Backlash after `emotional win' for Ten Years

Top News | Kinling Lo and agencies 5 Apr 2016

A storm of controversy continues to swirl around Ten Years after it won best movie at the Hong Kong Film Awards.

Made on a shoestring budget, Ten Years became a surprise hit among locals for its dystopian view of Hong Kong in 2025 under Beijing's rule.

The film, produced for HK$500,000, has made HK$6 million in the SAR since it was released in December.

Ten Years won out over favorite Port of Call, which was nominated in 13 categories.

The crime thriller won seven prizes, including those for best actor Aaron Kwok Fu-shing and best actress Jessie Li Zhenhui.

Best movie was the lone award of Ten Years.

Media Asia chairman Peter Lam Kin- ngok, who is also chairman of the Tourism Board, said: "The fact that the film got the prize is a tragedy for Hong Kong's movie industry.

"Politics has kidnapped the profession and politicized film-awarding events."

Lam, who said he was speaking as a film investor, added: "The movie did not possess the qualities of best film, as you can see that it was not nominated for best actress or best actor awards, nor was it a blockbuster."

The former chairman of the Federation of Motion Film Producers of Hong Kong, Crucindo Hung Cho-sing, said the choice was "an out-of-your-mind and outrageous decision."

He added: "If the Hong Kong Film Awards Association continues with this no one will respect the award anymore."

Independent film director Ng See-yuen said: "Some people like to be in the opposition, they like to be in favor of what people dislike. I think this was the reason for the votes for Ten Years."

But executive producer Andrew Choi said: "What this award represents is so much bigger than the film. This award means that there's still hope for Hong Kong."

Hong Kong Film Awards chairman Derek Yee Tung-sing admitted he had to present the award himself as no guest was willing to do so.

Before he gave the award he said: "[Former United States] president [Franklin] Roosevelt said: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

Yee later clarified that he believed the panel that voted for Ten Years did so emotionally rather than judging the film from a professional perspective.

Yee added that movies with strong political overtones may harm filmmaking.

Mainland media did not mention the win by Ten Years, with at least one entertainment site omitting it from its list of winners. Online site Tencent, which often broadcasts film ceremonies, put up videos of other winners accepting awards.

Amid the controversial win, about 40 people marched to Government House yesterday asking Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to legislate national security bill Article 23.

One of the film's directors, Ng Ka- leung, said after receiving the award: "If you ask me what Beijing might feel toward us, I would say it doesn't really matter. The movie was made for Hong Kong people."

Ng said on radio yesterday the selection panel was "sufficiently professional" to judge which was the best film.

"Perhaps those who voted for the movie thought there were some values in the film that were more important and precious than skills."

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