Asian Brilliant Stars Awards Chinese Films in First-Ever Edition

Off-camera stars shine in inaugural awards ceremony at the Berlin International Film Festival.

The inaugural Asian Brilliant Stars honors were awarded in Berlin on Sunday night in conjunction with the 2017 Berlin Film Festival, during a ceremony hosted by Asian Film & Television Promotion in collaboration with the Beijing Film Academy and the Actor Committee of the China Radio and Television Association.

The award for Best Screenwriter went to the well-known Chinese novelist and scenarist, Liu Zhenyun for the film Someone To Talk To. In his acceptance speech, Liu, a frequent collaborator of the powerhouse director Feng Xiaogang and the screenwriter of Feng’s recent I Am Not Madame Bovary affected modesty, choosing to praise the filmmakers who adapt his novels for the big screen.

Best Producer was given to Huayi Brothers CEO, Jerry Ye Ning, the subject of some public conspiracy theorizing last year after a much-publicized move from rival studio Wanda. Ye is best known for his work with commercial Chinese films such as Mojin: The Lost Legend and The Taking of Tiger Mountain, but was recognized here for The Wasted Times, a stylized gangster film set in Republican-era Shanghai.

The night’s final award for Best Director was presented to Xu Haofeng, Wong Kar-Wai’s co-screenwriter on The Grandmaster, for another portrait of a kung fu instructor, the hypnotically stylized The Master.

Aimed at showcasing behind-the-scenes Asian talent and fostering Asian-European film cooperation, this first edition of the Asian Brilliant Stars awards were decidedly Sinocentric, owing both to the dominant position of China’s film industry in the region and the Chinese government’s continual “soft power” efforts to export its film products whilst touting cultural exchange.

Organizers of Sunday’s flashy event, held at the Sony Center in Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz, emphasized that future editions will spotlight local language productions and filmmakers from other Asian markets.