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Monday, June 20, 2011

Asian New Talent 2011 Award Ceremony

Yup, got back from Shanghai last night.

The Asian New Talent Award Competition was established in 2004 by the Shanghai International Film Festival for Asian filmmakers making their first or second film, kinda like Pusan's NEW CURRENTS competition, or Rotterdam's Tiger Awards.

The award ceremony was held on the 17th of June. (here are the results)

9 films were in competition this year. Iwai Shunji was the jury president, others in the jury were HK director Alex Law, Film Business Asia critic Derek Elley, Chinese actor Xia Yu and Taiwanese actress Guey Lun Mei.

It was only four years ago when I gushed over BLUE GATE CROSSING, a 2002 Taiwanese film. I was mesmerized by the lyrical beauty and subtlety of its simple love story, amazed by the performance of its lead, Guey Lun Mei, who was then some schoolgirl plucked off the streets to make her film debut (I think). Of course, after gaining wider recognition by pretty much stealing the entire show in Jay Chou's SECRET (2007), she had continued pulling off one memorable performance after another (the most recent being last year's STOOL PIGEON).

Filipino filmmaker Sheron Deyoc, Taiwanese actress Guey Lun Mei and me

Four years ago felt like a different life. It was amusing to read again that back then I watched BLUE GATE CROSSING because I was pondering over ideas for my supposed debut short film, which I ended up not making. (I made CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY almost a year later)

My friend Sheron Deyoc, whom I first met in Pusan International Film Festival last October, and again in Tokyo International Film Festival a week after that, had his film HALAW: WAYS OF THE SEA in competition at the Asian New Talent.

Asian New Talent Award ceremony 2011

He, along with the other 8 directors, were invited on the stage to talk about their films.


2 out of the 3 awards went to Japanese films!

The jury prize went to Naoki Hashimoto's BIRTHRIGHT.

Naoki Hashimoto receives Jury Prix for "Birth Right"

I remember the film mostly because it made its world premiere in Tokyo Film Fest last year, and I got to meet the lead actress Sayoko Oho 於保佐代子. She was very nice and attended the INHALATION and TIGER FACTORY screenings, and I wanted so much to check her film too, but I never had the chance. It was good that I finally caught the film in Shanghai, and her performance was pretty compelling. And I'm not saying this because she went to my screenings.


The Best Feature film went to Kobayashi Shotaro's KAASAN MOM'S LIFE (Mainichi Kaasan). (I would later catch the film 2 days later on the flight back from Shanghai... which left me a blubbering wreck in the end... but that's a story for another post).

Shoutarou Kobayashi wins Best Feature Film Award for "Kaasan Mom's Life"

When I first read its synopsis, my instant thought was "Manga artist dealing with an alcoholic husband? Reminds me of WALKING HOME (Yoi ga sametara, uchi ni kaerô' that starred Asano Tadanobu and Hiromi Nagasaku that was also shown in the Tokyo International Film Festival last year".

I would later realize that both films came from the same source material, Reiko Saibara's award-winning autobiographical manga (or rather, WALKING HOME was based on her husband Yutaka Kamoshida's book, hence that film focused more on the husband, while KAASAN MOM'S LIFE was more about Saibara herself). Having seen KAASAN, I'm curious about WALKING HOME.



Best Director went to Teng Yung Shing for RETURN TICKETS.

Teng Yung Shing from Taiwan for BEST DIRECTOR ("Return Tickets")

Alas, I cannot find the trailer for this film.

Group photo.

Asian New Talent Award ceremony group photo

Headed off to the after party.

Met the Chinese actress Meng Li for the very first time. She was one of the ten actor and actresses to receive an Asian New Talent award. One day after graduating from the Shanghai Acting Academy. Good job.

With Chinese actress  and famed model Meng Li

Then there was also singer/ actress Joanna Dong, who also picked up an Asian New Talent award for her performance in my friend Wee Lilin's film FOREVER.

With Singaporean singer/actress Joanna Dong

During the award ceremony, Joanna Dong did a dual-language cover of the song SO NICE. Very nice. I immediately thought of Apichatpong's BLISSFULLY YOURS.