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New Awards Launched for Film Industry's Centenary

On December 15, the Chinese Film Directors Association launched its first annual awards in Beijing with the announcement of nominations.

According to Chen Guoxing, vice president of the association, the competition will be held during the Eighth Hong Kong Film Directors Symposium, which runs from January 8 to 11. The symposium promises to attract 198 filmmakers from the Chinese mainland, Taiwan and Hong Kong and precedes the 100th anniversary of the country's film industry.

The Actors Association, the Producers Association and other organizations have been invited to the awards ceremony, which will be hosted by Taiwan director Zhang Aijia.

This year's competition will feature four regular panel awards -- for Best Director, Best Young Director, Best Actor and Best Actress -- and one based on box office takings, plus a special Lifetime Achievement Award.

The judging committee of 11 professional directors will choose the winners of the regular awards, whilst the Lifetime Achievement Award will be balloted by the executive council of the directors association and the top box office award will be based on government statistics.

More than 200 Chinese films have been made this year, but less than 40 that were screened in cinemas are eligible to compete for the awards. "To a certain extent, this indicates the stagnancy of the domestic film industry," organizers of the event commented.

Renowned filmmaker Chen Kaige assumes the chair of this year's judicial committee, which also includes big names such as Jiang Wen, Gu Changwei, Lu Xuechang and Zhang Yang.

Feng Xiaogang, vice president of the directors association, and Li Shaohong
are excluded due to their participation in the competition.

According to the regulations, only directors who are under 35 and have shot more than three films are qualified for nomination as best young director. In addition to the award, the winner will receive US$36,000 in cash.

Huang Jianxin, president of the directors association, said the money is to support young directors in their filmmaking work.

For a long time the domestic film sector has had only three established awards: the government's Huabiao Awards (Palace Columns Awards), the Golden Rooster Awards judged by film experts, and the Hundred Flowers Awards decided by public voting.

Recently the credibility of awards has suffered due to questionable judgments, including awards often being given jointly to more than one film.

Director Xie Fei said bureaucracy has resulted in stagnation, and disputes over awards epitomize this. "We cannot accomplish the marketization of the industry without carrying out in-depth reforms and establishing a competitive system."

"There is a lack of film awards in China," said secretary-general of the directors association, He Ping, when asked why they set up the awards, "Without a strong commercial flavor, awards will be overly professional, respectable and authorized."

Nominations for the 2004 Chinese Film Directors Association Awards:

Best Director:
Tian Zhuangzhuang (Delamu); Lu Chuan (Ke Ke Xi Li); Feng Xiaogang (A World Without Thieves)

Best Young Director:
Lu Chuan (Ke Ke Xi Li); Xu Jinglei (My Father and I); Zhu Wen (South of the Clouds)

Best Actor:
Li Xuejian (South of the Clouds); Fan Wei (The Parking Attendant in July); Ye Daying (My Father and I)

Best Actress:
Zhou Xun (Baober in Love); Zhang Ziyi (House of Flying Daggers); Shu Qi (The Foliage)

(China.org.cn by Li Xiao, December 29, 2004)

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