Hong Kong has region's best movie

Macau (The Nation/ANN) - The 55th Asia Pacific Film Festival was held in Macao from December 13 to 16 at the Venetian Macao Resort Hotel. This glamorous event celebrates Asian filmmakers, actors, actresses and other cinema talents from the region.

The festival started with a gala dinner with executive chairman, Hong Kong actor-producer Eric Tsang Chi-Wai and superstar Jackie Chan, whose action comedy "Chinese Zodiac" opened the festival.

I had the chance to share a table with them and the jury members - Hong Kong actress Carina Lau, Cannes Film Festival artistic director Christian Jeune, Chinese director Lu Chuan, Indonesian producer Mira Lesmana, Thai director Nonzee Nimibutr, Indian director Anubhav Sinha and Taiwanese director Su Chao Pin.

There were many films pre-selected by a committee made up of festival directors, critics and producers: Freddie Wong (Hong Kong), Lorna Tee (Hong Kong), Oh Jung-wan (South Korea), Kong Rithdee (Thailand), Indu Shrikent (India), Nashen Moodley (Australia), Shen Yang (China) and Teruoka Sozo (Japan).

The jury members delivered their verdict on the night of December 15 from a red carpet in front of Venetian Resort, where tourists got up close to the stars.

Only one Thai film, "I Miss You", made it to the final nominations - for best editing by Nittipol Kositgnamdeewongse. However, Thailand's Traithep Wongpaiboon and Nopawat Likitwong won the prize for best sound, for the Hong Kong film "The Silent War".

Among other Southeast Asian countries, "Bunohan" from Malaysia was nominated for Best Picture and Thailand's Charin Pengpanitch for best cinematography. Fariza Azlina Isahak got a nod for best screenplay on "Songlap", along with Monologue for Best Music.

From the Philippines, Brilliante Man-doza was nominated as Best Director and Nora Aunor as Best Actress for "Thy Womb", and Eddie Garcia for Best Actor for "Bwakaw".

Indonesia's Prisia Nasution was up for the Best Actress award for "The Dancer", and Singapore's Wai Ying Hung for Best Supporting Actress. Thailand's Sunit Asvinikul was a nominee for Best Sound on "The Wedding Diary".

Apart from the opening film, there were five titles from new directors: "BBS Silent Code" and "The Harbour 2012" (Taiwan), "My Dog Dou Dou" (Singapore), "Paper Moon" (Malaysia) and "Triad" (Hong Kong).

Held nearly every year, the Asia Pacific Film Festival rotates to other cities in the region. Bangkok has hosted the event several times in the past.

The winners

Best Film: "Life without Principle" (Hong Kong)

Best Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda, "I Wish" (Japan)

Best Actress: Gwei Lun Mei, "GF*BF" (Taiwan)

Best Actor: Eddie Garcia, "Bwakaw" (Philippines)

Best Supporting Actress: Makiko Watanabe, "Capturing Dad" (Japan)

Best Supporting Actor: Lo Hoi Pang, "Life Without Principle" (Hong Kong)

Best Screenplay: Ahmad Reza Motomadi, "Alzheimer's" (Iran)

Best Cinematography: Jake Pollock, "Starry Starry Night" (Taiwan)

Best Editing: Kwong Chi Leong and Wong Hoi, "Cold War" (Hong Kong)

Best Music: Pritam Chakraborthy, "Barfi" (India)

Best Art Director: Wasiq Khan, "Gangs of Wasseypur 1 & 2" (India)

Best Sound: Traitep Wongpaiboon and Nopawat Likitwong, "The Silent War" (Hong Kong)

Victor Silakong directs the annual World Film Festival of Bangkok

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