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AFA 2015 opens doors

Somewhat slower out of the blocks than usual, March’s Asian Film Awards (AFA) has just announced this year’s nominees and a few other salient details, like where and when the ceremony will take place.

Best Actress nominee Tang Wei in Best Director nominee Ann Hui's The GOlden Era, the AFA's most-nominated title this year

Best Actress nominee Tang Wei in Best Director nominee Ann Hui’s The Golden Era, the AFA’s most-nominated title this year

42 titles from eight countries will compete at this year’s AFA. A 14-strong jury led by Hong Kong filmmaker Mabel Cheung will make the decisions.

Last year the event moved out of Hong Kong, where it had run since its inaugural 2007 edition, to Macau. The shift was part of a revamp that saw event originator and organiser the Hong Kong International Film Festival team with Japan’s Tokyo IFF and Korea’s Busan IFF to create the Asian Film Awards Academy, which now runs the awards. The event will remain in Macau this year, although at a new venue.

Despite the move out of Hong Kong and the broadening of the organisation’s base last year, the 2014 awards were dominated by a Hong Kong title: Wong Kar Wai’s The Grandmaster taking seven awards.

While none of the 2015 nominees can repeat such a run, the latest film by another iconic Hong Kong filmmaker again leads the pack.

Ann Hui’s biopic of Chinese writer Xiao Hong, The Golden Era, has five AFA nominations, although not a Best Film nod. In 2012 Hui became the first woman to receive the AFA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Last year she was named Asian Filmmaker of the Year at Busan, where she presented The Golden Era.

Three of the six titles nominated for Best Film at this year’s AFA have four nominations apiece: DIAO Yinan’s 2014 Berlinale winner Black Coal, Thin Ice; LOU Ye’s Blind Massage; and Vishal BHARDWAJ’s Hamlet-inspired Haider, which is now the most-nominated Indian title at the Asian Film Awards.

Diao Yinan's Berlinale champion Black Coal, Thin Ice

Diao Yinan’s Berlinale champion Black Coal, Thin Ice

Gone with the Bullets, Jiang Wen’s follow up to festival success Let the Bullets Fly, took four nominations in the technical categories.

Among the names to western audiences outside of film festivals, director Gareth Evans is nominated for his editing work on The Raid 2: Berendahl, which had a theatrical release close to Easter last year; and actresses Bae Doo-Na (Cloud Atlas and currently in cinemas in Jupiter Ascending) and Gong Li (Memoirs of a Geisha, Miami Vice, Hannibal Rising), who go head to head in the Best Actress category.

Returning to the AFA from last year, William Chang Suk Ping is nominated for Gone With The Bullets. Chang won twice last year for Costume Design and Production Design on The Grandmaster.

Also back are KIM Wook and LI Qiang.

KIM returns with a VFX category nod for The Taking Of Tiger Mountain, having been nominated last year for the VFX gong with Hark’s Young Detective Dee: Rise Of The Sea Dragon; LI returns with Screenplay nomination for Hui’s The Golden Era, and was nominated in the same category last year with Zhao Wei’s So Young. Zhao herself has a nomination this year in the Best Actress category for Dearest.

The Asian Film Awards (AFA), of which the HKIFF is an organiser, run 25 March in Macau. Associated events include the Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF), the Hong Kong Asia Financing Forum (HAF, 23 – 25 March), market event FILMART (23 – 26 March), and the Hong Kong Film Awards (22 April), all of which run as part of the Hong Kong Entertainment Expo.

The 2015 AFA nominees are:

Best Film
Black Coal, Thin Ice
Blind Massage
Hill Of Freedom
Ode To My Father
The Light Shines Only There

Best Director
LOU Ye, Blind Massage
TSUKAMOTO Shinya, Fires On The Plain
Lav DIAZ, From What Is Before
Vishal BHARDWAJ, Haider
HONG Sang-soo, Hill Of Freedom
Ann HUI, The Golden Era

Best Actor
LIAO Fan, Black Coal, Thin Ice
KASE Ryo, Hill Of Freedom
Sean LAU Ching-wan, Overheard 3
Ethan RUAN, Paradise In Service
CHOI Min-sik, Roaring Currents
SATOH Takeru, Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends

Best Actress
Bae Doo-na, A Girl At My Door
GONG Li, Coming Home
ZHAO Wei, Dearest
Kalki KOECHLIN, Margarita, With A Straw
MIYAZAWA Rie, Pale Moon
TANG Wei, The Golden Era

Best Newcomer
DOH Kyung-soo, Cart
ZHANG Huiwen, Coming Home
Ivana WONG, Golden Chickensss
TOSAKA Hiroomi, Hot Road
ZHAN Huaiyun, Meeting Dr. Sun

Best Supporting Actor
CHO Jin-woong, A Hard Day
QIN Hao, Blind Massage
CHEN Jianbin, Paradise In Service
WANG Zhiwen, The Golden Era
ITO Hideaki, Wood Job!

Best Supporting Actress
HAN Ye-ri, Haemoo
Tabassum HASHMI, Haider
WAN Qian, Paradise In Service
IKEWAKI Chizuru, The Light Shines Only There
KUROKI Haru, The Little House

Best Screenwriter
KIM Seong-hun, A Hard Day
DIAO Yinan, Black Coal, Thin Ice
Chaitanya TAMHANE, Court
LI Qiang, The Golden Era
TAKADA Ryo, The Light Shines Only There

Best Cinematographer
DONG Jinsong, Black Coal, Thin Ice
ZENG Jian, Blind Massage
CHOI Chan-min, Kundo: Age Of The Rampant
KONDO Ryuto, My Man
Matt FLANNERY, Dimas Imam SUBHONO, The Raid 2: Berandal

Best Production Designer
LIU Qing, Gone With The Bullets
Subrata CHAKRABORTY, Amit RAY, Haider
PARK Il-hyun, Kundo: Age Of The Rampant
HAYASHIDA Yuji, SAKUSHIMA Eri, Over Your Dead Body
YI Zhenzhou, The Taking Of Tiger Mountain

Best Composer
CUI Jian, LIU Yuan, Blue Sky Bones
ZHANG Yilin, HISAISHI Joe, DOU Peng, George ACOGNY, SHU Nan, Gone With The Bullets
Mikey MCCLEARY, Margarita, With A Straw
MOWG, The Fatal Encounter
BCDMG, Tokyo Tribe

Best Editor
KIM Chang-ju, A Hard Day
SUNAGA Hiroshi, One Third
Patrick TAM, Curran PANG, That Demon Within
KWONG Chi-leung, Manda WAI, The Golden Era

Best Visual Effects
Rick SANDER, Christoph ZOLLINGER, Gone With The Bullets
YAMAZAKI Takashi, Parasyte
TONG Ka-wai, Ken LAW, Randy TSE, Lucky Tracy Hannah, The Midnight After
KANG Jong-ik, The Pirates
KIM Wook, The Taking Of Tiger Mountain

Best Costume Designer
LIANG Tingting, Brotherhood Of Blades
William CHANG Suk Ping, Gone With The Bullets
TSUGE Isao, Over Your Dead Body
CHONG Kyong-hee, The Fatal Encounter
KWON Yoo-jin, The Taking Of Tiger Mountain

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