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‘Demon Cat’ Leads Chinese-Dominated Asian Film Awards Nominations

Nominations for the 12th edition of the Asian Film Awards were dominated by Chinese-language films. “The Legend of the Demon Cat” narrowly led the field with nominations in six categories.

A larger-than-life historical fantasy that was released shortly before Christmas, “Demon Cat” was shut out of the best picture category but earned Chen Kaige a best director nomination. The nominations were announced Thursday in Hong Kong.

The prizes will be decided by a jury headed by veteran action director and stunt coordinator Tony Ching Siu-tung. They will be presented at a ceremony at the Venetian Hotel in Macau on March 17, two days before the beginning of the FilMart convention and the Hong Kong Film Festival.

Four films garnered five nominations each. “Angels Wear White,” a topical drama on sexual abuse, will compete for best picture and earned Vivian Qu a nomination for best new director. Mainland Chinese veteran Feng Xiaogang earned a best director nomination and saw his hit drama “Youth” also chosen to compete for best picture.

Hong Kong-based Taiwanese director Sylvia Chang saw her “Love Education” collect five nominations, including one for best director. Kore-eda Hirokazu’s “The Third Murder” was the most-nominated film not in a Chinese language or dialect. It earned a best picture nomination and four others.

The five best picture nominees are India’s “Newton,” South Korea’s “The Day After,” The Third Murder,” “Youth” and “Angels Wear White.”

Films with four nominations each included Ann Hui’s Hong Kong-set “Our Time Will Come,” Taiwan’s “The Great Buddha+,” Indonesia’s “Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts,” and “Wilderness,” by South Korea’s Yang Ik-jun.

“This year we will celebrate the excellence of martial arts in Asian cinema by recognizing many outstanding Asian filmmakers and providing a platform for new faces and up-and-coming artists,” said Wilfred Wong Ying-wai, who is chairman both of the AFA Academy and the Hong Kong festival. Actress and action star Kara Wai Ying-hung (aka Kara Hui) will receive the Excellence in Asian Cinema Award at the ceremony.

Ching’s jury members also include actress Karina Lau, Sanmu, Li Cheuk-to, Kamil Othman, Nam Dong-chul, Jennifer Jao, Janet Wu, Ichizaka Kenji and the Philippines’ Briccio Santos.

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