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Sandy Lam leads 24th Golden Melody Awards NominationsMay 23, 2013
Golden Melody Award stalwart Jay Chou scores his usual Best Mandarin Male Singer nomination as well as Best Mandarin Album and Best Album Producer for Opus 12. He is joined in the Best Male singer race by Yoga Lin, Jam Hsiao, Khalil Fong and first-time nominee Xiao Yu. Khalil Fong's Back to Wonderland is also nominated for Best Mandarin Album, with Taiwan rapper MC Hotdog's Ghetto Superstar finishing out the shortlist. For Best Song of the Year, besides Jay and Jolin, the other nominees are Deserts Xuan's "Rose-Colored," which is also nominated for Best Lyrics, and Kay Huang's "Aftertaste" and Yonlong Chen's "Coastline," both of which are also nominated for Best Composer.
Indie bands rule the Best Band category with Lie Gramophone, Monkey Pilot, io, My Skin Against Your Skin and 2011 Golden Melody winner Matzka, while Best Group is an open race among katncandix2, JS, Dark White-collar Workers, Tom & Huck and O-Kai. A cappella group O-Kai also garnered a nomination for Best Newcomer along with Sangpuy, Bai An, Jia Jia, Ai Yi Liang, and Miss Ko.
The 24th Golden Melody Awards ceremony will be held on July 6 in Taipei.
Text / Sanwei
G-Dragon holds sold-out solo tour in Hong KongMay 22, 2013
Known for his trendy, idiosyncratic fashion, G-Dragon opened the show with a race car driver look – complete with a crystal race car! The energy level stayed high throughout the night as the idol went through a nonstop lineup of hits including Heartbreaker, Crayon, That XX, This Love, his latest single Michi Go and, naturally, One of a Kind. He also offered newly arranged versions of Today and A Boy and his own versions of Big Bang hits Fantastic Baby and Bad Boy. YG Entertainment labelmate Epik High appeared as a special guest for the concerts.
G-Dragon caused fans much worry when he injured his leg earlier at the Osaka concert. As with all things GD, his cane has since turned into a fashion talking point, but he stated at his press conference in Hong Kong that he has largely recovered. G-Dragon also revealed that while he has considered including his dog Gaho in performances, his beloved pet is too big and only listens to his mother.
After Hong Kong, the One of a Kind tour will travel to Shanghai, Nagoya, Bangkok, Jakarta, Kualu Lumpur and Singapore. G-Dragon is the first K-pop solo artist to hold a four-dome tour in Japan, and his Seoul concert was described by Billboard as a "Michael Jackson-level affair."
See photos from G-Dragon's Hong Kong press conference on YesAsia Facebook.
Text / Sanwei
Soul to open 2013 Taipei Film FestivalMay 16, 2013
The festival also announced its two closing films: Director Yang Li Chou's latest documentary Bridge Over Troubled Water and omnibus film Taipei Factory. Yang's film – a world premiere – follows the recovery efforts of a small Kaohsiung town after it was badly damaged by a typhoon. Taipei Factory teams up eight emerging directors – four from Taiwan and four from around the world – for an omnibus of four short films. The film will have its world premiere as the Opening Film of the Director's Fortnight section at the Cannes Film Festival before returning to Taiwan for its Asian premiere.
The 15th Taipei Film Festival will be held from June 28th to July 20th.
Text / Rockman
Yoo Jae Suk & Ryu Seung Ryong win Grand Prizes at 49th Baeksang Arts AwardsMay 10, 2013
Ha Jung Woo won Best Actor again for the action thriller Berlin File, marking his third win in four years at the Baeksang Arts Awards (he won for Take Off in 2010 and The Yellow Sea in 2011). After winning in 2008 for Hellcats, Kim Min Hee picked up her second Best Actress award this year for the romantic comedy Very Ordinary Couple. Ma Dong Seok won Best Supporting Actor for The Neighbors, while The Concubine's Cho Eun Ji won Best Supporting Actress. In the newcomer categories, Best New Director went to Jo Sung Hee (A Werewolf Boy), Best New Actress to Han Ye Ri (As One) and Best New Actor to child actor Ji Dae Han (A Wonderful Moment).
Dubbed the "Nation's MC," popular host Yoo Jae Suk, whose hit programs include Running Man, Infinite Challenge and Happy Together, took the Grand Prize in television. The acclaimed SBS series The Chaser snagged three top awards – Best Drama, Best Script and Best Actor for Son Hyun Joo – while the melodrama That Winter, The Wind Blows was recognized for Best Directing. A Wife's Credentials' Kim Hee Ae won Best Actress and Lee Hee Joon (You Who Rolled in Unexpectedly) and Jung Eun Ji (Answer Me 1997) won Best New Actor and Actress, respectively. In variety, hot-topic reality show Dad! Where Are We Going? won Best Variety Program, while Kim Byung Man (Law of the Jungle) and Shin Bo Ra (Gag Concert) were named the Best Variety Performers.
In the Popularity Award categories, Kim Dong Wan (Deranged), Park Shin Hye (Miracle in Cell No. 7), Kwon Yuri (Fashion King) and Park Yoo Chun (I Miss You) topped the polls. Legendary actor Ahn Sung Ki was also specially honored with the Social Contribution Award.
Text / Sanwei
Miike, Kore-eda, Jia in 2013 Cannes CompetitionApril 22, 2013
Three Asian films – two from Japan and one from China – will compete for the Palme d'Or: Miike Takeshi's thriller Shield of Straw, Kore-eda Hirokazu's family drama Like Father, Like Son and A Touch of Sin, Jia Zhangke's contemporary tribute to King Hu and Chang Cheh. Miike's For Love's Sake had a midnight screening last year, Kore-eda's Air Doll was in the Un Certain Regard section in 2009 and Jia's previous dramatic film I Wish I Knew was in the 2010 Un Certain Regard. Sin is also the first Chinese film to be in the Cannes competition since 2010's Chongqing Blues.
The Philippines has two films in this year's Un Certain Regard section: Norte, The End of History from Lav Diaz and Death March by Adolfo Alix Jr. They will be joined by Hong Kong's Bends, starring Carina Lau and Aloys Chen. The film marks the directorial debut of Flora Lau and has the support of film veterans like producer Nansun Shi, cinematographer Christopher Doyle and longtime Wong Kar Wai collaborator William Chang.
Johnnie To's latest Blind Detective, starring Andy Lau and Sammi Cheng, will have its world premiere as a midnight screening. Amit Kumar's Monsoon Shootout and omnibus film Bombay Talkies will represent India in the Special Screenings section.
After having two films in the official competition last year, Korea is notably missing from yesterday's announcement, as was Peter Chan's American Dreams in China (the film's release date was recently delayed to after the opening of the festival, prompting Cannes rumors). However, they may appear in the Director's Fortnight or the International Critic's Week sections, whose selections will be announced later.
Text / Rockman
Yamada Yoji reunites with Matsu Takako for Chisai O-uchiApril 19, 2013
The film, which is being called Yamada's first romance film, will be shot in two parts. Yamada is currently shooting the Showa section with Matsu, and he will begin shooting the modern section – starring Tsumabuki and Baishi Chieko as the former maid – in May 2013. The score will once again be composed by Hisaishi Joe (who also composed the score for Tokyo Family), and the film is currently set for a January 2014 theatrical release.
Text / Rockman
Sita Chan (1987-2013)April 17, 2013
Sita began singing professionally in 2005 as a demo singer after winning several singing contests. She officially entered the music industry in 2011 when she signed with Star Entertainment and made her debut with the EP Crazy Love in 2012. Her debut earned her multiple newcomer prizes from various Hong Kong yearend music awards. The music video for ballad "Forget the River," composed by Sita herself, attracted over 1.8 million views on YouTube. The music video for "Speculations," from her second and final release Let Me Find Love, attracted 1.4 million views.
In addition to her singing career, the up-and-coming star also acted in the films Lan Kwai Fong 2 and Love in Time, as well as two local stage productions. Hours before her death, Sita was in the recording studio, where she uploaded her last photo on Sina Weibo (a popular Chinese microblog). That final post attracted over 1,200 comments within hours after her death, many of them condolences from other Hong Kong stars.
Text / Rockman
13th Top Chinese Music AwardsApril 15, 2013
In the netizen-voted categories, Han Geng was crowned Most Popular China Male Artist, on top of winning awards for Best Dance Artist, Best Album Planning (Han Geng), Best Dance Song and Best Music Video (both for "Clown Mask"). Jay Chou and Angela Chang topped votes for Most Popular Hong Kong/Taiwan Male and Female Artists. Liu Xin was voted the Most Popular Newcomer and EXO-M, who made their debut at last year's Top Chinese Music Awards, returned this year to win Most Popular Group.
Singer-songwriter Xu Wei took Best Rock Artist as well as Best Arrangement (for "Paradise) honors, while bands Escape Plan and The Life Journey split the remaining rock category awards. The former won Best New Rock Artist and Best Rock Album (World), and the latter, Best Rock Band and Best Rock Song ("Beijing Summer Night"). In folk music, Taiwan legend Kimbo Hu won both Best Folk Artist and Best Folk Album (Sky High Mountain Blues), June Zhu's "Lugu Lake Love Song" won Best Folk Song and Song Dongye won Best New Folk Artist.
Other winners of the night include Khalil Fong (Best Album Producer for Back to Wonderland), Yoga Lin (Best Soundtrack Song for "Fool") and Huang Qishan (Jury's Recommendation Artist). Wang Feng and Yu Quan were also recognized with the Most Influential Artist and Group awards.
Text / Sanwei
Cold War sweeps 32nd Hong Kong Film AwardsApril 15, 2013
Despite not winning any award for himself, director Pang Ho Cheung was also a major winner at the awards as his films won a total of three acting awards: Ronald Cheng and Dada Chen won the Best Supporting Actor and Actress awards for Vulgaria, respectively, while Miriam Yeung took home her first Best Actress award for Love in the Buff.
Four other films split the other technical awards: The Last Tycoon won Best Art Direction and Best Original Song (performed by Jacky Cheung), The Silent War won Best Cinematography, The Great Magician won Best Costume and Make Up and Jackie Chan's CZ12 (a.k.a. Chinese Zodiac) won Best Action. Roy Chow won the Best New Director award for Nightfall; he was nominated in the same category for Murderer three years ago. Feng Xiaogang's Back to 1942 won the Best Film from Mainland China and Taiwan award, beating out Love is Not Blind, Love, Painted Skin: Resurrection and GF&BF.
As previously announced, veteran director/producer Ng See Yuen won the Lifetime Achievement Award for his longtime contribution to the film industry, including acting as the Chairman of the Hong Kong Directors' Association. In line with this year's tribute to film (as a response to the increasing use of digital filmmaking equipment), Ko Tin Yue and Lui Lai Wah won the Professional Achievement Award for their work in film processing, while Eastman Kodak won the Pioneer Award for their innovations in photographic film.
Text / Rockman
Louis Koo, Angelica Lee at press con of Pang Bros firefighter film Inferno 3DMarch 21, 2013
Touted as the first 3D Chinese firefighter movie, the HK$150 million-budgeted production stars Louis Koo and Lau Ching Wan as estranged firefighter brothers who reunite amid disaster when a massive fire breaks out in a building, trapping the people within including Louis Koo and Angelica Lee (who plays Lau Ching Wan's wife). Both Lau and Koo have played firefighters before, the former in Johnnie To's Lifeline (1997) and the latter in the 1998 TVB drama Burning Flame.
At the press conference, Louis Koo said that he originally thought there would be no actual fire and only special effects, but the situation turned out to be different on set. He recalled one fire scene for which the directors' instruction for him was simply to stick it out as long as he could, but the heat from the fire was too unbearable. Even for the Pang Brothers, who have ample experience in 3D filmmaking, shooting Inferno 3D presented new challenges they had not calculated, such as the fact that fire and smoke could also create outtakes.
Lau Ching Wan was unable to attend the press conference as he is currently in Thailand filming Benny Chan's Metamorphosis (which also co-stars Louis Koo). Lau, however, did shoot a video greeting for the press conference. In the video, he commented that the Pang Brothers were actually very humorous on set and suited for comedies. He cheekily suggested that the Pangs should shoot a comedic version of Inferno 3D.
Inferno 3D is expected to open in October 2013.
See more photos from the press conference on YesAsia Facebook.
Text / Sanwei
Mystery the big winner at 7th Asian Film AwardsMarch 21, 2013
Another major winner of the night was the Philippines, as two of the greatest living legends of its entertainment industry picked up both major acting prizes. Eddie Garcia, who has acted in over 500 films in his 60-year career, picked up the Best Actor prize for Bwakaw, while actress/recording artist Nora Aunor picked up the Best Actress prize for Thy Womb. Garcia also picked up the People's Choice Award for My Favorite Actor. Fellow Filipino actress/presenter Eugene Domingo, who won the People's Choice Award with Andy Lau in a show-stealing moment last year, openly expressed her support and respect for the two stars throughout the day.
Japan also fared well at the awards. Kitano Takeshi won the coveted Best Director prize for Outrage Beyond, Watanabe Makiko scored the Best Supporting Actress prize for the indie film Capturing Dad and Kusakabe Mototaka won the Best Editing award for The Kirishima Thing. India also scored two awards this year, with Nawazuddin Siddiqui winning Best Supporting Actor for Talaash: The Answer Lies Within and Pritam winning the Best Composer award for Barfi!. Jo Min Su is the sole Korean winner of the night with the People's Choice Award for My Favorite Actress for Pieta.
For her 30 years of work in Asian cinema, Michelle Yeoh was presented with the Excellence in Asian Cinema Award. Directors Mabel Cheung, Corey Yuen, Sammo Hung and Yuen Woo Ping each recounted their collaborations with Yeoh before presenting her with the prize. After thanking all the people she has worked with over the last 30 years, Yeoh tells the audience, "We're not just Asian filmmakers; we’re world-class filmmakers!"
Another award announced before the ceremony was Lost in Thailand's 2012's Top Grossing Asian Film Award (It is also the top grossing Chinese film of all time). Director/star Xu Zheng jokingly thanked the award committee for presenting him with the award in time since Stephen Chow's Journey to the West is quickly closing in on Lost in Thailand's box office record.
Text / Rockman
Ip Man: The Final Fight kicks off 2013 HKIFFMarch 21, 2013
Anthony Wong, the fourth actor to play Wing Chun master Ip Man in Herman Yau's film, was joined by producer Checkley Sin, Ip Man's real-life son Ip Chun, as well as co-stars Zhou Chu Chu, Timmy Hung, Marvel Chow and Jonathan Wong. Yau wasn't present at the ceremony, but did appear with Anthony Wong at the public screening later that night.
Wilfred Wong, Chairman of the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society, says that Ip Man: The Final Fight wasn't just chosen due to the popularity of the Ip Man character, but also for its depiction of Hong Kong in the 1950s and 60s. Checkley Sin also presented the festival with a golden miniature Wing Chun practice dummy as a token of appreciation. Ip Chun, who has a cameo in the film, praised Wong's performance as the Ip Man performance that most closely physically resembled his father.
Ip Man kicks off another busy year of HKIFF, which will be screening over 300 films over the course of 17 days.
See more photos from the 37th HKIFF on YesAsia Facebook.
Text / Rockman
Jiang Yi (1936-2013)March 19, 2013
Jiang entered the Hong Kong entertainment world in the 1970s as an actor for television network TVB. He never became a household name, but his unique vocal tone and villainous screen persona made him an easily recognizable actor. One of his most famous roles is Or Chan Ngok from Louis Cha's martial arts novels Legend of the Condor Heroes and The Return of the Condor Heroes, playing him a total of four times in drama adaptations produced between 1983 and 1995.
Jiang also had supporting roles in hit television dramas such as The Greed of Man (1992), Looking Back in Anger (1988), A House is Not a Home (1977) and The Final Verdict (1987). After leaving television work in the mid-1990s, Jiang turned to acting on the stage, winning the Best Supporting Actor award at the 2001 Hong Kong Drama Awards.
In addition to his TV and stage work, Jiang also played minor roles in Hong Kong films like The Storm of the Ancient Bell (1970), Thanks For Your Love (1996) and Man on the Brink (1981). His final role is one of the villains in Alan Mak and Felix Chong's Overheard 2 (2011).
Text / Rockman
Kirishima Thing wins top prize at 2013 Japan Academy PrizeMarch 12, 2013
The three frontrunners, however, did win Grand Prizes in other categories. 70-year-old Kiki Kirin made history as the oldest winner of the Best Actress Grand Prize for Chronicle of My Mother, while Otaki Hideji and Kimiko Yo won the Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress Grand Prizes, respectively, for Dearest. A Chorus of Angels is tied with Kirishima with three Grand Prizes, all in the technical categories.
Abe Hiroshi won his first Japan Academy Best Actor Grand Prize for his deadpan performance as a time-traveling Roman bath architect in Thermae Romae. Writer-director Uchida Kenji also picked up his first Best Screenplay Grand Prize for his latest The Key of Life. He had previously won a screenplay prize for After School, but did not win the Grand Prize. Hosoda Mamoru's Wolf Children won the Best Animated Film Grand Prize, and France's The Intouchables – a surprise box office hit in Japan – won the Best Foreign Film Grand Prize.
In addition to Otaki Hideji's posthumous Grand Prize, the jury chairman bestowed five special awards to five film veterans who passed away in the past year: director Shindo Kaneto, recording engineer Hashimoto Fumio, actress Mori Mitsuko, actress Yamada Isuzu and director Wakamatsu Koji. Terajima Shinobu, the star of Wakamatsu's final film The Millennial Rapture, confidently said that Rapture will certainly be recognized in next year's awards and that Wakamatsu was a director with a heart as wide as the ocean.
In the popularity awards, The Kirishima Thing was voted Best Film, while AKB48's Oshima Yuko won the Best Actor award for Ushijima the Loan Shark. Former AKB48 member Maeda Atsuko won this award in the previous year.
Text / Rockman
Startling by Each Step follow-up begins shooting with Cecilia Liu and Nicky WuMarch 11, 2013
Production company Chinese Entertainment Shanghai recently unveiled the first official stills of Bu Bu Jing Qing featuring the main cast and the tagline: "If you leave this place one day, I will go to your world to find you." Startling by Each Step's heroine Cecilia Liu and 4th Prince Nicky Wu return as the leads, as do veteran actor Damian Lau and Ye Zuxin (10th Prince). Kevin Cheng, Yuan Hong and Lin Gengxin, who played the 8th Prince, 13th Prince and 14th Prince in Startling by Each Step, however, are notably absent from the cast. Instead, Ipartment star Sun Yizhou, Xuan Yuan Sword lead Jiang Jingfu and actor-singer Chen Xiang will join the production.
Unlike Startling by Each Step, Bu Bu Jing Qing is not based on Tong Hua's work and does not involve time travel. Cecilia Liu still plays a character named Zhang Xiao (the name of Startling by Each Step's protagonist), a Beijing white-collar worker who enters a large corporation by chance and experiences many setbacks at work. She becomes involved in a romantic triangle with her superior Yin Zheng (Nicky Wu) and Kang Sihan (Sun Yizhou), who are rival successors of the corporation.
Chinese Shanghai Entertainment also has a Tong Hua-based period drama waiting for broadcast. The epic period romance Da Mo Yao starring Cecilia Liu, Hu Ge, Eddie Peng, Fala Chen and Han Dong wrapped shooting last year and is slated to air in summer 2013. Meanwhile, another Tong Hua novel Yun Zhong Ge, the prequel to Da Mo Yao, has been picked up for adaptation by Gong producer Yu Zheng and is expected to start filming in late March.
Text / Sanwei
Matsumoto Jun and Ueno Juri wrap production on new filmMarch 8, 2013
"I've never properly acted in a love story before," says Ueno at the production closing ceremony. "I've learned a lot." She also complimented her first-time co-star Matsujun, calling him a great person and saying that she would love to work with him again. Matsujun, who says that Hidawari is likely the final film of his 20s, also returned the favor, saying that Ueno has a pleasant aura and is a lovely partner to act with.
Hidawari no Kanojo – also known as Her Sunny Side – is set to open in Japanese cinemas in October 2013.
Text / Rockman
G.E.M., Andy Lau and Twins crowned Hong Kong's top-selling artistsFebruary 28, 2013
Besides We + Andy Lau Cantonese Greatest Hits 2012, the other top ten Cantonese albums of the year were Leo Ku's Dire Au Revoir A Mes Amours, Twins' 2 Be Free, Linda Chung's Love Love Love, Alfred Hui's Blue, C AllStar's New Prophecy, RubberBand's Easy, Miriam Yeung's Firebird, Raymond Lam's Self-Portrait and Lily Chen's Purely. For top ten Mandarin releases, G.E.M.'s Xposed was joined by A-mei Chang's A-mei Acoustic Best HQCD, Paul Wong's Concerto in A Minor, Joey Yung's Moment, Adason Lo's self-titled album, Hebe's To My Love, S.H.E.'s Blossomy, Yoga Lin's Fiction, Show Luo's Good Show and We + Andy Lau Mandarin Greatest Hits 2012.
The top ten local artists in sales were G.E.M., Twins, Ivana Wong, Leo Ku, Denise Ho, Joey Yung, Alfred Hui, Miriam Yeung, Andy Lau and Cantonese opera legends Lung Kim Sang and Mui Suet Sze. Newcomers Sita Chan, Fala Chen, Gloria Tang, Hubert Wu, Adason Lo, Sharco Kang, Closer, goldEN and Super Girls shared the best-selling local new male vocalist, female vocalist and group honors.
G.E.M, Joey Yung and Twins led all artists with four awards each, and Emperor Entertainment (EEG) was the biggest winner among record labels. This year, the IFPI also presented legendary composer Joseph Koo with a special award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to music and culture.
Text / Garden
Translation / Sanwei
Stephen Chow's latest smashes box office records in ChinaFebruary 28, 2013
After having one of the best opening days in Chinese film history on February 10 (the first day of the Lunar New Year), Stephen Chow and Derek Kwok's Journey to the West broke the highest single-day gross record on Valentine's Day with over 112 million yuan. By February 24 – 14 days after its opening – the film had already grossed 992.6 million yuan at the Chinese box office, beating Jackie Chan's CZ12 to become the second highest grossing Chinese film ever. At its current pace, the fantasy adventure will likely surpass Lost in Thailand (1.22 billion yuan gross) as the highest grossing Chinese film in history.
In Hong Kong, Journey to the West also beat out competition as the Chinese-language winner of the 2013 Lunar New Year period. As of February 24th, Chow's film has grossed over 25 million Hong Kong dollars, defeating Vincent Kuk's Hotel Deluxe and TVB's I Love Hong Kong 2013 by a wide margin.
Starring Wen Zhang, Shu Qi and Huang Bo, Journey to the West traces the journey of a pacifist demon hunter as he takes down three very dangerous demons.
Text / Rockman