Last month, the most important film event in China was the 2013 Shanghai International Film Festival. In addition to some remastered old films and the grand opening of the much anticipated Shanghai Film Museum, which was a huge success, the most meaningful program of SIFF was the Asian New Talent Award, which included 10 nominees from across Asia. The official jury was led by Lu Chuan, the young and ambitious Chinese filmmaker best known in the world for his Kekexili: Mountain Patrol (2004) and City of Life and Death (2009) and included veteran producer Gary Kurtz and critic Aruna Vasudev as well as young actress Laura Weissbecker (CZ 12).
The jury presented three awards to three films, and, amazingly, all of them were directed by women filmmakers: Best Feature award went to South Korea’s Roh Doek (Very Ordinary Couple) with a cash prize of RMB 150,000 (approximately 25,000 US$), Best Director award went to Singapore’s Wong Chen-hsi (Innocents) with a cash prize of RMB 150,000 (approximately 25,000 US$), and Jury Special Mention went to China’s Liu Juan (Singing When We Are Young).
At the interval of the MCCC (Media & Culture in Contemporary China) conference held at UCLA and USC from Oct. 20-22, 2011, I had some great and relaxed moments with some of my old friends and former mentors, notably the above “Rosen” brothers and Jason Squire, author of The Movie Business Book. It was a testament that we human beings do share many common traits regardless of cultural, racial, and gender differences. I was also moved that Robert Rosen presented me the displayed T-shirt as a gift, on which his teaching philosophy, or the “Creative Pyramid,” is imprinted. Thanks, Bob!