Actor and producer Xu Zheng and director Wen Muye show off the three awards given to them by the China Film Critics Association at the closing ceremony of the first Hainan International Film Festival, Dec. 16, 2018. [Photo/China.org.cn]
At the close of the first-ever Hainan International Film Festival on Sunday night in Sanya, Haian province, the tragicomedy "Dying to Survive" rose to the top as the winner of three awards.
Prior to the festival, 500 members of the China Film Critics Association considered all Chinese films released between Jan. 1 and Oct. 31 of this year and submitted their initial votes for the best works. A final jury of nine members then selected the 10 awards to be handed out at the first Hainan film festival.
"Dying to Survive" emerged as the festival's biggest winner, garnering three awards including Film of the Year, Director of the Year (Wen Muye) and Actor of the Year (Xu Zheng). The film not only received rave reviews and grossed a total of 3.1 billion yuan (US$448.8 million), but has also been credited with prompting the reform of imported medicines in China.
"The power of a film can sometimes change the fate of many people," said Xu Zheng, who also served as producer of the film. "The latest round of anti-cancer drug prices have dropped again. We are really saying goodbye to the old days. If a film can bring such change, it is really better than anything."
Dual winners of Actor of the Year were announced, with Aaron Kwok also receiving the award for his performance in "Project Gutenberg."
Actress Yao Chen won Actress of the Year for her performance in the film "Lost, Found." The film, which also received positive reviews, tells the story of a single mother searching for her daughter after the child was stolen by her nanny.
"Contemporary women need more attention and recognition, and need more film and television works to tell their stories," Yao Chen said as she accepted her trophy.
The closing ceremony was star-studded with the appearances of international celebrities such as Jackie Chan, Alec Su, Leehom Wang, Athena Chu, Emma Dumont, Johnny Depp, Juliette Binoche, Aamir Khan, Mads Mikkelsen and Nuri Bilge Ceylan. Meanwhile, the seaside venue and folk music and dance performances allowed the local character of the event to shine as well.
The first Hainan International Film Festival was held from Dec. 11 to 16, with the aim of building a platform for communication, cooperation, and trade in the international film industry. It featured a variety of activities, including not only the film exhibition but also forums on film education, shooting locations, producers and female power, as well as master classes with elite foreign filmmakers and actors including Johnny Depp, Aamir Khan, Nuri Bilge Ceylan and Isabelle Huppert.
Actress Yao Chen speaks after being awarded Actress of the Year at the closing ceremony of the first Hainan International Film Festival, Dec. 16, 2018. (Photo: China.org.cn)
More than 70 new movies were also promoted at the festival, including "Airpocalypse," "Crazy Alien," "The Wandering Earth," "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse," "Creed 2" and "Roma." Most of them are poised for profitable year-end and Spring Festival film seasons.
The festival's film exhibition included screenings of more than 100 films from over 30 countries and regions, comprising mostly low- and medium-budget, art-house, and rarely known titles that lie outside the realm of Hollywood and Chinese blockbusters. The organizers said they will try to continue screening the films in the island province throughout the year, which sets this event apart by creating a "never-ending film festival" as their slogan boasts.
Winners of the inaugural Hainan International Film Festival awards:
Film of the Year: "Dying To Survive"
Director of the Year: Wen Muye ("Dying to Survive")
Actors of the Year: Xu Zheng ("Dying To Survive"), Aaron Kwok ("Project Gutenberg")
Actress of the Year: Yao Chen ("Lost, Found")
Best Supporting Actor: Du Jiang ("Operation Red Sea")
Best Supporting Actress: Feng Wenjuan ("Project Gutenberg")
Screenplay of the Year: Jiang Wen, He Jiping, Li Fei, Sun Yue ("Hidden Man")
New Director of the Year: Dong Yue ("The Looming Storm")
New Actor of the Year: Yungdrung Gyal ("Ala Changso")
Animated Feature of the Year: "The Wind Guardians"
A folk dance is performed at the closing ceremony of the first Hainan International Film Festival, Dec. 16, 2018. (Photo: China.org.cn)
A fireworks display marks the closing ceremony of the first Hainan International Film Festival, Dec. 16, 2018. (Photo: China.org.cn)
Film stars Jackie Chan, Johnny Depp, Aamir Khan, Juliette Binoche, Mads Mikkelsen and Nuri Bilge Ceylan meet onstage at the closing ceremony of the first Hainan International Film Festival, Dec. 16, 2018. (Photo: China.org.cn)