The 42nd Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF42) Award ceremony, held at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, announced the winning films in five award categories, including: three events under the Firebird Award Competition——“International Short Film Competition” sponsored by JIA SCREEN, the “Documentary Competition” and the “Young Cinema Competition”；“FIPRESCI Prize” and “Audience Choice Award” as well.
In addition, each competition was judged by an independent jury, including renowned Japanese director Mr. SUWA Nobuhiro; Iranian filmmaker Mani HAGHGHI; Kent JONES, Artistic Director of The New York International Film Festival; Cecilia YIP, two-time winner of the Hong Kong Film Award for Best Actress; Indian political documentarian Anand PATWARDHAN; celebrated Hong Kong photographer, director, producer and cinematographer Peter YUNG; critic of Asian performing arts Ken SMITH; Nuno RODRIGUES, a co-founder and the artistic director of the Portuguese film festival Curtas Vila do Conde; TSENG Wei-Chen, illustrious film critic and scriptwriter; local director Adam WONG, winner of the Hong Kong Film Award for Best New Director (see Appendix for complete list of jurors). The winner of the “Audience Choice Award” in the 42nd HKIFF was voted by audiences online.
The Young Cinema Competition seeks to encourage young filmmakers to explore the potential of the cinema as a powerful medium of our times. Eight films from a range of countries, including South Korea, Germany, Italy, France, Switzerland, Austria, Greece, China and Japan competed for the awards. The coveted Firebird Award was given to Girls Always Happy, directed by YANG Mingming from China. The jurors praised “A film that explores similar territory from a very different angle, that builds in richness and complexity and humour and insight as it goes, a film that is tough and tender, all at once, and endlessly rich and surprising.” Daughter of Mine directed by Laura BISPURI won the Jury Prize, “A film that sings with the rhythms and the wonders of the natural world” as commented by the jurors.
Filmmakers around the world embrace the documentary genre to help audiences reflect on aspects of real life conflicts and to address social issues. The Documentary Competition recognizes filmmakers for their devotion and contributions to creating documentaries that inspire audiences. The jury unanimously awards the Firebird Award to Of Love & Law directed by TODA Hikaru: “Through solid activist filmmaking, TODA captures the singular quirks of the Japanese legal system while emphasizing the need for diverse expression in any conformist society” The Jury Prize was awarded to The Distant Barking of Dogs directed by Simon Lereng WILMONT from Denmark. The jurors cited that the “Director delivers a palpable pacifist message in the figure of the boy’s grandmother, who avoids taking sides but remains an unmovable object in the path of war.” Mama directed by JIN Xingzheng from China received Special Mention. The jurors spoke highly of its creativity: “Jin Xingzheng’s account of an octogenarian mother’s care for her violent, mentally ill son unfolds as an extreme case of traditional family values that are fading in the age of modernity”
The short film is a unique genre for filmmakers to express their creativity and to experiment with the possibilities of expression in a limited timeframe. This year, the Short Film competition is sponsored by web-based JIA SCREEN which was founded by renowned director JIA Zhangke, who is committed to the development of the short film genre. The Short Film Competition Firebird Award winner was selected from 19 entries this year. The jurors praised the winning film Wicked Girl by Ayce KARTAL from Turkey as “a moving poem of a little girl's memory, beautiful yet painful” The Burden directed by Niki Lindroth VON BAHR from Sweden was awarded the Jury Prize. The jurors recognized this film as “A musical comedy which is played by anorexic animals and is against the consumption society, also metaphorizes our world as a galactic zoo on its way to perdition”.
FIPRESCI is an association of national organizations of professional film critics and film journalists from around the world. The FIPRESCI Prize recognizes enterprising filmmakers and promotes young talent in Asian cinema. The award this year went to Girls Always Happy directed by YANG Mingming “Through biting dialogues and playing the heroine herself, the director presents a vivid picture of urban values and culture in modern China, without overstating nor sugar-coating her main characters' flaws, and shows a self-assurance of tone that is remarkable for a first feature” as complimented by the jurors.
The popular “Audience Choice Award” is voted by audiences as in previous years, by an enthusiastic number of voters. An Elephant Sitting Still, directed by HU Bo, obtained the highest voting score from the audience, and won the debut “Audience Choice Award”. An audience member who voted for it was selected from the lucky draw and won the 2019 Cine Fan Patron Privilege prize worth HK$10,000; another winner from the all the participants was selected and won the one Acer laptop NITRO5 which worth at HKD8,998.