Friday night’s Asian Filmmaker of the Year event was high on significance, but curiously low on atmosphere as multi-hyphenate Andy Lau received his much touted hardware from Pusan festival topper Kim Dong-ho.
Grand Ballroom at the Paradise Hotel was decked out for the occasion in honey-colored drapes. There was good glassware and five-star food, and riff-raff photographers were kept at a safe distance behind a barrier at the back of the room.
Perhaps it was a case of an over-strict ticket regime, but proceedings took a 50-minute delay as organizers and Lau’s handlers waited for the room to fill.
Upside was that this gave plenty of mingle time for celebs and long-term fest supporters. These included CJ Entertainment prexy JS Kim, Udine fest selector Sabrina Baracetti, Asian film guru Pierre Rissient, celebrity critic Tony Rayns, MK Pictures’ Paul Yi and producer Simon Field.
Before the Lau moment, Kim Dong-ho presented beautiful hand-painted fans to the night’s other honorees Martial Knaebel, director of the Fribourg Film Festival in Switzerland, and Ken Terawaki, former director general of Japan’s Cultural Affairs Department, who for their efforts in promoting Korean film around the world.
There was heartfelt cheer when Kim told Lau that “you love film and have the total respect of filmmakers.”
Lau’s thank you speech was in Mandarin, but he broke into English to emphasize notion that he was accepting prize as “a producer, rather than a celebrity actor.”