Feng Xiaogang’s ‘Youth’ Takes Top Honors at the Asian Brilliant Stars

The 2nd Asian Brilliant Stars, which is held on the margins of the Berlinale, announced this year’s winners on February 21st. Chinese drama film Youth won three awards, including Special Jury Award (Feng Xiaogang), Best Screenwriter (Yan Geling), and Asian New Talent (Zhong Chuxi).

Directed by renowned Chinese director Feng Xiaogang, Youth follows the lives of a dancer running away from her father’s political sins during the Cultural Revolution and a soldier fighting in the Sino-Vietnamese war. The film was screened at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival and topped the December box office in China with over $157 million, ahead of Pixar’s animated film Coco.

Recommended Reading‘Youth’: Feng Xiaogang’s Paean to NostalgiaBy Poornima Weerasekara

Best Director Award went to Isreali filmmaker Samuel Maoz for his recent film Foxtrot. The film won the Grand Jury Prize Silver Lion at the 74th Venice International Film and is Isreal’s submission for the best foreign-language film category at the 2018 Oscars.

Thai actress Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying won the Best Actress Award for her performance in Bad Genius, which achived both commercial and critical success across Asia in 2017. Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying is also in Berlin this year for her leading role in Die Tomorrow, which was selected into the Forum section of the Berlinale.

Best Actor Award went to Taiwanese actor Chang Chen for his leading role in Brotherhood of Blades II: The Infernal Battlefield. Chang Chen is best known for his performances in Edward Yang’s A Bright Summer Day, Hou Hsiao-hsien’s The Assassin and Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Chinese director Zhang Yang won the Best Producer Award for his arthouse hit Paths of The Soul. Zhang wrote, directed, and produced the film, which tells the story of 11 Tibetan villagers taking their one-year and 1200 km pilgrimage.

This year’s jury is comprised of legendary South Korean director Kim Ki Duk, Mandfred Wong, the former president of the Hong Kong Film Awards, and Japanese producer Shozo Ichiyama whose work includes Violent Cop (Takeshi Kitano), Goodbye South, Goodbye (Hou Hsiao-hsien) and Platform (Jia Zhangke).

Feng Xiaogang said at the award ceremony, “The Asian Brilliant Stars gives us, Asian filmmakers, the opportunity to know each other and exchange. I like Kim Ki Duk’s films very much but didn’t have the chance to meet with him until today. The Asian Brilliant Stars has opened a dialogue-this dialogue will continue in the future.”