The Awards’ launch event in Beijing on Tuesday took on a interesting political tinge with one of the jurors criticizing China’s restrictions on freedom of expression, and the government’s clampdown on cultural relations with South Korea.
“Foreign prizes are much more likely to go to Japanese or Korean films, many of which are dark, about sex and violence, or the coldness of human nature,” said jury member Manfred Wong told Agence France Presse. “But because of China’s censorship system, there simply aren’t those kinds of films here,” he explained, stating no jury wanted to reward “warm movies full of positive energy”.
The awards will be decided by a jury including Wong, producer and former president of Hong Kong Film Awards; controversial Korean director Kim Ki-duk, and Japanese producer Shozo Ichiyama.
Organizers said that the 19 titles selected for different categories of award had been picked on a combination of commercial and artistic grounds, in order to represent the best from the Asian region.
“The Asian Brilliant Stars,” is not only on award ceremony, but a platform to promote Asian films and create a bridge between Asia and the world,” said Richard Shen, general secretary of Asian Film & Television Promotion.
A first edition of the show, more heavily skewing towards Chinese titles, was held during the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year. The event is organized by Asian Film & Television Promotion, the Beijing Film Academy, and Movie View magazine.
The second running of the pageant, scheduled for Feb. 21, 2018, has expanded its awards categories. It will now present awards for: best actor or actress in a leading role; best director; best screenwriter; best producer; and best Asian new talent.
“The THAAD conflict has frozen China-South Korean cultural relations for 15 months, so as one of the early defenders of China-South Korean co-productions, I look forward to normalizing these relations. It is for this purpose that we moved our press conference from Berlin to Beijing today,” said Shen. Kim’s attempt to shoot “Who is God?” in China last year was stymied by the freezing over of Korean-Chinese diplomatic relations.
Wong also criticized Chinese box office smash “Wolf Warriors II,” a nationalistic war film which has been selected as China’s Oscar contender. “China’s trying to promote its concept of ‘cultural self-confidence,’ but that (“Wolf Warriors II”) was an instance of excess self-confidence,” Wong told AFP.
2nd Asian Brilliant Stars contenders:
1. “Brotherhood of Blades II: The Infernal Battlefield”
2. “Wolf Warriors II”
3. “Path of The Soul”
4. “Our Time Will Come”
5. “Chasing the Dragon”
6. “Love Education”
7. “The Day After”
8. “I Can Speak”
9. “Anarchist from Colony”
13. “Pauwi Na”
14. “What a Wonderful Family!”
15. “The Third Murder”
16. “Mumon: The Land of Stealth”
17. “A Man of Integrity”
19. “Bad Genius”