Marking another year of excellence in Asian cinema, the 9th Asian Film Awards (AFA) ceremony concluded on Thursday at The Venetian in Macau.
Jointly organized by the Asian Film Awards Academy (AFAA), and its constituent partners Busan Film Festival, Tokyo Film Festival and Hong Kong Film Festival, this year’s “Oscars of Asia” brought together some of the region’s biggest actors, filmmakers and producers in unforgettable and touching moments.
Hong Kong pop star, and breakout actress Ivana Wong opened the 9th AFA ceremony with a heartfelt singing performance. Later, South Korean band Infinite entertained guests with an energetic musical set followed by loud applause from their dedicated fans.
Overall, China’s films stole the show, winning awards in 10 categories, including three out of the four major accolades.
This year’s coveted Best Film Award went to Blind Massage. Other major winners included Ann Hui who took home the Best Director award for The Golden Era. Liao Fan beat out other nominees for the Best Actor Award for his role in Black Coal, Thin Ice. And it was South Korean Bae Doo-na who was awarded Best Actress for her stunning performance in A Girl At My Door.
Upon receiving the Best Actor Award, Liao Fan delivered a short but meaningful speech, thanking his fellow cast members and crew, stating, “I am only receiving this award thanks to all of their support.”
The “Godfather of Korean Cinema,” revered Director Im Kwon-taek, received top honors, earning the Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding contribution to Korean Cinema throughout his over 50 year career.
Japanese Actress Nakatani Mikiwas also recognized this year, securing the Excellence in Asian Cinema Award in honor of her diverse, multi-award winning career. Upon accepting her award, she vouched for unity between mankind, sharing the profound thought, “I believe that there are still many messages that we are able to convey through movies. I would like to take this opportunity to express my hope that even between nations with political differences we can gain a better understanding of each other through the shared language of film.”
Filipino filmmaker Laz Diaz was a Best Director nominee for his film From What is Before.
Other awardees were Zhang Huiwen, Best Newcomer for Coming Home; Wang Zhiwen, Best Supporting Actor for The Golden Era; Ikewaki Chizuru, Best supporting actress for
The Light Shines Only There.
Best Screenwriter went to Diao Yinan, Black Coal for Thin Ice, and Best Cinematographer was given to Zeng Jian in Blind Massage.
More honors given were Best Production Designer to Liu Qing, Gone with the Bullets; Best Composer for Mikey McCleary, Margarita, with a Straw; Best Editor to Gareth Evans, The Raid 2: Berandal; Best Visual Effects to Rick Sander and Christoph Zollinger, Gone with the Bullets; and Best Costume designer to William Chang Suk Ping, Gone with the Bullets.