(February 28, 2017, Hong Kong) Organized by the Asian Film Awards Academy, the 11th Asian Film Awards (AFA) will present the Lifetime Achievement Award to iconic Hong Kong film director, producer, screenwriter and actor TSUI Hark at the AFA Ceremony on March 21, 2017 (Tuesday) at The Hong Kong Cultural Centre. Previous AFA Lifetime Achievement Award recipients include Hong Kong action choreographer-director YUEN Wo-ping, Korean director IM Kwon-taek, Taiwanese director HOU Hsiao-hsien, Hong Kong Director Ann HUI, Hong Kong producer Raymond CHOW, Indian actor Amitabh BACHCHAN, and Japanese director YAMADA Yoji. The AFA’s Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes film professionals who inspire excellence in others, and in their lifetimes have made fundamental achievements and a lasting impact of outstanding artistic, cultural and commercial significance in Asian cinema.
About TSUI Hark
TSUI Hark is recognized as a heavyweight of Chinese cinema with prestigious awards from the Hong Kong Film Awards, the Taipei Golden Horse Awards, and the Venice Film Festival. Approaching the 40th year of his prolific career, Tsui has directed 32 films, co-directed 5 films and produced 61 films with many iconic talents. His bold aesthetics and techniques have pushed traditional boundaries, making him one of the world’s most influential filmmakers.
An iconoclastic director and cinema mogul
Born in 1950 in Vietnam, TSUI moved to Hong Kong with his family at the age of 13. Drawn to film in his early teens, TSUI later studied filmmaking in the U.S. before returning to Hong Kong in 1977 to pursue his career a director and producer. His debut film The Butterfly Murders (1979), produced by NG See-yuen, already showcased his unconventional style and skills in the wuxia film genre. He then directed the horror comedy We’re Going to Eat You (1980) and the politically daring Dangerous Encounters of the First Kind (1980). These first three feature films announced a filmmaker of bold ambition, curiosity and inventiveness, establishing TSUI as one of the driving forces of the Hong Kong New Wave.
In 1984, TSUI and Nansun SHI founded Film Workshop, through which he directed and produced a series of highly successful commercial films. Some of the well-known classics, which contributed to the shaping of the “golden era” of Hong Kong cinema, include Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain (dir. TSUI Hark, 1983), A Better Tomorrow (dir. John WOO, 1986), the A Chinese Ghost Story series (dir. Tony CHING, 1987 – 1991), The Killer (dir. John WOO, 1989), the Swordsman series (dir. King HU, 1990; dir. Tony CHING, 1992; dir. Tony CHING and Raymond LEE, 1993), the Once Upon a Time in China series (dir. TSUI Hark, 1991 – 94; dir. YUEN Bun, 1993; dir. Sammo HUNG, 1997), Iron Monkey (dir. YUEN Wo-ping, 1993) and Time and Tide (dir. TSUI Hark, 2000). In the 1990s, TSUI directed Double Team (1997) and Knock Off (1998) starring Jean-Claude Van Damme in Hollywood. These films were popular with both local and international audiences, strengthening TSUI’s status as a cosmopolitan and versatile filmmaker who helped bring Hong Kong cinema to global prominence.
A pioneer and legend of the wuxia genre
In 2005, TSUI’s Seven Swords (2005) was the opening film of the Venice Film Festival. In the next year, he co-directed the much anticipated anthology Triangle (2007) with fellow directors Ringo LAM and Johnnie TO, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. TSUI’s mastery of combining period action and special effects were stunningly displayed in Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame (2010), which was nominated the Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival and earned him his second Hong Kong Film Award for Best Director, following his first win for Once Upon a Time in China (1991). He then received this accolade for the third time for directing The Taking of Tiger Mountain (2014).
Ever since his early career, TSUI has been interested in applying new technologies to the traditional martial arts film. He broke new ground in 1983 with Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain using technologies developed from Star Wars; in 1997, he produced the first 3D Chinese animation A Chinese Ghost Story: The Tsui Hark Animation (dir. Andrew Chen). He was the first director in China to employ IMAX 3D cameras in Flying Swords of Dragon Gate (2011). Thereafter, he has been utilizing the 3D technology in his films, including Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon (2011), which won the Maverick Award at the Rome International Film Festival; and The Taking of Tiger Mountain (2014), which grossed over RMB880 million (USD140 million) in the China market alone.
An endless quest for excellence
To continue reworking and expanding the martial arts genre, TSUI has produced Sword Master (2016) directed by Derek YEE and The Thousand Faces of Dunjia (2017) directed by YUEN Wo-ping. His latest directorial work Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back (2017) marks his first collaboration with Hong Kong film icon Stephen CHOW. With ingenuity and determination, TSUI has straddled the fine line between tradition and modernity. As a popular director and an auteur, he has achieved both artistic and technical breakthroughs that have advanced the language of cinema. His imagination has been boundless and yet grounded in its connection with his audience.
Details of the 11th Asian Film Awards Ceremony:
Date: March 21, 2017 (Tuesday)
Venue: Grand Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre
(10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong)
Asian Film Awards (AFA)
Inaugurated in 2007, the Asian Film Awards celebrates excellence in Asian cinema through the annual presentation of awards to talents and films that make up the dynamic film industries of Asia. Awards night is a spectacular gathering of stars, celebrities, industry professionals and the media that highlights and publicizes the year’s achievements in Asian movies.
Presented in Hong Kong in its first seven years, the Awards moved to one of Asia’s fastest growing entertainment hubs, Macau, in 2014 – one step closer to its long-term plan of being held in different Asian cities to reflect its broad reach across the entire region.
Asian Film Awards Academy (AFAA)
In 2013, three main Asian film festivals – Busan, Hong Kong and Tokyo – joined together to create the non-profit organization, the Asian Film Awards Academy to promote and develop Asian cinema and its talents. The AFA Academy highlights, strengthens and develops Asian film industry and culture through the annual Asian Film Awards, and several year-round initiatives including strategies for building regional and international audiences.
Members of the AFA Academy are drawn from all past nominees and winners of the Asian Film Awards. Members vote for the Asian Film Awards and also participate in various AFA Academy activities involving film professionals and audiences in Asia and around the world.
In 2015, the AFA Academy launched events and activities including the Masterclass Series, Journey to the Fest, Asian Cinerama and Young Film Professionals Program to promote, educate, inform and develop knowledge, skills and interest in Asian cinema among the industry, students and audiences in Asia and beyond. The AFA Academy expresses the increasing global importance and creative strengths of Asian films and aims to unite the industries and talents of the fast-growing region.
Create Hong Kong
Create Hong Kong is a dedicated office set up under the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on 1 June 2009 to lead, champion and drive the development of the creative economy in Hong Kong. It co-ordinates Government policy and effort regarding creative industries, focuses Government resources for the promotion and speeding up of the development of creative industries in Hong Kong, and works closely with the trade to boost the development of creative industries. For more details, visit www.createhk.gov.hk/.
The Hong Kong Film Development Fund
The Hong Kong Film Development Fund was first set up by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in 1999 to fund projects and activities which contribute towards the development of the Hong Kong film industry, including part-financing small-to-medium budget film productions; enhancing efforts to promote Hong Kong films in the Mainland and overseas; enhancing initiatives to train talents in various aspects of film production and distribution; and enhancing the interest and appreciation of Hong Kong films by the local audience. For more details, visit www.fdc.gov.hk/tc/services/services2.htm.