and winners:

Best Film

  • “Soul Mate”
  • “The Mermaid”
  • “Cold War 2”
  • “Trivisa”  – WINNER
  • “Weeds on Fire”

Best Director

  • Wong Chun, “Mad World”
  • Derek Tsang, “Soul Mate”
  • Johnnie To, “Three”
  • Stephen Chow, “The Mermaid”
  • Frank Hui, Jevons Au, Vicky Wong, “Trivisa”  – WINNER

Best Actor

  • Shawn Yu, “Mad World”
  • Francis Ng, “Shed Skin Papa”
  • Tony Leung Ka-fai, “Cold War 2”
  • Richie Jen, “Trivisa”
  • Gordon Lam Ka-tung, “Trivisa”  – WINNER

Best Actress

  • Zhou Dongyu, “Soul Mate”
  • Ma Sichun, “Soul Mate”
  • Nina Paw, “Show Me Your Love”
  • Tang Wei, “Book of Love”
  • Kara Wai Ying-hung, “Happiness”  – WINNER

Best Supporting Actor

  • Eric Tsang, “Mad World”  – WINNER
  • Paul Chin, “Book of Love”
  • Ng Mang-tat, “The Menu”
  • Philip Keung, “Trivisa”
  • Liu Kai-chi, “Weeds on Fire”

Best Supporting Actress

  • Charmaine Fong, “Mad World”
  • Elaine Jin, “Mad World”  – WINNER
  • Zhang Yuqi, “The Mermaid”
  • Fish Liew, “Sisterhood”
  • Janice Man, “Cold War 2”

Best New Performer

  • James Ng, “Happiness”
  • Jelly Lin, “The Mermaid”
  • Jennifer Yu, “Sisterhood”
  • Wu Tsz-tung, “Weeds on Fire”  – WINNER
  • Tam Sin-yin, “Weeds on Fire”

Best Screenplay

  • Florence Chan, “Mad World”
  • Lam Wing-sum, Li Yuan, Xu Yimeng, Wu Nan, “Soul Mate”
  • Stephen Chow, Kelvin Lee Si-zhen, Ho Miu-ki, Lu Zhengyu, Fung Chih-chiang, Chan Hing-kai, Y. Y. Kong, Tsang Kan-cheung, “The Mermaid”
  • Longman Leung, Sunny Luk, Jack Ng, “Cold War 2”
  • Loong Man-hong, Thomas Ng, Mak Tin-shu, “Trivisa” – WINNER

Best Cinematography

  • Jake Pollock, Jing-ping Yu, “Soul Mate”
  • Cheng Siu-keung, To Hung-mo, “Three”
  • Jason Kwan, “Cold War 2”
  • O Sing-pui, “Weeds on Fire”
  • Peter Pau, Cao Yu, “See You Tomorrow”  – WINNER

Best Film Editing

  • Derek Hui, Li Dianshi, Zhou Xiaolin, Tan Xiangyuan, “Soul Mate”
  • Jordan Goldman, Ron Chan, “Cold War 2”
  • David Richardson, “Operation Mekong”
  • Allen Leung, David Richardson, “Trivisa”  – WINNER
  • David Wu, “See You Tomorrow”

Best Art Direction

  • Zhai Tao, “Soul Mate”
  • Silver Cheung, Fion Lee, Wu Zhen, Chong Kwok-wing, “Sword Master”
  • Daniel Fu, “The Monkey King 2”
  • Raymond Chan Kam-ho, “The Mermaid”
  • Alfred Yau, “See You Tomorrow”  – WINNER

Best Costume and Makeup Design

  • Dora Ng, “Soul Mate”
  • Stanley Cheung, “Sword Master”
  • Kenneth Yee Chung-man, Dora Ng, “The Monkey King 2”  – WINNER
  • William Chang, Lui Fung-shan, “League of Gods”
  • William Chang, Cheung Siu-hong, “See You Tomorrow”

Best Action Choreography

  • Yuen Bun, Dion Lam, “Sword Master”
  • Sammo Hung, “Call of Heroes”
  • Sammo Hung, “The Monkey King 2”
  • Chin Ka-lok, “Cold War 2”
  • Tung Wai, “Operation Mekong”  – WINNER

Best Original Film Score

  • Yusuke Hatano, “Mad World”
  • Peter Kam, Yusuke Hatano, “Soul Mate”  – WINNER
  • Peter Kam, “Cold War 2”
  • Day Tai, “Weeds on Fire”
  • Nathaniel Mechaly, “See You Tomorrow”

Best Original Film Song

  • “(It’s Not A Crime) It’s Just What We Do,” Composer/Lyric/Sung by: Leah Dou, “Soul Mate”
  • “Wu Di,” Composer/Lyric: Stephen Chow, Sung by: Deng Chao, “The Mermaid”
  • “Anthem of Shatin Martins,” Composer: Day Tai, Lyric: Saville Chan, Sung by: Supper Moment, “Weeds on Fire”  – WINNER
  • “Better Tomorrow,” Composer/Lyric/Sung by: Yusuke Hatano, “Happiness”
  • “Keep Me by Your Side,” Composer/Lyric: Tang Hanxiao, Sung by: Eason Chan, “See You Tomorrow”

Best Sound Design

  • Kinson Tsang, George Lee Yiu-keung, Yiu Chun-hin, Lai Chi-hung, “Sword Master”
  • Jay Yin, “The Monkey King 2”
  • Kinson Tsang, George Lee Yiu-keung, “Cold War 2”  – WINNER
  • Nopawat Likitwong, Kaikangwol Rungsakorn, Sarunyu Nurnsai, Stan Yau, “Operation Mekong”
  • Robert Mackenzie, “See You Tomorrow”

Best Visual Effects

  • Luke Sungjin Jung, “Sword Master”
  • Luke Sungjin Jung, Kim Sang-hun, Kim Chan-soo, Kim Chul-min, “The Monkey King 2”  – WINNER
  • Ken Law Wai-ho, Lee Inho, Kang Taegyun, Marco Ng, “The Mermaid”
  • Yee Kwok-leung, Raymond Leung, “Cold War 2”
  • Yee Kwok-leung, Felix Lai Tsz-fei, Kang Taegyun, “Operation Mekong”

Best New Director

  • Wong Chun, “Mad World”  – WINNER
  • Derek Tsang, “Soul Mate”
  • Jazz Boon, “Line Walker”
  • Andy Lo, “Happiness”
  • Steve Chan (a.k.a. Stevefat), “Weeds on Fire”

Best Film From Mainland China and Taiwan

  • “Godspeed”  – WINNER
  • “Chongqing Hot Pot”
  • “The Road To Mandalay”
  • “Mr. Six”
  • “I Am Not Madame Bovary”

South Korea and China Sweep Asian Film Awards

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Hong Kong filmmaker Tsui Hark received the Lifetime Achievement Award.
PHOTO: Asian Film Awards Academy

HONG KONG — Films from South Korea and China grabbed the majority of honors at the 11th Asian Film Awards on Tuesday night, with “The Handmaiden” from South Korea leading with four awards and “I Am Not Madame Bovary” from China grabbing three.

“I Am Not Madame Bovary” took home the night’s top honor – best film – as well as two other awards: best actress for Fan Bingbing and best cinematography. “The Handmaiden” won best supporting actress for Moon So-ri, best newcomer for Kim Tae-ri, best costume design and best production design.

Japanese movies picked up a pair of awards – best actor for Tadanobu Asano in “Harmonium” and best visual effects for “Shin Godzilla” – while films from Hong Kong, Singapore and Iran picked up one award each

One of the night’s major highlights came as veteran Hong Kong filmmaker Tsui Hark accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award for “recognition of his fundamental achievements and a lasting impact of outstanding artistic, cultural and commercial significance in Asian cinema,” the AFA said in a statement.

Previous recipients of the AFA’s Lifetime Achievement Award include Hong Kong action choreographer-director Yuen Wo-ping, Korean director Im Kwon-taek, Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien, Hong Kong director Ann Hui, Hong Kong producer Raymond Chow, Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan and Japanese director Yoji Yamada.

Other honorees at the 11th AFA on Tuesday night included Hong Kong actress and singer Sammi Cheng, who received the Excellence in Asian Cinema award for her “distinguished talents and affirmation of her achievements and contributions to Asian film industry and culture,” the AFA said.

The Rising Star of Asia award went to Chinese actress Jelly Li “for her exceptional talent and breakthrough in Asian cinema in the past year.” Ms. Li also was a nominee this year in the best newcomer category for “The Mermaid.”

The awards ceremony was held at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre.

The full list of nominees and winners:

Best Film

  • “The Wailing” (South Korea)
  • “The Age of Shadows” (South Korea)
  • “Harmonium” (Japan)
  • “Godspeed” (Taiwan)
  • “I Am Not Madame Bovary” (China)  – WINNER

Best Director

  • Na Hong-jin, “The Wailing” (South Korea)  – WINNER
  • Koji Fukada, “ Harmonium” (Japan)
  • Derek Tsang, “Soul Mate” (Hong Kong/China)
  • Feng Xiaogang, “I Am Not Madame Bovary” (China)
  • Lav Diaz, “The Woman Who Left” (Philippines)

Best Actor

  • Michael Hui, “Godspeed” (Taiwan)
  • Gong Yoo, “Train to Busan” (South Korea)
  • Tadanobu Asano, “Harmonium” (Japan)  – WINNER
  • Fan Wei, “Mr. No Problem” (China)
  • Richie Jen, “Trivisa” (Hong Kong)

Best Actress

  • Son Ye-jin, “The Last Princess” (South Korea)
  • Fan Bingbing, “I Am Not Madame Bovary” (China)  – WINNER
  • Haru Kuroki, “A Bride for Rip Van Winkle” (Japan)
  • Kara Wai, “Happiness” (Hong Kong)
  • Charo Santos-Concio, “The Woman Who Left” (Philippines)

Best Supporting Actor

  • Jun Kunimura, “The Wailing” (South Korea)
  • Ma Dong-seok, “Train to Busan” (South Korea)
  • Go Ayano, “Rage” (Japan)
  • Dong Chengpeng/Da Peng, “I Am Not Madame Bovary” (China)
  • Lam Suet, “Trivisa” (Hong Kong)  – WINNER

Best Supporting Actress

  • Elaine Jin, “Mad World” (Hong Kong)
  • Moon So-ri, “The Handmaiden” (South Korea)  – WINNER
  • Atsuko Maeda, “The Mohican Comes Home” (Japan)
  • Shabana Azmi, “Neerja” (India)
  • Lynn Xiong, “See You Tomorrow” (Hong Kong/Mainland China)

Best Newcomer

  • Kim Tae-ri, “The Handmaiden” (South Korea)  – WINNER
  • Takara Sakumoto, “Rage” (Japan)
  • Fir Rahman, “Apprentice” (Singapore)
  • Wu Tsz-tung, “Weeds on Fire” (Hong Kong)
  • Lin Yun, “The Mermaid” (China)

Best Screenplay

  • Asghar Farhadi, “The Salesman” (Iran) – WINNER
  • Lav Diaz, “The Woman Who Left” (Philippines)
  • Makoto Shinkai, “Your Name” (Japan)
  • Park Chan-wook, Jeong Seo-gyeong, “The Handmaiden” (South Korea)
  • Mak Tin-shu, Lung Man-hong, Thomas Ng, “Trivisa” (Hong Kong)

Best Editing

  • Kim Sang-bum, Kim Jae-bum, “The Handmaiden” (South Korea)
  • Tsuyoshi Imai, “Rage” (Japan)
  • Yang Jin-mo, “Train to Busan” (South Korea)
  • Lee Chatametikool, Natalie Soh, “Apprentice” (Singapore)  – WINNER
  • David Richardson, “Operation Mekong” (Hong Kong/China)

Best Cinematography

  • Yutaka Yamazaki, “After the Storm” (Japan)
  • Kim Ji-yong, “The Age of Shadows” (South Korea)
  • Luo Pan, “I Am Not Madame Bovary” (China)  – WINNER
  • Zhu Jinjing, “Mr. No Problem” (China)
  • Du Jie, “The Wasted Times” (China)

Best Original Music

  • Yusuke Hatano, Peter Kam, “Soul Mate” (China)
  • Mowg, “The Age of Shadows” (South Korea)  – WINNER
  • Xavier Jamaux, “Three” (Hong Kong)
  • Tseng Si-ming, “Godspeed” (Taiwan)
  • Ryuichi Sakamoto, “Rage” (Japan)

Best Costume Design

  • Kenneth Yee Chung-man, “The Wasted Times” (China)
  • Jo Sang-gyeong, “The Handmaiden” (South Korea)  – WINNER
  • Kazuko Kurosawa, “The Sanada Ten Braves” (Japan)
  • Kwon Yoo-jin, Rim Seung-hee, “Train to Busan” (South Korea)
  • William Chang, Cheung Siu-hong, “See You Tomorrow” (Hong Kong/China)

Best Production Design

  • Ryu Seong-hee, “The Handmaiden” (South Korea)  – WINNER
  • Kang Seung-yong, “Pandora” (South Korea)
  • Kyoko Heya, “A Bride for Rip Van Winkle” (Japan)
  • Alfred Yau, “See You Tomorrow” (Hong Kong/China)
  • Feng Ligang, “Railroad Tigers” (China)

Best Visual Effects

  • Jung Hwang-su, “Train to Busan” (South Korea)
  • Tetsuo Ohya, “Shin Godzilla” (Japan)  – WINNER
  • Sun Li, Sheng Yong, Sam Wang, Sun Jing, “Railroad Tigers” (China)
  • Perry Kain, Johnny Lin, Thomas Reppen, “See You Tomorrow” (Hong Kong/China)

Best Sound

  • Kim Dong-han, “The Wailing” (South Korea)
  • Fang Tao, Hao Zhiyu, “Crosscurrent” (China)  – WINNER
  • Jun Nakamura, “Shin Godzilla” (Japan)
  • Kinson Tsang, George Lee, “Cold War 2” (Hong Kong/China)

Hong Kong’s ‘Port of Call’ Selected as Foreign-Language Oscar Entry

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Aaron Kwok in a scene from ‘Port of Call.’
PHOTO: The Hong Kong International Film Festival Society

Hong Kong’s Motion Picture Industry Association has submitted “Port of Call” by director Philip Yung to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as it entry in the foreign-language film category.

The gritty psychological thriller – inspired by a grisly real-life murder in Hong Kong of a teenage girl from mainland China – premiered at the 39th Hong Kong International Film Festival in 2015 as the closing film and has since been showered with awards.

At the Hong Kong Film Awards in April, it won best actor for Aaron Kwok, best actress for Jessie Li, best supporting actor and best new performer for Michael Ning, best supporting actress for Elaine Jin, best cinematography for Christopher Doyle and best screenplay for Mr. Yung. The Hong Kong Film Critics Society named “Port of Call” as best film of 2015, and it also picked up additional honors at the Asian Film Awards, the Golden Horse Awards in Taiwan and South Korea’s Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival.

The Academy’s foreign-language film nominees are decided in two phases, eginning with a shortlist of nine films selected by a committee. That list is later narrowed to five nominated films, which are voted on by all Academy members who have screened them.

The Oscar ceremony will be held in Hollywood on Feb. 26.

Singapore Submits ‘Apprentice’ for Foreign-Language Film Oscar

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A scene from Singapore director Boo Junfeng’s “Apprentice.”
PHOTO: Festival de Cannes

The Singapore Film Commission has selected director Boo Junfeng’s film “Apprentice” as the country’s official submission to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the best foreign-language film category.

Mr. Boo’s film is a psychological drama about a young correctional officer who is transferred to Singapore’s top prison, where he develops a friendship with the chief executioner.

“It’s a huge honor, and I am very thankful that the Singapore Film Commission has selected “Apprentice” as Singapore’s entry to the Oscars,” Mr. Boo said in a statement. “We have been very encouraged by the response to the film in Singapore and around the world, and this news comes as another big boost for us,” he said.

“Apprentice” received strong reviews at its premiere in May in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival. The film had a successful run this summer in Singapore, where it played for more than eight weeks. The film currently is screening at the Toronto International Film Festival, and it will have its Asian festival premiere at the Busan International Film Festival in October.

The Singapore Film Commission’s director, Joachim Ng, praised the film. “Apprentice” was selected because “it explores complex and sensitive themes while preserving an honest insight to the characters’ internal conflict and emotions,” Mr. Ng said in the same statement. “We believe the film will resonate with international audiences,” he added. “Films like ‘Apprentice’ continue to showcase the quality works by Singaporean filmmakers.”

“Apprentice” is the second feature film by Mr. Boo, following “Sandcastle,” which held its premiere at the International Critics’ Week in Cannes in 2010.

The Academy’s foreign-language film nominees are decided in two phases, beginning with a shortlist of nine films selected by a committee. That list is later narrowed to five nominated films, which are voted on by all Academy members who have screened them.

A Singaporean film has never been nominated for an Academy Award in the foreign-language film category. The Oscar ceremony will be held in Hollywood on Feb. 26.

Kaori Momoi: The Art of Playing a Prostitute

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Kaori Momoi at the screening of ‘Hee’ in Hong Kong on March 31.
PHOTO: Hong Kong International Film Festival Society

Japanese actress Kaori Momoi is in Hong Kong this week to present her film “Hee” at the 40th Hong Kong International Film Festival. “Hee” had its premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival in February, and the Hong Kong screening marks the film’s Asian premiere.

Ms. Momoi both directed the film and took the lead role of an ageing prostitute who has been accused of murdering her family and is now seeing a psychiatrist.

As part of my work for the HKIFF , I attended the film’s screening and wrote up an article based on the Q&A that Ms. Momoi conducted with the audience. It can be read here.

‘The Assassin’ Wins Big at Asian Film Awards

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South Korean actor Lee Byung-hun and Taiwanese actress Shu Qi celebrate
their acting honors at Thursday’s Asian Film Awards in Macau.
PHOTO: Asian Film Awards

The martial-arts drama “The Assassin” took top honors at the 10th Asian Film Awards on Thursday, winning eight prizes including best film, director and actress.

Taiwan director Hou Hsiao-hsien’s sword-play art-house film stars actress Shu Qi as an expert assassin in 9th-century China. The film also won awards for best supporting actress (Zhou Yun), cinematography (Mark Lee Ping-bing), production design, original music and sound.

South Korean actor Lee Byung-hun won best actor for the political thriller “Inside Men,” while Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke won best screenplay for “Mountains May Depart,” a striking drama looking at societal changes in modern China over 25 years.

The AFA also presented lifetime achievement awards to Hong Kong action choreographer-director Yuen Wo-ping and Japanese actress Kirin Kiki. 

Hong Kong director Johnnie To was president of this year’s jury, which included two celebrity jurors — actor Sean Lau Ching-wan from Hong Kong and actress Gao Yuanyuan from mainland China — 12 film industry professionals, festival programmers and critics from around the world.

The Asian Film Awards are organized Asia’s major film festivals: The Hong Kong International Film Festival, the Busan International Film Festival and the Tokyo International Film Festival.

This year’s total 77 nominees among 36 films from nine countries competed in 15 categories. The awards ceremony was held at the Venetian hotel in Macau.

The full list of nominees and winners:

Best Film

  • “Mountains May Depart” (France/Japan/Mainland China)
  • “The Assassin” (Hong Kong/Mainland China/Taiwan)  – WINNER
  • “Bajirao Mastani” (India)
  • “The Lunchbox” (India)
  • “Three Stories of Love” (Japan)
  • “Mr. Six ” (Mainland China)
  • “Veteran” (South Korea)

Best Director

  • Jia Zhangke, “Mountains May Depart” (France/Japan/Mainland China)
  • Hou Hsiao-hsien, “The Assassin” (Hong Kong/Mainland China/Taiwan)  – WINNER
  • Hirokazu Koreeda, “Our Little Sister” (Japan)
  • Guan Hu, “Mr. Six ” (Mainland China)
  • Ryoo Seung-wan, “Veteran” (South Korea)

Best Actor

  • Donnie Yen, “Ip Man 3” (Hong Kong)
  • Masatoshi Nagase, “An” (France/Germany/Japan)
  • Feng Xiaogang, “Mr. Six” (Mainland China)
  • Lee Byung-hun, “Inside Men” (South Korea) – WINNER
  • John Arcilla, “Heneral Luna” (The Philippines)

Best Actress

  • Zhao Tao, “Mountains May Depart” (France/Japan/Mainland China)
  • Shu Qi, “The Assassin” (Hong Kong/Mainland China/Taiwan)  – WINNER
  • Haruka Ayase, “Our Little Sister” (Japan)
  • Kim Hye-soo, “Coin Locker Girl” (South Korea)
  • Karena Lam, “Zinnia Flower” (Taiwan)

Best Newcomer

  • Vicky Kaushal, “Masaan” (France/India)
  • Jesse Li, “Port of Call” (Hong Kong) – WINNER
  • Ryoko Fujino, “Solomon’s Perjury, Solomon’s Perjury 2” (Japan)
  • Kim Seol-hyun, “Gangnam Blues” (South Korea)
  • Lee Hong-chi, “Thanatos, Drunk” (Taiwan)
  • Waruntorn Paonil, “Snap” (Thailand)

Best Supporting Actor

  • Max Zhang, “Ip Man 3” (Hong Kong)
  • Michael Ning, “Port of Call” (Hong Kong)
  • Tadanobu Asano, “Journey to the Shore” (France/Japan) – WINNER
  • Oh Dal-soo, “Assassination” (South Korea)
  • Cheng Jen-shuo, “Thanatos, Drunk” (Taiwan)

Best Supporting Actress

  • Zhou Yun, “The Assassin” (Hong Kong/Mainland China/Taiwan) – WINNER
  • Anna Tsuchiya, “Gonin Saga” (Japan)
  • Cherry Ngan, “Mojin – The Lost Legend” (Mainland China)
  • Juri Ueno, “The Beauty Inside” (South Korea)
  • Park So-dam, “The Priests” (South Korea)

Best Screenplay

  • Jia Zhangke, “Mountains May Depart” (France/Japan/Mainland China) – WINNER
  • Philip Yung, “Port of Call” (Hong Kong)
  • Vishal Bhardwaj, “Talvar” (India)
  • Takashi Ujita, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, “Journey to the Shore” (France/Japan)
  • Ryoo Seung-wan, “Veteran” (South Korea)

Best Cinematography

  • Christopher Doyle, “Port of Call” (Hong Kong)
  • Mark Lee Ping-bing, “The Assassin” (Hong Kong/Mainland China/Taiwan)  – WINNER
  • Yasushi Sasakibara, Yoshiaki Yamamoto, “Gonin Saga” (Japan)
  • Luo Pan, “Mr. Six” (Mainland China)
  • Kim Woo-hyung, “Assassination” (South Korea)

Best Production Design

  • Ken Mak, “Ip Man 3” (Hong Kong)
  • Hwarng Wern-ying, “The Assassin” (Hong Kong/Mainland China/Taiwan)  – WINNER
  • Tetsuo Harada, “Kakekomi” (Japan)
  • Cho Hwa-sung, “Inside Men” (South Korea)
  • Benjamin Padero, Carlo Tabije, “Heneral Luna” (The Philippines)

Best Original Music

  • Lim Giong, “The Assassin” (Hong Kong/Mainland China/Taiwan)  – WINNER
  • Sanjay Leela Bhansali, “Bajirao Mastani” (India)
  • Amit Trivedi, “Bombay Velvet” (India)
  • Naoko Eto, Yoshihide Otomo, “Journey to the Shore” (France/Japan)
  • BANG Joon-seok, “The Throne” (South Korea)

Best Editing

  • William Chang, Chu Ka-yat, Liao Ching-sung, Wong Hoi, Philip Yung, “Port of Call” (Hong Kong) – WINNER
  • Rajesh Pandey, “Bajirao Mastani” (India)
  • Yasuyuki Ozeki, “Bakuman” (Japan)
  • Tu Yiran, “Jian Bing Man” (Mainland China)
  • Kim Jae-bum, Kim Sang-beom, “Veteran” (South Korea)

Best Visual Effects

  • Ellen Poon, Jason H. Snell, Tang Bingbing, “Monster Hunt” (Hong Kong/Mainland China)
  • Srinivas Mohan, “Baahubali: The Beginning” (India)
  • Prasad Sutar, “Bajirao Mastani” (India) – WINNER
  • Katsuro Onoue, “Attack on Titan” (Japan)
  • Cho Yong-seok, Choi Jae-cheon, Lee Jeon-hyoung, “The Tiger” (South Korea)

Best Costume Design

  • Hwarng Wern-ying, “The Assassin” (Hong Kong/Mainland China/Taiwan)
  • Maxima Basu, Anju Modi, “Bajirao Mastani” (India)
  • Masae Miyamoto, “Kakekomi” (Japan)
  • Lee Ji-yeon, Shim Hyun-seob, “The Throne” (South Korea) – WINNER
  • Carlo Tabije, “Heneral Luna” (The Philippines)

Best Sound

  • Lee George Yiu-keung, Kinson Tsang, Yiu Chun-hin, “Monster Hunt” (Hong Kong/Mainland China)
  • Chu Shih-yi, Tu Duu-chih, Wu Shu-yao, “The Assassin” (Hong Kong/Mainland China/Taiwan)  – WINNER
  • Shinji Watanabe, “Bakuman” (Japan)
  • Toru Nishiyama, “The Inerasable” (Japan)
  • Kim Suk-won, Park Joo-gang, “Assassination” (South Korea)