Asian cinema takes centre stage

Hakim Hayat

The Asian Film Awards Academy recently revealed the nominees for the 15th Asian Film Awards (AFA15), as announced by the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) in a
press statement.

The awards are presented annually by the Asian Film Awards Academy to recognise the excellence of the film professionals in the film industries of Asian cinema.

The Asian Film Awards Academy is an organisation jointly established in 2013 by the Hong Kong International Film Festival, the BIFF and the Tokyo International Film Festival for the development of Asian cinema. The academy has held the AFA in commemoration and celebration of filmmakers who have cultivated the Asian film industry.

The statement notes that the awards will again be held in conjunction with the Busan International Film Festival, with a ceremony on October 8 in a hybrid form, combining on-site attendance in Busan and online participation.

China’s One Second, South Korea’s The Book of Fish, India’s The Disciple, and two Japanese films Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy and Wife of a Spy will compete for Best Film prize at the AFA15.

Nominees for best director include Zhang Yimou for One Second, Lee Joon-ik for The Book of Fish, Hamaguchi Ryusuke for Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy, Kurosawa Kiyoshi for Wife of a Spy and Kazakhstan’s Adilkhan Yerzhanov for Yellow Cat.

A still from The Book of Fish. PHOTO: CINEWORLD

For AFA15, 36 films produced in eight Asian regions made the final round.

According to the statement, Director Lee Joon-ik’s The Book of Fish received nominations in four categories including the Best Film and Best Director categories as well as Best Costume Design and Best Production Design.

“The nominees for Best Actor and Best Actress Awards include Korean talents, and that much attention is centred on whether they will win,” it was shared. “Yoo Ah-in, who moved the audience with just gestures and facial expressions in the film Voice of Silence, and Jun Jong-seo, whose acting in the film The Call garnered much praise for its compelling aura and intense madness, were nominated for Best Actor and Best Actress, respectively. In addition, Park Jeong-min in Deliver Us From Evil, Jang Yoon-ju in Three Sisters, and Gong Seung-yeon in Aloners were nominated for Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Newcomer and these nominations give the audience much to look forward to.”

Deliver Us From Evil, directed by Hong Won-chan, received nomination in four categories: Best Supporting Actor (Park Jeong-min), Best Editing (Kim Hyung-joo), Best Cinematography (Hong Kyeong-pyo), and Best Original Music (Mowg).

Additionally, two Korean films were nominated in three categories each. Voice of Silence, directed by Hong Eui-jeong, received the nomination for Best New Director, Best Actor and Best Screenplay, while Space Sweepers directed by Jo Sung-hee was nominated for Best Costume Design, Best Visual Effects, and Best Sound.

It was also shared that AFA15 increased its high standards with the appointment of the Korean master director Lee Chang-dong as the jury president.

“Lee Chang-dong has been at the forefront of advancing Korean cinema onto the world stage. He has received numerous awards at international film festivals including the Silver Lion for Best Director at the Venice International Film Festival 2002 (Oasis), the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actress in 2007 (Jeon Do-yeon of Secret Sunshine), the Cannes Film Festival Award for the Best Screenplay in 2010 (Poetry), and the Cannes 2018 FIPRESCI Award (Burning). He was also the recipient of both Best Director and Lifetime Achievement Awards at AFA13,” adds the statement.

The full list of nominations for the AFA15 is as follows:

Best Film

One Second (China), The Book of Fish (South Korea), The Disciple (India), Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy (Japan), Wife of a Spy (Japan)

Best Director

Zhang Yimou (One Second), Lee Joon-ik (The Book of Fish), Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy), Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Wife of a Spy), Adilkhan Yerzhanov (Yellow Cat)

Best Actor

Mo Tzu-yi (Dear Tenant), Lam Ka-tung (Limbo), Zhang Yi (One Second), Koji Yakusho (Under the Open Sky), Yoo Ah-in (Voice of Silence)

Best Actress

Chen Shu-fang (Little Big Women), Zhang Zifeng (Sister), Jun Jong-seo (The Call), Assel Sadvakassova (Ulbolsyn), Yu Aoi (Wife of a Spy)

Best Supporting Actor

Yu Ailei (Cliff Walkers), Park Jeong-min (Deliver Us From Evil), Tse Kwan-ho (Drifting), Kim Hyun-bin (The Silent Forest), Shohei Uno (The Voice of Sin)

Best Supporting Actress

Qin Hailu (Cliff Walkers), Loletta Lee (Drifting), Hsieh Ying-xuan (Little Big Women), Jang Yoon-ju (Three Sisters), Aju Makita (True Mothers)

Best New Director

Yujiro Harumoto (A Balance), P S Vinothraj (Pebbles), Yin Ruoxin (Sister), Han Shuai (Summer Blur), Ahmad Bahrami (The Wasteland), Hong Eui-jeong (Voice of Silence)

Best Newcomer

Gong Seung-yeon (Aloners), Misaki Hattori (Midnight Swan), Liu Haocun (One Second), Rouhollah Zamani (Sun Children), Chen Yan-fei (The Silent Forest)

Best Screenplay

My Missing Valentine, Sister, The Disciple, Voice of Silence

Best Editing

Cliff Walkers, Deliver Us From Evil, My Missing Valentine, Sun Children, True Mothers

Best Cinematography

Any Crybabies Around?, Cliff Walkers, Deliver Us From Evil, Limbo, The Wasteland, Yellow Cat

Best Original Music

Cliff Walkers, Deliver Us From Evil, One Second, The Way We Keep Dancing

Best Costume Design

Cliff Walkers, Space Sweepers, The Book of Fish, Wife of a Spy, Yellow Cat