Lau of the land

Pusan fetes filmmaker of the year

Andy Lau launched his career in 1980 on Hong Kong’s TVB, and more than two decades later, the producer/actor/pop star/bowling and magic enthusiast has been tapped the Asian Filmmaker of the Year by the Pusan Intl. Film Festival.

While Western auds know Lau from “House of Flying Daggers” and the “Infernal Affairs” trilogy, his long career includes some 130 movies, millions of recordings sold and now, his 2-year-old Focus Films looks to be on the leading edge of Asian cinema. Focus has picked international sales rights for “Joni’s Promise,” helmed by Indonesia’s Joko Anwar; music doc “Singapore Gaga,” helmed by Tan Pin Pin; “Before We Fall in Love Again,” from Malaysia’s James Lee; and “After This Our Exile” by Patrick Tam that world preems at PIFF.

Indeed, Focus’ First Cuts program — launched to nurture local filmmaking talent — had a successful first crop of six films, including Pusan closer “Crazy Stone,” directed by China’s Ning Hao.

Besides his film endeavors, Lau is a brand in Asia, and his product endorsements are ubiquitous across the region.

But his real love may be singing. At 45, he’s still a bankable star, and his appeal crosses the generations. His approach to theatrical staging revolutionized pop music concerts, and he has sold more than 50 million discs.

Lau will next be seen in “Battle of Wits,” a Japan-China period warrior epic.

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