Brash Lift-Off for Asia Contents Awards as Busan Market Reaches out to Streaming, TV

The Asia Content Awards are held
Patrick Frater

Organized by the Busan International Film Festival and its Asian Film Market, the inaugural edition of the Asia Contents Awards took place in Busan Sunday (Oct. 6) evening. It was a brash red carpet affair, which tried achingly hard to please.

The new award show was conceived as a part of the Asian Film Market’s ambitious plan to reinvent itself as a total contents market. The market seeks to expand from its base in feature film, to include TV series, streaming series, and original content ideas presented within its Entertainment Intellectual Property Market.

“The Asian Film Market, which has been around for 14 years now, needs a complete overhaul,” said the Busan market’s new leader Tcha Seung-jai at a press event in Seoul last month. “The awards ceremony is to recognize outstanding TV series and streaming series made in Asia, and serve as a networking platform for the participants.”

Held at Dongseo University’s Sohyang Theater across the road from the Busan Cinema Center, the ceremony was hosted by Korean-German actor Yoo Teo (“Vertigo”) and Miss Korea Kim Se-yeon. K-pop singer Jung Dong-ha and girl band AOA punctuated proceedings with musical interludes.

Attended by Korean and foreign performers in glamorous night gowns and dresses, the night’s ceremony suffered multiple technical issues. These included a lack of live interpretation for the recipients’ speeches. Pre-prepared acceptance quotes had been translated into Korean and English, but some of the lines appeared badly synched.

And, in what may have been an effort to involve as many talents and shows as possible, many of the prizes were awarded to joint winners. In all, there were 16 recipients, in 8 awards categories.

South Korean TV producer Kim Yong-kyu won the ‘best creative award,’ the night’s top prize. The Best Asian drama prize was shared between Thailand’s “Hormones: The Series” and Singapore’s “Faculty.” “Faculty” also won best rising star for Fang Rong.

“Hormones” stars Kemisara Paladesh and Sananthachat Thanapatpisal were also named as best newcomers.

“[…] Not everyone can understand and accept LGBT relationships, but from the day we started filming ‘Hormones’ until the last day, I learned that regardless of gender all love is just love,” said Thanapatpisal who played a girl in a same-sex relationship in the series.

Best actress awards were presented to China’s Yao Chen for her role in “All Is Well” and the Philippines’ Maja Salvador for “Wild Flower.” Best actor prizes went to Korea’s Kim Nam-gil for “The Fiery Priest,” China’s Lei Jia Yin for “The Longest Day in Chang’an,” and Japan’s Yamada Takayuki for Netflix original “The Naked Director.” “Naked Director” also actress Morita Misato a best newcomer award.

Korea’s “My Mister” writer Park Hae-young and Taiwanese series “The World Between Us” writer Lu Shih-yuan shared Best Writer awards.

Korea’s K-pop idol-turned-actor Kim Jae-joong, who has starred in TV dramas and films in both Korea and Japan, won the Excellence Award. While Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Hong Kong TV director-producer Raymond Lee Wai-man (“The Flying Tigers”).

Best Creative
Yongkyu Kim (chief producer) Studio Dragon “Mr. Sunshine”

Best Asian Series (joint winners)
“The Hormones, The Series” (Thailand)
“Faculty” (Singapore)

Best Newcomer (joint winners)
Kemisara Paladesh (actress,Thailand), Sananthachat Thanapatpisal (actress, Thailand) “The Hormones, The Series”
Jin Xionghao (director) and Zhuang Dafei (actress) “Oceans and Mountains”
Morita Misato (actress, Japan) “The Naked Director”

Best Rising Star
Fang Rong (actress, Singapore) “Faculty”

Best writer (joint winners)
Lu Shih-yuan (producer and writer) “The World Between Us”
Park Hae Young (writer, Korea) “My Mister”

Best actor
Lei Jia Yin (actor) “The Longest Day in Chang’an”
Kim Nam Gil (Korea) “The Fiery Priest”
Yamada Takayuki (actor, Japan) “The Naked Director”

Best Actress (joint winners)
Yao Chen “All Is Well”
Maja Salvador (The Philippines) “Flying Tiger”

Lifetime Achievement Award
Raymond Lee Wai Man (director) “Flying Tiger”

Excellence Award
Kim Jae Joong (actor and singer, Korea)