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Warlords take HKFA, Slingshot wins SIFF, and Bai Ling is back with T+A. All this and more in the latest edition of News from Abroad.
Warlords dominate Hong Kong Film Awards
Warlords came out on top at this year's Hong Kong Film Awards, winning eight out of the 13 awards for which it was nominated. The Qing dynasty war epic took home the top awards: best film, best director (Peter Chan), and best actor (Jet Li). Additionally, Warlords won for art direction, cinematography, sound design, visual effects, and costume and makeup design. The most nominated film Protégé won only two awards for best supporting actor (Andy Lau) and best film editing. Best screenwriting went to Johnny To for Mad Detective. To is a HKFA favorite, having been nominated for best director 13 times in the 26-year history of the show. Siqin Gaowa won best actress for performance as a maladapted Mongolian woman in The Postmodern Life of My Aunt. Ang Lee's Lust, Caution won the one award for which it was nominated: best Asian film. --Lisa Leong
Slingshot is a Brillante hit at SIFF
Brilliante Mendoza's depiction of the poor and desolate nature of a Manila squatter slum in Slingshot knocked out judges at the 21st Singapore International Film Festival's Silver Screen Awards; Mendoza scored top prize in the Asian Feature Film category, along with awards for Best Director and the NETPAC (Network for Promotion of Asian Cinema) category. Other winners in the Asian Film category include Boo Junfeng, whose Keluar Baris, a 16-minute film about a Singaporean adolescent who enlists in the army, scored three awards. Syrian director Abdellatif Abdelhamid received the special jury award for his comedic film, Out of Coverage, and actress Inessa Kislova was awarded for her performance in director Abai Kublai's coming of age story, Swift. In the Short Film Category, Michael Tay landed a special jury prize for Wet Seasons, Muhammad Eysham Ali scored a special achievement award for My Home, My Heaven, and Magdalene Tan was honored in the Best Performance category for Silent Girls. --William Hong
Or corporate invasion? Turner International, a unit of corporate-hulk Time Warner, will not only commence the production of animated cinema in India -- a relatively newborn and unconquered market -- but also initiate Hollywood TV, a new channel bringing India (firstly) Warner Bros. and (eventually) other companies' movies and TV series. The company's main hope, however, is entrance into the Indian Animation Bazaar. "India produces hundreds of movies, but only about five a year are animation. We believe we can change the game," a company spokesman said to Variety. "This is about production in India, by Indians, for India." So on one hand it's by the people, for the people--but on the other it's by Time Warner for India so that Time Warner prospers. Perhaps this is a making-something-out-of-nothing statement, but does the East really need more Hollywood influence? Actually, does any part of the world? President of Turner Broadcasting System Asia Pacific, Steve Marcopoto, said: "India will become the biggest market in the region this year, surpassing Japan, and we are committed to growing our presence." In other words: money. --Ian Shaikh
Sajid Khan hosts Zee Cine Awards with Karan Johar
After directing his hit film Heyy Babyy and hosting the Star Screen Awards, Sajid Khan will co-host the Zee Cine Awards with Karan Johar in London on April 26. Although neither Sajid or Karan have hosted a show with a male counterpart, Sajid hints at a little something to entertain the audience in London. Tailing the success of Heyy Babyy, Sajid will attempt to finish Houseful, a romantic comedy with Akshay Kumar and Deepika Padukone, by the end of 2008. Sajid has yet to select the movie's female protagonist and another big name actor. Sajid is also scheduled to host his own talk show named Sajid's Superstar. --Timothy Natividad
Indian Classic Guide at Cannes Film Festival
The Indian classic Guide (1964), considered to be (late) director Vijnay Anand's magnum opus and one the great masterpieces of the Indian film industry, will be screened at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Stars of the film Waheeda Rehman and Dev Anand, Vijnay's brother, were invited for the showing. The film was India's entry into the 1964 Oscars, it ranked in Indiatimes Moves as among the Top 25 Must-See Bollywood Films, and received nominations for 9 awards at the Filmfare Awards, of which it won 7. It is considered by critics to be both Dev's and Waheeda's best performances, and Dev Anand has expressed his pleasure that the film is still honored today. --Ian Shaikh
Won, Kim Return to Filmmaking in Boon's Mother
Korean director Boon Joon-ho (The Host) confirmed the new stars for his upcoming crime drama, Mother: "Korean wave" actors Won Bin (Taegukgi) and acclaimed actress Kim Hye-Ja (Mayonnaise). Mother centers on a mother determined to uncover the truth behind her son's alleged horrific murder crime. Boon Joon-ho's film marks a return to movie-making for Won Bin, whose last film was the 2004 Brother, directed by Kwon-tae Ahn. Meanwhile, Kim's last film came nearly a decade ago (1999's Mayonnaise). Both actors have extensively worked in TV series and dramas since their film debuts. With a US$5 million budget from production company Barunson's Choi Jae-won and Seo Woo-sik, Mother is scheduled to be released in early 2009. --LiAnn Ishizuka
Director Earns Appraisal Abroad and Censorship at Home
Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul has won international acclaim for his works, but faces censorship in his home country. Weerasethkul's Blissfully Yours and Tropical Malady have both won awards at the Cannes Festival and his latest autobiographical film Syndromes and a Century has earned prestigious recognition in various international arenas including the LA Critics Awards and the BBC World Cinema Awards. Thailand's Censorship Board has, however, already made four cuts to Syndromes and a Century. A new ratings system has been imposed by the Ministry of Culture based on 1930s censorship guidelines. Content cut from Weerasethkul's film include scenes showing a doctor drinking whiskey, a monk playing the guitar, and a pair of monks playing with a remote control saucer. According to the Censorship Board, these scenes challenge national virtue and Theravada Buddhism. --Christie Liu
Next stop Bollyworld
Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, plus six more Indian movie stars have joined the line-up for this summer's Unforgettable Tour. The worldwide concert tour will travel to major cities in 18 countries on every continent except Antarctica. Unforgettable is also a family tour for father and son Bachchan, and married couple Abhishek and Aishwarya. There will be performances by Lara Dutta, Shiamak Davar, Riteish Deshmukh, and Bipasha Basu as well. Recently signed on are Preity Zinta, who is popular in the diaspora, and Akshay Kumar, who will debut songs from his new movie Singh is Kinng. The show is set to be a huge production with exciting choreography and cutting-edge technology. As put on by Wizcraft, the Unforgettable Tour is going big and going global. --Lisa Leong
Bai Ling and Talia Shire to spice up Dim Sum
Director Anna Chi has begun filming her latest project in Vancouver, Dim Sum Funeral, and has reportedly welcomed Bai Ling and Talia Shire to the cast, which already consists of Russell Wong, Kelly Hu, Steph Song, Lisa Lu, Julia Nickson, Francoise Yip, and Chang Tseng. Bai will be playing a free-spirited lesbian while Shire will play a trusted family advisor. The plot features a pair of siblings who come together as a result of their mother's death. --My Thanh Mac
Yasukuni Shrine in Screening Disputes
Controversy behind the screening of Chinese film director, Li Ying's documentary Yasukuni has stirred the nerves of Japanese media and politicians, and those who were interviewed in Li's film about the pro-military Yasukuni shrine in Japan. To be screened across Japan starting this month, Yasukuni delves into what the shrine symbolizes from the perspectives of those supportive and against the Yasukuni shrine, which honors the 2.5 million service men who died in the name of the Japanese emperor, including 14 convicted class A war criminals. Li also spotlights 90 year-old Naoji Kariya, the last living swordsmith at the Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo in his documentary. Right-wing activists critical of the film argue that the added pressure from politicians to cancel the screenings are false. Ironically, the ten-year production of the film was partly funded by Japanese public funds amounting to 7.5 million yen. Yasukuni's distributor Argo Pictures reports that it intends to screen the film in 21 theaters across Tokyo next month, according to an official of theater operator T- Joy Co. Yasukuni was screened at the Sundance Film Festival and won best documentary at the Hong Kong International Film Festival. --LiAnn Ishizuka
Date Posted: 4/18/2008