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Tuesday, December 6, 2016, 12:01

Hong Kong moment in S’pore film festival

By Evelyn Yu in Singapore
Hong Kong moment in S’pore film festival

Hong Kong veteran actor Simon Yam bags Cinema Legend Award during the 27th Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF). (Photo courtesy of the 27th SGIFF and Xuan Rong)

HONG KONG – The 12-day 27th Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) which ended on Sunday had a Hong Kong moment this year.

Hong Kong veteran actor Simon Yam Tat-wah received the Cinema Legend award at SGIFF’s Silver Screen Awards, while Hong Kong film director Fruit Chan Gor was presented with the Honorary Award.

He (Simon Yam) is 61. When you are already a veteran, you don't need to work very hard. But Simon is so brave in looking for new roles and willing to take risks in his career

Yuni Hadi, Executive Director, SGIFF

Debuting as a model in the mid-1970s, Yam rose to fame for his performance in a number of television series aired by Hong Kong television network TVB. He joined the film industry in 1987 and has since featured in more than 200 films and bagged numerous awards.

"He is 61. When you are already a veteran, you don't need to work very hard. But Simon is so brave in looking for new roles and willing to take risks in his career,” SGIFF Executive Director Yuni Hadi said.

"We want to encourage all other actors to follow his example with this award.”

The film festival also screened a mini-retrospective as a special tribute to Fruit Chan, showing five of Chan’s most renowned works, including Dumplings, Durian Durian, Little Cheung.

Honorary Award of the SGIFF recognizes individuals who have made exceptional and enduring contributions to Asian cinema, especially in their own places.

Hadi said the festival gave this award to Chan for his outstanding portrait of the “uniqueness of Hong Kong”.

Hong Kong moment in S’pore film festival
Hong Kong film director Fruit Chan receives Honorary Award during the 27th Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) on Dec 3, 2016. (Photo courtesy of the 27th SGIFF and Bonnie Yap)

Chan rose to prominence with his film Made in Hong Kong, the first of his “1997 Trilogy” following the Hong Kong’s reunification with its motherland, China. The story centers around a high school drop-out who collects debt for a living. He aimlessly wanders with his intellectually impaired friend until he falls for the daughter of one of his debtors, who suffered from a terminal kidney disease and needs an urgent transplantation.

The low budget film which was shot with leftover film stock collected by Chan in his assistant director days earned him Best Director by the Hong Kong Film Awards in 1998.

Breaking the stereotype of swashbuckling gangster films in Hong Kong, many of Chan’s work casts a careful gaze on the marginalized lower class of the city.

Founded in 1987, SGIFF is the largest and longest-running film event in Singapore. The 27th SGIFF screened 161 feature and short films from 52 countries and regions with a focus in Southeastern Asia movies. The theme of this years’ festival is “Tell our own stories”. Filmmakers across the region are honored and encouraged to show the world stories of their own places through engaging storytelling skills.

evelyn@chinadailyhk.com
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