Women's power wins big at Beijing int'l film fest

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, April 23, 2018
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Wong Kar-wai, legendary Hong Kong filmmaker and chairman of the jury, hands the Best Picture Award to Ana Urushadze for her film, "Scary Mother," at the Tiantan Awards ceremony held in Beijing to close the Eighth Beijing International Film Festival on Sunday, April 22, 2018. [Photo/ China.org.cn]

Two films made by female directors took top awards, including Best Picture and Best Director at the Tiantan Awards ceremony, which marked the close of the Eighth Beijing International Film Festival on Sunday night.

Ana Urushadze's "Scary Mother" (Georgia/Estonia) was awarded Best Picture, with its star Nata Murvanidze also taking the prize for Best Actress award. "Scary Mother" tells the story of a 50-year-old housewife, Manana, who faces the dilemma of choosing between her family life and her passion for writing, which she has repressed for years.

Meanwhile, Mariam Khatchvani's "Dede" (Georgia/Qatar/Ireland/Netherlands/Croatia) won the Best Director and Best Cinematography awards. The film begins in 1992 in a remote mountain village, where a young woman named Dina lives a life strictly governed by centuries of tradition. Though her grandfather has promised her to David, just returning from war, Dina is in love with Gegi, a handsome comrade-in-arms; in her plight she must decide whether to break with tradition. 

The Tiantan Award winners were selected by a jury headed by prestigious Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai. Fifteen films were nominated for Tiantan Awards, which make up the competitive section of the Beijing International Film Festival. Nominees were shortlisted out of 659 submissions from 71 countries and regions across six continents before being passed on to the panel of jurors for a week-long process of viewing and evaluation.

Two Chinese films -- the military action blockbuster "Operation Red Sea" by Dante Lam and a poverty relief art-house film "Hold Your Hands" by Yue Miao -- also joined the race, with "Operation Red Sea" winning the Best Visual Effects Award for its violent and powerful war scenes. The film has already grossed 3.64 billion yuan (US$578.77 million) in China, becoming the second-biggest grossing film ever in the country.

Director Wong Kar-wai speaks on stage with fellow jurors at the Tiantan Awards ceremony, held in Beijing to close the Eighth Beijing International Film Festival on Sunday, April 22, 2018. [Photo/ China.org.cn]

Wong Kar-wai, chairman of the jury, noted in his speech at the Tiantan Awards ceremony that five of the 15 entries in the final list of nominees are female filmmakers' visions and presentations of women's power, with two of them being directorial debuts. The legendary filmmaker appealed to more people to pay attention to the welfare and rights of women. "I hope more female film creators use movies to explore women's stories."

Despite bad weather, the red carpet of the closing ceremony of the film festival was still star-studded with Huang Bo, Shu Qi, Wang Baoqiang, Gu Changwei, Lin Chi-ling, Joan Chen and Isabelle Huppert. The film festival also featured an impressive line-up of film screenings and variety of forums and summits with the goal of advancing the Chinese film industry.

Additionally, the Film Market is one of the key segments of the Beijing International Film Festival, having now become a major platform for communication and cooperation between filmmakers at home and abroad. This year's Market included four industry conversation summits, 30 events and activities with 220 registered exhibitors from China and abroad. A total of 38 key projects from 79 enterprises were signed this year, with total deals reaching 26.08 billion yuan (US$4.13 billion) and a year-over-year increase of 49 percent, once again breaking the festival's previous record. The signed volumes of the Beijing International Film Festival Film Market total 101.03 billion yuan (US$16.04 billion) within its eight years of running, and the signed projects span the whole industry chain.

According to big data released by the organizing committee of the festival, China now has 9,914 theaters and 53,824 screens, making it the country with the most cinema screens in the world. China's total box office gross in 2017 was 55.91 billion yuan (US$8.88 billion), of which 30.1 billion yuan (US$4.78 billion) was earned by Chinese domestic films. The country is the second-largest film market in the world, and has now, in the first quarter of 2018, surpassed the North American market, the world's first: China has grossed 20.2 billion yuan (US$3.2 billion) while North America made US$2.8 billion. 

The Winners of Tiantan Awards 2018: 

Best Feature Film

"Scary Mother" (Georgia/Estonia)

Best Director 

Mariam Khatchvani, "Dede" (Georgia/Qatar/Ireland/Netherlands/Croatia)

Best Actor

Joe Cole, "Eye on Juliet" (Canada)

Best Actress

Nata Murvanidze, "Scary Mother" (Georgia/Estonia)

Best Supporting Actor

Paul Bettany, "Journey's End" (U.K.)

Best Supporting Actress

Mina Sadati, "Searing Summer" (Iran)

Best Screenplay

Amichai Greenberg, "The Testament" (Israel/Austria)

Best Cinematography

Konstantin Esadze, "Dede" (Georgia/Qatar/Ireland/Netherlands/Croatia)

Best Music

Hildur Gudnadóttir / Natalie Holt, "Journey's End" (U.K.)

Best Visual Effects

Lee In Ho / Kang Tae Gyun / Yee Kwok Leung/ Lin Chun Yue (Jules) / Ma Siu Fu / Thomas Lautenbach / Gareth Frederick Repton, "Operation Red Sea"(China)

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