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‘Yu’ dominates awards at Asia-Pacific fest

“Hsiao Yu,” a Taiwanese thriller about the adventures of an illegal Chinese immigrant in New York, swept up five of a possible 12 awards, including best film at the 40th Asia-Pacific Film Festival.

Attended by some 300 delegates from 14 countries, including host Indonesia, 30 features and 10 docus participated in the fest, which was held here in late July.

“Hsiao Yu” also won for best sound (Yang Mei Liau), best art direction (Wing Lee), best screenplay (Sylvia Chang and Ang Lee) and best actress (Rene Liu Joyin).

The Taiwanese film, directed by Sylvia Chang, beat other nominees for best film: “The Last Tattoo” (New Zealand), “Turning Point” (Japan), “The Lovers” (Hong Kong) and “And the Moon Dances” (Indonesia).

Among those films, only “The Lovers” and “Turning Point” earned awards: best direction for “Lovers'” Tsui Hark; best editing (Nobuhiko Obayashi) and best supporting actor (Rentaro Mikuni) for “Point.”

Surprisingly, Taiwan’s other strong favorite, “Vive l’Amour,” which won the Golden Lion for best film at last year’s Venice Film Festival, was not nominated by the jury.

Another surprise, the Japanese film “47 Ronin,” which was not nominated for best film, came away with best music (Kenzago Tanikana) and best cinematography (Yokiosho Hata). Best actor went to Hwi Chang Dong of South Korea for his role in “The Two Flags” and best supporting actress went to Mamaengaroa for her role in the Kiwi pic “Once Were Warriors.” Host Indonesia was shut out.

In the non-dramatic film category, Australia’s “50 Years of Silence,” produced by Ned Lander, won the top award. While “Taipei Tree Frog,” directed by Taiwan’s Liuo Yamming, won for photography.

A special prize was presented to Hong Kong film mogul Sir Run Run Shaw for his dedication to the film industry and to the festival. He is one of the Asian-Pacific’s fest founders.

While receiving all the delegates at the state palace, President Suharto commended the fest organizers for their courage in staging an event at a time when the film industry is experiencing a tough time in the face of fierce competition, either from countries outside the region or from TV and video.

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