Mabel Cheung’s controversial documentary To My Nineteen-year-old Self scooped Best Picture at the Hong Kong Film Awards on Sunday night (April 16), where the crowds also applauded an appearance by Best Actress Academy Award winner Michelle Yeoh.
Malaysia-born Yeoh, who recently became the first Asian woman to win an Oscar for Best Actress, started her career in the Hong Kong film industry and has been making a celebratory return trip to the city over the past week. At the Hong Kong Film Awards, she presented the award for Best New Performer, which went to 10-year-old Sahal Zaman for The Sunny Side Of The Street.
Cheung’s documentary, which follows six schoolgirls over a perod of ten years, won Best Picture despite being earlier pulled from the awards after some of the girls said they hadn’t consented to any public screenings.
The film was resubmitted by its co-director, William Kwok, who attended the awards. Cheung did not attend the ceremony although two of the six girls featured in the film made an appearance.
Kwok encouraged Hong Kong filmmakers to continue making documentaries: “Don’t be afraid, because documentaries are needed. Use the lens to record what is happening, remember to keep rolling, keep going, don’t be afraid – shoot first, edit first, and release first.”
Wai Ka-fai’s crime thriller Detective vs Sleuths was the biggest winner at the awards – taking five prizes for Best Director, Best Actor (Sean Lau Ching-wan), Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction (see list below).
Sammi Cheng won Best Actress for playing a grieving mother who becomes a foster parent in Lost Love, for which she also picked up the award for Best Original Film Song. Ivana Wong won Best Supporting Actress for her role in ensemble comedy Table For Six, while veteran comedian and actor Michel Hui took Best Supporting Actor for Where The Wind Blows.
Best New Director went to crime drama The Sparring Partner, which also won Best Film Editing. Sci-fi epic Warriors Of Future scored in the technical categories taking prizes for Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Design and Best Action Choreography.
41st Hong Kong Film Awards Winners:
Best Film: To My Nineteen-Year-Old Self
Best Director: Wai Ka-fai, Detective vs Sleuths
Best Actress: Sammi Cheng, Lost Love
Best Actor: Sean Lau Ching-wan, Detective vs Sleuths
Best Supporting Actress: Ivana Wong, Table For Six
Best Supporting Actor: Michael Hui, Where The Wind Blows
Best Screenplay: Wai Ka-fai, Ryker Chan, Mak Tin-shu, Detective vs Sleuths
Best New Director: Ho Cheuk-tin, The Sparring Partner
Best New Performer: Sahal Zaman, The Sunny Side Of The Street
Best Cinematography: Cheng Siu-keung, Detective vs Sleuths
Best Visual Effects: Leung Wai-kit, Kwok Tai, Chas Chau Chi-Shing & May Law, Warriors Of Future
Best Sound Design: Nopawat Likitwong, Sarunyu Nurnsai, Dhanarat Dhitirojana & Stan Yau, Warriors Of Future
Best Action Choreography: Jack Wong, Warriors Of Future
Best Art Direction: Andrew Wong and Bill Lui, Detective vs Sleuths
Best Film Editing: Jojo Shek, J Him Lee & Zhang Zhao, The Sparring Partner
Best Costume & Makeup: Dora Ng Lei-Lo & Petra Kwok Suk-man, Where The Wind Blows
Best Original Film Song: Sammi Cheng, Lost Love
Best Original Film Score: Wong Hin-yan, The Narrow Road
Best Asian Chinese Language Film: In Search Of Lost Time
Lifetime Achievement: Bowie Wu Fung