China dials up honors for cell phone fare

Mobile Phone Movie Awards makes debut

Two of China’s newest obsessions — mobile phones and movies — were on display at the country’s first Mobile Phone Movie Awards in the northwestern city of Xi’an, a kudosfest for short movies screened on cell phones.

Recent years have seen a significant rise in Chinese online and wireless platforms for all kinds of short movies and other art forms as cell phone technology develops and the Chinese telco industry upgrades to 3G. There have even been novels written as SMS text messages, with fresh chapters downloaded every day.

In a bid to keep costs down and combat rampant piracy, many filmmakers in China have been working on short movies, which users download and watch on their cell phones. Sunday’s awards were attended by a number of Chinese stars, including thesps Bai Ling and Eva Huang and singer Sha Baoliang. South Korean crooner Steve Yoo performed at the ceremony, which was hosted by the Zhongbo Media Group.

Among the pics singled out for awards were “Black and White” by helmer Zhang Qi and “The Fans of Guo Degang” by Ren Yuan.

Organizers also launched the Xi’an Declaration, a set of guidelines regulating the mobile phone movie market, and formally crowned “Focus on the Moment” (2005) as China’s first mobile film, the Xinhua news agency reported.

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