Chinese filmmaker Qiu Jiongjiong’s A New Old Play was named best film in the Young Cinema Competition (Chinese-language) of the Firebird Awards at this year’s Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF). Palestinian director Maha Haj’s Mediterranean Fever won the same honours in the Young Cinema Competition (World) section of the awards.
The jury hailed A New Old Play, the story of a family of Sichuan Opera artists living through a tumultuous era, as “one of this year’s most distinguished films both creatively and artistically”. Besides winning the Firebird Award, the film also won the prize of the FIPRESCI jury, who commented on its “masterful approach and inventive visual style”.
Also in the Chinese-language competition, Hong Kong’s Mak Pui-tung won best actor for The Sparring Partner, while best actress went to Ailiya for her performance in Journey To The West. The jury chose to not award a prize for best director.
In the Young Cinema Competition (World) section, Mediterranean Fever was awarded for being “an all-rounded gem that is at once a thriller, social comedy, and odd couple bromance.”
French and Belgian co-production Love According To Dalva picked up two prizes in this section – best director went to Emmanuelle Nicot and best actress to Zelda Samson. The best actor award went to Moritz Treuenfels for playing a pathological liar in Axiom.
The jury for the Young Cinema Competition (Chinese-language) section included producer Nai An and filmmakers Peter Ho-sun Chan and Anthony Chen. The jury for the Young Cinema Competition (World) section comprised producer and festival consultant Raymond Phathanavirangoon, Iranian actor and director Niki Karimi and Hong Kong distributor and critic Fred Tsui.
In the Documentary Competition, the jury unanimously gave the Firebird Award to Indian filmmaker Shaunak Sen’s All That Breathes, while Vietnamese director Ha Le Diem received the Jury Prize for Children Of The Mist.
Chilean filmmakers were the big winners in the Short Film Competition with Hugo Covarrubias’ Bestia selected as the Firebird Award winner for its distinctive animation aesthetics, while Cristóbal León and Joaquín Cociña collected the Jury Prize for The Bones. Brazilian director Carlos Segundo’s Sideral received a Special Mention.
HKIFF ran from August 15-31 after being postponed from its usual April slot due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The festival screened more than 200 films from 67 countries and regions, including 32 Asian and four world premieres across 17 days of in-theatre and online screenings. Next year’s edition of the festival has been scheduled for March 30-April 10, 2023.