The 4th ANNUAL ASIAN WORLD FILM FESTIVAL (AWFF) announced its Festival award winners during the closing night ceremony on 1st November at the ArcLight in Culver City, California.
For the past four years since its inauguration, the Asian World Film Festival (AWFF) has brought the best of a broad selection of Asian World cinema to Los Angeles to draw greater recognition to the region’s wealth of filmmakers, strengthening ties between the Asian and Hollywood film industries. Uniting through cross-cultural collaboration, the festival champions films from over 50 countries across Asia spanning from Turkey to Japan and Russia to India and the Middle East.
This year almost 40 feature films from 25 participating countries were presented during the nine-day festival that included 17 Oscar Foreign Language submissions and a dozen Golden Globe submitted films. The Awards ceremony, presented to a sold-out audience was followed by a screening of China’s In Harm’s Way and a reception at the Culver Hotel.
Lisa Lu was honoured with the Snow Leopard “Lifetime Achievement” Award. She has been making movies for over six decades, including The Joy Luck Club, The Last Emperor and this year’s smash hit Crazy Rich Asians. Lu is considered one of the few first Chinese American actresses that opened the door to Hollywood. The award was presented by actress Ming-Na Wen (Mulan, Joy Luck Club) who has worked with Ms. Lu on numerous films for almost three decades.
The “Snow Leopard Rising Star” Award was presented to Awkwafina whose performance as Peik Lin in Crazy Rich Asians was a scene stealer. Also known for her rapping talents, Awkwafina achieved acclaim for her acting in Ocean’s Eight and Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising. The award was presented by Justin Chon, AWFF Jury Member and previous Rising Star Award recipient.
The Murray Weissman Poster Art Award was given to Chris Lie’s Buffalo Boys and presented by director Sam Kadi, whose film Little Gandhi won last year’s award.
From a total of 17 films in competition, The AWFF Jury Awards, presented by members of the Jury, were:
Snow Leopard Best Film Award: Eduard Novikov’s The Lord Eagle, Yakutia (Russian Federation), presented by Vivian Wu and accepted by Marinna Dessiatkina, Producer of Yakutia.
Snow Leopard Best Actress Award: Zahraa Ghandour in The Journey (Iraq), presented by Alex Dong and Justin Chon and accepted by Consul General of Iraq D. Salwan Sinjaree.
Snow Leopard Best Actor Award: Akylbek Abdykalykov in Night Accident (Kyrgyzstan), presented by Georges N. Chamchoum and accepted by Asel Sherniyazova, AWFF Co-founder and Managing Director.
Snow Leopard Special Jury Award: Mouly Surya’s Marlina The Murderer in Four Acts, (Indonesia), presented by Silvia Bizio and Kimberly Cheng and accepted by Simon D. I. Soekarno, General Consul of the Republic of Indonesia.
Snow Leopard Jury Discretionary Award – Best New Director: Konstantin Khabenskiy, Sobibor (Russia) who accepted the award which was presented by Vivian Wu.
Jury Choice Award – Director and Cinematographer: Emir Baigazin, The River (Kazakhstan), presented by Eleonora Granata Jensinson.
Snow Leopard Audience Award: Mike Wiluan’s Buffalo Boys, (Singapore), presented by Vivian Wu and accepted by actor Yoshi Sudarso. A $10,000 prize was awarded by sponsor Mr. Kieob Park from CRP & SOOM.
Also in attendance were AWFF’s Founder/Chairman, Sadyk Sher-Niyaz, Executive Programming Director, Georges N. Chamchoum, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Asel Sherniyazova, Jury President Vivian Wu, and Jury Members Silvia Bizio, Kimberly Cheng, Justin Chon, Alex Dong, Eleonora Granata Jenkinson and Dalmira Tilepbergen.
Celebrity guests included Ming-Na Wen, Kieu Chinh, Lauren Tom, Amy Tan, Tamlyn Tomita, Ruby Yap, John Y, Thomas Aujero Small, Emile Hirsch and Peng Sun among many others.
In addition, Turkish superstar Türkan Soray accepted a special tribute award honouring Chingiz Aitmatov as the AWFF spotlighted the 90th anniversary of the Soviet/Kyrgyz author and statesman. Aitmatov is known for such films as Pervyy uchitel (1965), The Girl with the Red Scarf (1977) and Jamila (1994). His literary works have been translated into more than 150 languages.
Check the AWFF website for a list of all the submissions. Are there any films you’re hoping they’ll show in Australia?