'Dying to Survive' is favorite to win at China film awards event

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Directors gather for the nominations of 10th China Film Directors' Guild Awards. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

With seven nominations, the Xu Zheng-starrer Dying to Survive is the front-runner at 10th China Film Directors' Guild Awards, a top honor recognized by industry insiders.

The guild, consisting of more than 370 directors, announced the nominees for six awards such as best picture and director at a recent Beijing press conference.

Besides Dying to Survive,a tear-jerker adapted from a true story of a leukemia patient, Ash Is Purest White, the biggest-budget work of Jia Zhangke, is also in the running with six nominations.

Li Shaohong, the president of the guild, says that the 25 nominated films were selected from around 500 aspirants, accounting for half of the total output in 2018.

She adds that the awards were launched in 2005, which was one of the toughest moments for domestic filmmakers. Then, facing off powerful foreign rivals led by Hollywood, Chinese films were struggling for survival.

She added that the initial goal of the awards was to encourage local filmmakers.

But now with China soaring to become the world's second-largest movie market with box office takings of 61 billion yuan ($9.1 billion) in 2018, Li hopes that the event will encourage more Chinese filmmakers to pursue their artistic dreams.

Feng Xiaogang, the deputy head of the guild, says China's film industry is booming thanks to a number of young talents.

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