The winner of a number of honorary awards were announced ahead of this year’s Asian Film Awards (AFA) ceremony.
Monster Hunt, which was competing for the AFA’s Sound and VFX gongs, received the Highest-Grossing Asian Film 2015 award for its RMB$2.44 billion (US$382 million) take. As regularly happens in China these days, with the continuing addition of new cinema screens, there’s already a new box office champion. Stephen Chow’s Chinese New Year release Mermaid passed RMB3 billion in its first three weeks on release.
Also proclaimed winners ahead of the event were two Lifetime Achievement Award honorees, Japanese actress Kiki Kirin and Hong Kong director Yuen Woo-ping. Kirin’s 50+ year career has seen her rack up over 100 credits and three Japanese Academy awards for Tokyo Tower, Chronicle of My Mother (both Best Actress) and Villain (Best Supporting Actress). Most recently, she gave a well-reviewed performance in Kawase Naomi’s Un Certain Regard 2015 opening title, An.
YUEN has action-choreographed over 60 films and directed nearly 30. Early in his career he made Drunken Master, bringing Jackie Chan and his comedic style of kung fu to mainstream attention. Having been action director for Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), Yuen directed the sequel Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny, recently released by Netflix and starring Donnie Yen, an AFA honorary awardee in 2014 alongside fellow Sword of Destiny star Michelle Yeoh.
At a private event the day before the AFA ceremony, the Asian Film Awards Academy (AFAA) presented Rising Star of Asia Awards to Hong Kong actor-singer Pakho Chau and Korean actress Clara Lee. It’s fair to note that neither have yet commanded much awareness beyond their own countries, each working primarily on domestic projects. Lee certainly worked harder in Macau, hosting the AFAs the night after she received her award.
Begun in 2007 by the Hong Kong IFF, the Asian Film Awards is now run by the Asian Film Awards Academy, founded by three of the region’s major festivals, Busan, Hong Kong and Tokyo. The Asian Film Awards, created by the HKIFF and now run by the AFA Academy, ran in Macau on 17 March, following industry events FILMART (14 – 17 March) and film financing forum/project market HAF (14 – 16 March) in Hong Kong