Jang Hoon’s “A Taxi Driver” from South Korea took the prize for best picture at the third Asian World Film Festival, while George Takei was given the organization’s Snow Leopard Lifetime Achievement Award for his work with the LGBT community.
Angelina Jolie and Loung Ung of “First They Killed My Father” accepted the rising star award on behalf of the film’s lead actress Sreymoch Sareum of Cambodia.
The festival, held at the Arclight Cinemas Culver City and the Culver Hotel, ran Oc. 25-Nov. 2, screening 37 films from 22 countries. The awards were handed out on closing night, followed immediately by a screening of “Allegiance: The Broadway Musical,” a big screen version of the stage show, with music and lyrics by Jay Kuo, based on Takei’s experiences during the WWII Japanese American internment.
The awards ceremony was hosted by actors Christopher Kriesa (“Fresh Off the Boat”) and Alexandra Kahwagi, with actress Banyah Maria Choi presenting the awards.
The Snow Leopard for best actor went to Aktan Arym Kubat in “Centaur”; actress, Anoma Janadari, “Burning Birds”; special jury award went to “Mad World”; audience award, “Ayla: The Daughter of War.”
There were two winners of the new director award: Ana Urushadze (for “Scary Mother”) and Alexander Hant (for “How Victor ‘The Garlic’ Took Alexey ‘The Stud’ to the Nursing Home”). Vietnamese actress Ha Phuong earned the spirit award “for dedication and passion.”
The Murray Weissman Poster Art Award was given to “Little Gandhi” (directed by Sam Kadi, Syria; poster designed by Brian A. Metcalf).
“A Taxi Driver” was handed the prize, labeled “Dr. Kim’s He Can Do She Can Do Award,” which includes a $10,000 prize. The award is presented by Lighthouse Worldwide Solutions and was chosen by a jury.