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Golden Horse nominees announced, South Asian film projects galore, and three international film festivals are coming up. All this and more on the latest edition of News From Abroad.
Taiwan’s Golden Horse Nominees Announced
The nominees for the prestigious Golden Horse Award were announced this week, with the Hong Kong-PRC joint production musical, Perhaps Love, taking twelve nominations, including Best Film, Best Director, and Best Actress among others. Coming up second, After This Our Exile, a Hong Kong drama, took seven nominations. Other nominees include Taiwan’s Silk (5 nominations), the mainland’s The Banquet (also 5 nominations), and others.
For information on the nominees: http://www.goldenhorse.org.tw/gh_main/gh-e-5.aspx.
Pakistan and India Unite….
…in an effort to film a documentary depicting the abduction of American journalist Daniel Pearl, who was murdered in Pakistan in January 2002. Entitled The Journalist and the Jihadi: The Murder of Daniel Pearl and co-produced by HBO Productions and Anant Singh, the documentary follows Wall Street Journal correspondent Daniel Pearl and Jihadist Omar Sheikh and shows how, even though both came from similar socioeconomic levels, their lives took drastically different paths. The filmmakers, Ramesh Sharma from India and Ahmed A. Jamal from Pakistan, were united by a similar interest in the Sheikh-Pearl story and a desire to portray the multifaceted nature of the struggle against terrorism in South Asia and the Middle East. The documentary tells the background stories of both Pearl and Sheikh in order to give the context for the later kidnapping. However, the film does not show the actual murder that was made public through grainy internet footage -- the filmmakers did not want to buy into terrorist propaganda.
Korean State Funding for Film Industry
The South Korean Government Ministry of Culture and Tourism announced its Movie Industry Medium-Long Term Development Plan to help funnel state spending in efforts to promote Korean cinema both domestically and internationally. The initiative has the goal of increasing the market share of Korean films in the world market, increasing total revenues of film exports, and further stabilizing the dominance of Korean films in domestic theaters. Funding for the plan will come from the government, the Korean Film Council and an additional tax on Korean theater-goers.
Pusan International Film Festival Setting
The Pusan International Film Festival came to a close this week, with the winners announced shortly before the end of the festival. The winners of the New Current Award were the Malaysian Betelnut, and the Chinese Love Conquers All. Other awards went to The Last Dining Table, helmed by Korean director Roh Gyeong-tae, and The While Silk Dress by Vietnamese director Huynh Luu.
Official website: http://www.piff.org/intro/default.asp
Tokyo International Film Festival Rising
In a move influenced by national rivalry, the Tokyo International Film Festival opened hours after the Pusan International Film Festival closed. The 19th annual festival opened with Clint Eastwood’s World War II action-drama, Flags of our Fathers, about American GIs fighting to take control over Japanese dominated Iwo Jima. The festival, which features over 100 screenings, has representation from all over Asia, with local Japanese talent represented and several titles from the region represented in the “Winds of Asia” category.
Official site: http://www.tiff-jp.net/en/
Asia Behind Hollywood
In conjunction with the Tokyo Film Festival, a three-person panel has concluded that while Asian movies might currently be gaining popularity, there is still a long way to go in order to seriously challenge Hollywood’s pop cultural hegemony. One of the obstacles that the panel cited were the insular nature of Asian cinema that relied a lot on cultural traditions making the films less accessible to a broader audience. For Japan specifically, director Satoru Iseki lamented that as the world’s second largest film market, Japan imports far more than it exports. He added concerns that a focus on profits might erode film as an art. For the greater China region, the ever-growing Chinese market has helped out the film industries of Hong Kong and Taiwan, but problems persist. More efforts need to be made in for greater accessibility if Asian cinema wants to catch up to Hollywood.
New Delhi to Host New South Asian Film Festival
On Tuesday, October 31, filmmakers from all over South Asia will converge on New Delhi for the first annual South Asian Film Festival. The festival will open with the Sri Lankan film Dheevari, and will feature over 70 screenings ranging from commercial releases to independent documentaries. The festival, organized by the South Asia Foundation has the goal of fostering peace and harmony across the South Asian region.
Sholay Continues Production Despite Legal Issues
Despite a legal battle, Bollywood filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma is said to be going ahead with his remake of Sholay. The legal dispute previously halted the production through a Delhi High Court ordered mandate after Sippy Films and Sholay Media and Entertainment, who claim Sholay rights are theirs, petitioned the court. But because of copyright law limitations on names, Varma’s Sholay does not resemble the original, and thus has allowed him to continue with the production. Filming is set to continue through the Diwali Festival of Lights, a time when most Bollywood productions are stopped for the celebrations.
Battle for the Bollywood Box Office
And with the arrival of the Hindu Diwali Festival of Lights and the Islamic Eid festival, also comes a major battle for the Bollywood Box Office. The tradition started in 1994 with the box office success of Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, and since then has seen the release of major blockbusters around the South Asian holiday season. This year’s competitors are Don and Jaan-e-Mann, and both are expected to be big. Don is a re-make from a 1070’s classic that will act as a gauge for future remakes of classics, while Jaan-e-Mann is a romance with a love triangle.
Don official site: http://www.donthefilm.com/
Jaan-e-Mann official site: http://www.jaanemann.com/
Warner Brothers Macau
Warner Brothers opened another store in the greater China region -- this time in Macau. The store is Warner Brother’s second store, after opening their first store in Shanghai earlier in the year. The opening ceremony featured performances by characters from Warner Brother’s back catalog of cartoons, and DC comics. In addition to the festivities, investors from both Warner Brothers, and their joint-venture investors were present.
Date Posted: 10/25/2006