BUSAN, South Korea: Hong Kong director Ann Hui collected the Asian Filmmaker of the Year award at the 19th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), saying Friday (Oct 3) it would inspire her to further push the boundaries of her craft.
“I am quite old and I am quite active,” said the 67-year-old. “I believe that [BIFF] gave me the award to encourage me further and I will continue to work hard to make great films.” The Hong Kong director is noted for simple films that hold a mirror up to life in her home town, focusing on the everyday struggles and loves of ordinary citizens.
However she refused to talk to reporters at a Busan press conference about the pro-democracy protests that have brought streets to a standstill in her hometown this week, saying a film festival should not be a place where she presents her views about such a subject.
The award at Asia’s biggest film festival comes hot on the heels of Thursday’s announcement that Hui, her latest film “The Golden Era”, and its star Tang Wei have all been nominated for November’s Golden Horse Awards, considered to be Asia’s equivalent of the Oscars.
“The Golden Era” – which traces the life of the acclaimed Chinese author Xiao Hong (Tang) – is screening at BIFF after being selected to close September’s Venice film festival. It has also been put forward by Hong Kong as a possible contender for best foreign film Oscar consideration.
“The Golden Era” makes its first appearance in Busan Friday. Hui said that making the three-hour historical epic was difficult given how removed the process was from the more contemporary dramas for which she is known – adding that the award was reward for “trying something new”.
A Hong Kong University student in the 1960s, Hui emerged as one of the leaders of the city’s New Wave movement in the 1980s alongside fellow directors such as Tsui Hark (“Once Upon a Time in China”). Hui has won best director at the Hong Kong Film Awards a record four times, including in 2011 for her critically acclaimed “A Simple Life”.
The Busan festival continues until October 11.