The 12th edition of CinemAsia came to a rousing end on 10 March. Hundreds of guests and members of the public gathered at the Closing Ceremony held at Kriterion’s biggest hall to hear the announcement of awards, and enjoy the international premiere of The Lady Improper.
The CinemAsia Competition Jury 2019 consisted of Anthony Chen (Winner of Cannes Camera D’or), Marjan van der Haar (Managing Director of International Film Festival Rotterdam) and Jan Doense (Artistic Director of Film By the Sea film festival). After watching nine films from Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Vietnam and India. They awarded Best Film to Tumbbad from India, Best Director to Dong Yue, for Chinese thriller The Looming Storm, and Best Performer to Duan Yihong, the leading actor of The Looming Storm. Since Chen was unable to attend the ceremony, the two Dutch jury members were on stage to read out the citations. They also announced a Jury Special Mention for the Japanese film Bone Born Bone by Toshiyuki Teruya.
To mark the centennial of women’s suffrage in The Netherlands, the CinemAsia Youth Jury Award 2019 celebrated the achievements of female filmmakers. The Youth Jury, which consisted of Mila Lemmens (student in Humanities Department at the University of Amsterdam), Tara de Gelder (student of Media & Information at the University of Amsterdam) and Mitchell van Vuren (short film director and Research Masters’ student of Film and Literary Studies at Leiden University) watched nine films from Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, and Vietnam. They handed the award to Taiwanese documentary Turning 18 by Ho Chao-ti.
The rising film talent of CinemAsia FilmLAB 2019 was also honoured with a Best Film and Audience Award, both of which went to André Kloer’s Holding on to Silence.
An Elephant Sitting Still by late director Hu Bo, was voted the Tao Kae Noi Audience Award after its sold out screening at LAB111.
Under the artistic direction of Maggie Lee, CinemAsia Film Festival 2019 has brought 40 films from 15 regions and countries to the big screens in Amsterdam. The new culinary section, OISHII Asia proved to be a huge success. The Lady Improper, a film celebrating Hong Kong’s local food culture and female empowerment, screened the director’s cut. Jessey Tsang opened up about her personal life to the raving audience.
CinemAsia Best Performer Award 2019 – Duan Yi-hong段奕宏 in The Looming Storm暴雪將至by Dong Yue董越(China 2017)
“In the last five days we have seen fantastic actors of an incredible bandwidth – young and old, female and men, professionals and amateurs. Their acting work also varied from carefully composed characters of a ‘life-seized’ documentary style. Eventually, we came to an unanimous choice. We chose an actor who created a very multi-layered character whose complexity continued to grow until the end of the film. He constantly changed and gradually revealed a deeper layer of his versatile character. He did this so convincingly that we wondered if he had actually experienced the events in the film himself. For this exceptional acting performance we give the award for Best Performer to the Chinese actor Duan Yi Hong in The Looming Storm.”
CinemAsia Best Director Award 2019 – Dong Yue for The Looming Storm (China 2017)
“As a jury, how do you choose the Best Director if the films you judge are so different? We agreed that a good director would show his or her expertise by choosing the right camera perspective, setting scenes in the catchiest way and then using his authentic talent to conjure up the magic on the white screen. Our favourite director managed to create an incredible atmosphere, suspense and excitement with his film – and this with absolute certainty and control. This director succeeded in excelling all actors of the cast in their role in his fictional but totally credible dark world that he creates in the film. If you consider that this is his first feature film as both a director and a writer, then this performance is even more incredible! Therefore we give the Best Director Award to Dong Yue for his movie The Looming Storm. “
CinemAsia Jury Special Mention 2019 – Born Bone Born (Japan 2018) by Toshiyuki Teruya
“As we found it so difficult to make choices between the 9 films, we got convinced that we wanted to give a ‘Special Mention’ to a film that was essentially different from the other films in the competition. This film tells the daily pain and joy of life in a way that is deeply humorous as well as moving. This ensemble piece succeeds in giving each character an authentic personality and own story. With an idyllic island as background, a family comes together to celebrate the circle of life. The result is a heart-warming, well-rhythmic piece of cross-cultural life about the old ‘senkotsu’ ritual, which honours the dead and the living. Our Special Mention goes to Born Bone Born by the Japanese actor and director Toshiyuki Teruya. “
CinemAsia Best Film Award 2019 – Tumbbad (India 2018) van Rahi Anil Barve & Adesh Prasad
“What makes a movie the Best Film? The jury believes that it’s about – where all aspects and elements that make up a film come together in an excellent and complete way – setting the intentions, the tone and the story in the best possible way. So we have not only evaluated the artistic quality, but also assessed the production value, craftsmanship, complexity and originality. In the end we chose a film that captured our imagination, even if it was not the favorite genre of all jury members. This film creates a universe that is both fantastic as well as credible. And it serves a well-known genre, but in a new way that appeals to the current generation and thus tells an original moral story. Therefore the jury gives the Best Film Award to the Indian Film Tumbbad by Rahi Anil Barve & Adesh Prasad “.
CinemAsia Youth Jury Award 2019 for Best Female Director – Turning 18 未來無恙 (Taiwan 2018) by Ho Chao-ti賀照緹
“In the last six days we watched nine films by female directors during the CinemAsia Film Festival. We had a challenging assignment to choose the best from this selection. A difficult task! In the end, we opted for the film that portrayed the power and struggles of women in the most impressive way. This film excelled for us by the way in which the maker gives women a voice. She makes a powerful portrait of a sensitive story, of great importance both locally and globally. It breaks through stereotypes and shows human life in all its complexity. Based on these reasons, we, the Youth Jury CinemAsia Film Festival 2019, have decided to award the Award for Best Female Director 2019 to Ho Chao-Ti for her film Turning 18!”
CinemAsia FilmLAB Best Film Awards 2019 – the Jury Award and the Audience Award go to
Holding On to Silence by André Kloer | production Christina Muller
This year the FilmLAB Award Jury consisted of two international guests of the festival, director Jessey Tsang (The Lady Improper) and film editor Mary Stephen. They reviewed four short CinemAsia FilmLAB documentaries on (Asian) crafts and cultural heritage and named André Kloer’s documentary Holding On to Silence Best Film.
“We were convinced by the new perspective of a well-known theme, the search for Asian cultural roots. André Kloer looked for and found a truly original angle – we were also enthusiastic about the care given to the visual composition and editing of this one”.
The audience agreed with the jury’s assessment, because they also chose this film and Holding On to Silence was also awarded the CinemAsia FilmLAB Audience Award 2019.