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India’s ‘Soni’ and China’s ‘The Crossing’ Share Pingyao Festival Awards

India's 'Soni' and China's 'The Crossing'
Courtesy of Pingyao IFF

Indian film “Soni,” directed by Ivan Iyer, was named as the best film at the second edition of the Pingyao International Film Festival. It wins a prize of $20,000, with half going to development of the director’s next project, and half provided to the film’s distributor in China.

Other Roberto Rossellini prizes went to Ognjen Glavonic as best director, for “The Load” (aka “Teret”) worth $10,000, and to Singaporean-Chinese film “A Land Imagined,” which collected the jury prize. The jury included China’s Dai Jinhua, and Wang Xiaoshuai, American actor Mason C. Lee, Iran’s Amir Naderi, and Georgia’s Ana Urushadze.

A separate prize series, the Fei Mu Awards was presented to Chinese-language films which are directorial debuts or second features and which showed in the festival’s New Generation China, Crouching Tigers, Hidden Dragons, or Best of Fest sections. “The Crossing” by Bai Xue was named best film and the film’s star Huang Yao was hailed as best actress. “Crossing the Border – Zhaoguan,” won the best director award for Huo Meng, and Yang Taiyi the best actor award.

South Korea’s Lee Chang-dong was presented with the Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon East-West Award, by the Jia Zhangke Art Center. A student award was presented to “Crossing the Border – Zhaoguan.”

The festival’s trade-only project market – restricted to Chinese movies and projects with legally-approved scripts and shooting permits – presented Work-in-Progress Lab Awards to: “Lhamo and Skalbe,” by Sonthar Gyal; “All About ING,” by Huang Zi; “A Yang Pingdao Film,” by Yang Pingdao; “Koali & Rice,” by Ye Qian, and to “Unknown Time,” by Chang Biao.

The PYIFF was initiated in 2017 by Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke, with Marco Muller as artistic director. It is held in the ancient city of Pingyao in Shanxi Province, China.