The Asian Film Awards, hosted in Hong Kong on the opening night of the city’s Entertainment Expo, this year saw a featured a larger number of titles that have travelled beyond the region as either festival or wider releases.
The tenor of the event was a little muted compared to last year’s with the recent and ongoing events in Japan very much in many people’s minds. There were repeated mentions of the enormity of the event and moments taken to reflect on that throughout the ceremony – as at many of the other events going on this week.
Broadly, the geographical spread of the winners reflected that of the nominations. On a statue count, South Korea edged out China who edged out Japan, while Hong Kong, India, Taiwan and Thailand all came away with a gong apiece.
It was, predominantly, the festival fare that was rewarded. China’s highest grossing film and left having failed to convert any into wins.
The only multiple-awardee of the evening in the judged categories was Korea’s Lee Chang-dong, who took Best Director and Screenplay for Poetry.
In addition to the 14 competitive awards voted on by the judges, this year led by Chinese director Yonfan, the AFA also handed out four special awards at the 20 March ceremony: for lifetime achievement; outstanding contribution to Asian cinema; promotion of Asian cinema; and 2010 top grossing film.
The highest grossing film award is, these days, almost guaranteed to be a Chinese film, and also the award whose winner is known earliest, since most countries put out their annual box office charts early in each new year.
So, Aftershock took the award as the winner for 2010. It broke Chinese box office records at the time although Let the Bullets Fly (which was nominated in six categories) has since overtaken Aftershock. Of course, with so many new screens being built in China every week, it’s not necessarily a surprise that the record changes hands more rapidly than it might do elsewhere.
The lifetime achievement award went to 82 year-old Hong Kong producer Raymond Chow, who has over 150 titles titles to his credit including, back in the 70s, several of Bruce Lee’s films.
The Outstanding Contribution to Asian cinema went to recently retired founder and head of the Pusan Film Festival, Kim Dong-ho. The following day he turned up at the Korean stand in Filmart for their happy hour promotion and received the sort of mobbing usually reserved for actors.
The promotion of Asian cinema award went to Fortissimo Films and was collected by Michael Werner.
5TH ASIAN FILM AWARDS Winners (with ***)
Let the Bullets Fly [China/HK]
Peepli Live [India]
Poetry [South Korea]
***Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives [Thailand]
Feng Xiaogang; Aftershock [China/HK]
Jiang Wen; Let the Bullets Fly [China/HK]
***Lee Chang-dong; Poetry [South Korea]
Miike Takashi; Thirteen Assassins [Japan/UK]
Na Hong-jin; The Yellow Sea [South Korea]
Nakashima Tetsuya; Confessions [Japan]
Chow Yun-fat; Let the Bullets Fly [China/HK]
Ge You; Sacrifice [China]
*** Ha Jung-woo; The Yellow Sea [South Korea]
Ethan Ruan; Monga [Taiwan]
Yakusho Koji; Thirteen Assassins [Japan/UK]
Jeon Do-yeon; The Housemaid [South Korea]
Kikuchi Rinko; Norwegian Wood [Japan]
Matsu Takako; Confessions [Japan]
*** Xu Fan; Aftershock [China/HK]
Michelle Yeoh; Reign of Assassins [China/HK/Taiwan]
*** Mark Chao; Monga [Taiwan]
Aarif Lee; Echoes of the Rainbow [HK]
Omkar Das Manikpuri; Peepli Live [India]
T.O.P. (Choi Seung-hyun); 71 – Into the Fire [South Korea]
Zhou Dongyu; Under the Hawthorn Tree [China/HK]
Best Supporting Actor
Huang Xiaoming; Sacrifice [China]
*** Sammo Hung; Ip Man 2 [HK]
Okada Masaki; Confessions [Japan]
Ryu Seung-beom; The Unjust [South Korea]
Yu Hae-jin; Moss [South Korea]
Best Supporting Actress
Aoi Yu; About Her Brother [Japan]
Kimura Yoshino; Confessions [Japan]
Carina Lau; Let the Bullets Fly [China/HK]
Shanty Paredes; Madame X [Indonesia]
*** Yoon Yeo-jeong; The Housemaid [South Korea]
Jiang Wen; Let the Bullets Fly [China/HK]
Pang Ho-cheung, Heiward Mak; Love in a Puff [HK]
*** Lee Chang-dong ; Poetry [South Korea]
Su Chao-pin; Reign of Assassins [China/HK/Taiwan]
Park Hoon-jung; The Unjust [South Korea]
Lee Mogae; I Saw the Devil [South Korea]
Jake Pollock; Monga [Taiwan]
*** Mark Lee; Norwegian Wood [Japan]
Hassan Kydyraliyev; The Light Thief [Kyrgyzstan]
Kenny Tse; The Stool Pigeon [HK]
Best Production Designer
*** Hayashida Yuji; Thirteen Assassins [Japan/UK]
James CHOO; Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame [China/HK]
Eros Eflin; Madame X [Indonesia]
Max Huang, Chen Po-jen; Monga [Taiwan]
Lee Hwo-kyung; The Yellow Sea [South Korea]
Saito Kazuyoshi; Golden Slumber [Japan]
Sandee Chan; Monga [Taiwan]
*** Indian Ocean; Peepli Live [India]
Peter Kam; Reign of Assassins [China/HK/Taiwan]
Jang Young-kyu, Lee Byung-hoon; The Yellow Sea [South Korea]
Yamashita Kenji; Thirteen Assassins [Japan/UK]
Koike Yoshiyuki; Confessions [Japan]
*** Nam Na-young; I Saw the Devil [South Korea]
Hemanti Sarkar; Peepli Live [India]
Meng Peicong; Under the Hawthorn Tree [China/HK]
Best Visual Effects
Lee Hyuk, Park Eui-dong, Ryu Hee-jung; 71 – Into the Fire [South Korea]
*** Phil Jones; Aftershock [China/HK]
Phil Jones; Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame [China/HK]
Yamazaki Takashi; Space Battleship Yamato [Japan]
Park Jung-ryul; The Man from Nowhere [Japan]
Best Costume Designer
Sawataishi Kazuhiro; Thirteen Assassins [Japan/UK]
Bruce Yu; Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame [China/HK]
*** William Chang; Let the Bullets Fly [China/HK]
Yen Khe Luguern; Norwegian Wood [Japan]
Choi Se-yeon; The Housemaid [South Korea]