The very first Asian Brilliant Stars Awards were successfully inaugurated during the 67th Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) and thus represented a milestone for Asian cinema.
The Asian Brilliant Stars awards ceremony and a panel at the European Film Market (EFM) in cooperation with the “Asian Film & Television Promotion” (AFTP) attracted a great deal of attention from domestic and foreign media outlets, making a splash by representing the Asian film industry during this year’s Berlinale.
On the evening of February 12 in Berlin, the AFTP partnered with the Beijing Film Academy and the Actor Committee of the China Radio and Television Association (CRTA) to host the awards ceremony of the Asian Brilliant Stars at the specially selected Kaisersaal at Potsdamer Platz (Sony Center), which has hosted famous figures in its over 500 years of history.
First Asian Brilliant Stars awards ceremony
In addition to representatives from the Berlinale and the European Film Promotion (EFP), the 10 new European Shooting Stars as well as senior filmmakers from both Europe and Asia attended the first Asian Brilliant Stars. Liu Zhenyun was awarded the Best Screenwriter, while Jerry Ye won the Best Producer Award and Xu Haofeng received the Best Director Award. All of them delivered wonderful speeches, winning waves of laughter and applause from the audience, especially when Mr. Liu said that there were two reasons, he was in Berlin: one was to get the Best Screenwriter award, but the more important one was to have noodles with Yan Geling, since her husband can imitate over 100 kinds of birds.
Famous writer Yan Geling gives the Best Scriptwriter Award to Liu Zhenyun
Chairman of the Council of Beijing Film Academy Hou Guangming presents the Best Producer Award to Jerry Ye
Former EFP chairman Claudia Landsberger gives the Best Director Award to Xu Haofeng
The success of the first Asian Brilliant Stars during the 67th Berlinale, opens a new chapter for cooperation between the Asian and European film industries. In the future, more outstanding Asian filmmakers will be able to participate in European and international film productions through the Asian Brilliant Stars programme. Hou Guangming, Chairman of the Council of Beijing Film Academy said, “We believe that Asian Brilliant Stars will become the largest film prize in Asia, and its establishment is bound to promote the sustainable growth of Asian and European film.”
Chairman of the Council of Beijing Film Academy Hou Guangming at the awards ceremony
However the awards ceremony alone doesn’t cover the full significance of Asian Brilliant Stars. On February 15, Asian Brilliant Stars organizer AFTP partnered with the EFM and Bridging the Dragon to launch the first AFTP panel, inviting Berlinale officials, senior European film figures, as well as outstanding Asian filmmakers including Asian Brilliant Stars Best Producer winner Jerry Ye, Easy Entertainment co-founder Jessica Chen and internationally renowned casting director PoPing AuYeung to explore The challenge of casting Chinese actors for co-productions.
EFM Director Matthijs Wouter Knol, AFTP secretary-general Richard Shen, Easy Entertainment co-founder Jessica Chen, famous casting director PoPing AuYeung, Asian Brilliant Stars Best Producer winner Jerry Ye, and Bridging the Dragon representative Cristiano Bortone
The rise of the Asian economy has brought increasing attention and opportunities to Asian films in recent years and many European film professionals wish to know more about distribution and promotion in the Asian film market, especially the Chinese film market. Statistics show that the Chinese government approved up to 89 co-productions in 2016, the largest annual number so far. China has also expanded its scope of film development cooperation to 17 countries and regions around the world. Directors and investors face new challenges in casting talent and making full use of the advantages and resources of different parties.
Casting director AuYeung PoPing, who’s well-known throughout the global film industry, took the lead to express her opinions at the AFTP Panel, stating that “Hollywood film directors select Chinese actors based on two criteria besides professional competence, namely fluency in spoken English and Chinese nationality. However, many Chinese actors with strong professional competence are incompetent in oral English, while almost all actors speaking English fluently are not Chinese nationals If Chinese actors want to have a role in Hollywood-China co-productions, they must continue to improve their proficiency in English. In short, English-language competence is the biggest challenge facing Chinese actors, in my opinion.”
“When given an opportunity for a role in a co-production, Chinese actors should first figure out whether the script has an attractive plot and refined story-telling rather than just caring about how big the production is. Actually, many small-scale co-productions boast appealing plots and superb story-telling. These films really deserve actors who truly care about winning their roles,” Jerry Ye, the winner of the Best Producer Award, said.
Based on the demand of Chinese audiences, Jessica Chen, the co-founder of Easy Entertainment said, “Target markets are an important consideration in casting talent for co-productions. For co-productions mainly targeting Chinese audiences, it will be better to have foreign actors who work and live in China. There are many foreign actors in China who can speak Chinese fluently.”