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I Am Not Madame Bovary wins top prize at 11th Asian Film AwardsMarch 22, 2017
Asano Tadanobu was named Best Actor for his role as a dangerous houseguest in Fukada Koji's Harmonium. The Japanese star, who won Best Supporting Actor last year for Journey to the Shore, joked that he wants to return next year as well.
Na Hong Jin beat out Feng, Fukada, Derek Tsang and Lav Diaz to win Best Director for his horror thriller The Wailing. Among other Korean cinema contenders, Park Chan Wook's The Handmaiden won four of the six categories it was nominated in – Best Newcomer for Kim Tae Ri, Best Supporting Actress for Moon So Ri, Best Costume Design and Best Production Design – and The Age of Shadows picked up Best Original Music.
Hong Kong veteran Lam Suet thrilled the hometown crowd with his victory in the Best Supporting Actor category for Trivisa. Asghar Farhadi's Oscar-winning drama The Salesman won Best Screenplay, though the director was not present to receive the award. The remaining technical prizes went to Shin Godzilla (Best Visual Effects), Singapore's Apprentice (Best Editing) and China's Crosscurrent (Best Sound).
Three special awards were also presented at the ceremony. Mermaid's breakout ingénue Jelly Lin was named a Rising Star of Asia, while diva Sammi Cheng received the Excellence in Asian Cinema Award. Legendary Hong Kong filmmaker Tsui Hark was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Text / Sanwei
Yeo Jin Gu & Kim Kang Woo to solve mysteries in alien-themed sci-fi dramaMarch 22, 2017
Circle is separated into two parts: "Beta Project" and "The Beautiful New World." The story follows a group of aliens from 2037 who learn advanced technology from their kind in 2017 and build a beautiful future world that includes two Earths – the disease and crime-ridden Ordinary Earth and Smart Earth, a highly sophisticated world without crimes, illnesses and pains. Believing that human emotions are the key to a better future, the outer space beings control people's minds. Present-day university student Woo Jin (Yeo Jin Gu), a mysterious hacker nicknamed Bluebird in "Beta Project," and detective Kim Joon Hyuk (Kim Kang Woo) from the future Ordinary Earth in "The Beautiful New World," together investigate the ensuing mysterious events after the alien intrusion.
Jung In Sun (Naked Fireman) and Gong Seung Yeon (The Master of Revenge) will play Woo Jin's schoolmates in "Beta Project," where Ahn Woo Yeon (Strong Woman Do Bong Soon) portrays Woo Jin's twin brother. Highlight's Lee Gi Kwang returns to the small screen in the role of Ho Su, a government official in the Smart Earth of "The Beautiful New World," which also features Kwon Hyuk Soo (Lucky Romance) as a detective and child star Jung Joon Won as the young version of genius hacker Dong Su, played by stage actor Oh Eui Sik (Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo).
Circle is scheduled to air in May 2017.
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Sil-Metropole announces new films starring Sean Lau, Louis Koo & Gordon LamMarch 15, 2017
Directed by realist filmmaker Lawrence Lau (Tales from the Dark 2), the most highlighted film Dealer/Healer is based on the inspiring story of former mobster Chan Shun Chi, who was selected for the Ten Outstanding Young Persons award in Hong Kong in 1987. Sean Lau (Heartfall Arises) will star as the gang leader, who guided his brotherhood that includes Louis Koo (Shed Skin Papa), Gordon Lam (Trivisa) and Zhang Jin (SPL 2: A Time For Consequences) to turn over a new leaf.
Sean Lau will also participate in My Pet Is an Elephant set in Xishuangbanna, an autonomous prefecture in Yunnan, China. Inspired by a real-life story, the fantasy comedy delivers the messages of love and environmental protection through the delightful story of an elephant circus owner and an extreme animal protectionist played by Sean Lau and rising Chinese actress Una You (The Legend of Qin), respectively. The movie is helmed by Shao Xiaoli (Fake Fiction).
Another picture adapted from real events, House of the Rising Sons will show how the legendary Hong Kong band The Wynners rose to fame in the 70s and 80s. The band's drummer Anthony Chan is at the helm of the musical drama about six teenagers pursuing their music dreams. Simon Yam (The Tenants Downstairs), Kara Hui (Happiness), Dick Liu (Weeds on Fire), Elaine Jin (Mad World) and Chin Siu Ho (Happiness) will star in the movie alongside up-and-coming singer-actors Carlos Chan, Yu Tian, Ng Hok Him, Eugene Tang of Taiwan group GTM, Sing Lam of Hong Kong quartet PlayTime and singer-songwriter Jonathan Wong as the young versions of the famous band and former member Nat Chan. The Wynners members Alan Tam, Kenny Bee, Bennett Pang, Danny Yip and Anthony Chan himself will also make cameo appearances.
Action blockbuster Undercover vs Undercover marks the directorial debut of experienced screenwriters Lui Koon Nam (Insanity) and Frankie Tam (Robbery). Leading actors Vanness Wu (Monk Comes Down the Mountain), Andy On (League of Gods) and Philip Ng (Wild City), who is also the film's action director, reunite for the first time since the 2003 Star Runner. Produced by Gordon Chan (The Four), the crime thriller will feature exciting gun fight and chase scenes with breathtaking visual effects.
See photos from the Sil-Metropole Organization press conference on YesAsia Facebook.
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Sun Entertainment announces productions by Pang Ho Cheung and makers of SPLMarch 15, 2017
Pang Ho Cheung is the busiest with three productions on the slate. He produced the offbeat romance A Nail Clipper Romance, directed by his frequent collaborator, cinematographer James Kwan. Based on Pang's same-titled short story, the film follows the relationship between an amateur surfer and a quirky girl who declares that she only eats nail clippers. Pang explains that the story explores the theme of trust in love. Starring Golden Horse-winning actress Zhou Dongyu (Soul Mate) and Taiwan actor Joseph Chang (Wild City), A Nail Clipper Romance opens on April 14. Pang is also producing a remake of the German suspense thriller The Good Neighbour, to be directed by Fresh Wave director Liu Ming Yin, and is planning a TV version of his 2015 romcom hit Women Who Flirt.
On the action side, the makers of the SPL series have two new films, Wilson Yip's Paradox and Jonathan Li's The Brink. Yip reteams with producer Paco Wong and action director Sammo Hung 12 years after SPL for an action thriller starring Thai action star Tony Jaa and Louis Koo, who plays a father searching for his missing daughter in Thailand. Hong Kong Film Awards Best Supporting Actor winner Zhang Jin (Grandmaster, Ip Man 3) takes his first leading role in The Brink co-starring Shawn Yue, Gordon Lam, Wu Yue and Janice Man. Zhang revealed that the film's underwater action scenes were a challenge for him, because he originally wasn't a great swimmer and had to especially learn diving for the film. Yue commented that it was fun to take on his first completely antagonist role
Director Jacob Cheung and screenwriter James Yuen announced their plan to adapt Jin Yong's wuxia novel The Book and The Sword. Vincent Kok, meanwhile, wants to aim only for laughter and entertainment with Keep Calm and Be a Superstar, which he promises will be a "very shallow action comedy" about an undercover cop and an action superstar. Cold War director Sunny Luk will continue in his pet genre with the crime thriller Schemer.
See photos from the Sun Entertainment press conference on YesAsia Facebook.
Text / Sanwei
41st Hong Kong Film Festival to open with Love Off the Cuff, close with Giddens thrillerMarch 15, 2017
Director Pang Ho Cheung and stars Miriam Yeung and Shawn Yue of the previously announced opening film Love Off the Cuff also revealed more about their film at the press conference. The third installment of Pang's hit romantic comedy series will see the quintessential Hong Kong couple tackling more mature problems as they deal with relationship issues, conflicting value systems and the arrival of the heroine's father.
Hong Kong director Herman Yau is premiering two anticipated films at the fest: 77 Heartbreaks, an urban love story that reteams him with Sara star Charlene Choi, and the gory horror thriller The Sleep Curse starring Anthony Wong. The festival program also features the latest works of world-renowned and award-winning filmmakers like Olivier Assayas, Agnieszka Holland, Asghar Farhadi, Lav Diaz, Christian Mungiu, Ishii Yuya and Andrei Kochalovsky.
To mark the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's Handover, the HKIFF will present a program, titled "Paradigm Shift: Post-97 Hong Kong Cinema," that showcases 20 representative local films of the past two decades including Fruit Chan's Made in Hong Kong, Stephen Chow's Shaolin Soccer and Andrew Lau and Alan Mak's Internal Affairs.To commemorate the tenth anniversary of Edward Yang's death, seven of the Taiwan auteur's restored classics will be screened for the retrospective "Edward Yang, 10-year Commemoration."
The 41st Hong Kong International Film Festival will be held from April 11 to 25, 2017.
See photos from the HKIFF press conference on YesAsia Facebook.
Text / Sanwei
Nagase Tomoya to star in film adaptation of Ikeido Jun novel Soratobu TireMarch 10, 2017
Soratobu Tire has sold over 1.2 million copies since 2006, and was previously adapted into a 2009 WOWOW TV series starring Nakamura Toru and Tanabe Seiichi. The film version will be helmed by Samurai Hustle director Katsuhide Motoki.
Nagase Tomoya plays protagonist Akamatsu Tokuro, who runs a small transport company. One day, a tire flies off one of his company's trucks on the road, resulting in a fatal accident. Poor maintenance is cited as the cause of the accident, and Akamatsu's company soon stands on the brink of bankruptcy. Akamatsu, however, investigates further and discovers that the accident was caused by a manufacturing defect in the truck. For the sake of his family and company, Akamatsu stands up to challenge the large corporation that manufactured the truck.
Soratobu Tire is expected to be released in Japan in 2018.
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Translation / Sanwei
Godzilla Resurgence sweeps 40th Japan Academy PrizeMarch 6, 2017
Sato Koichi claimed his second Best Actor prize after 22 years for his role as an aged police officer investigating an unsolved kidnapping case in Zeze Takahisa's crime suspense 64: Part I. Miyazawa Rie and Sugisaka Hana, who played mother and daughter in Nakano Ryo's Her Love Boils Bathwater, won Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, respectively. Lee Sang Il's suspense drama Rage, which had led with 12 nominations, ended up with only one prize, Best Supporting Actor for Tsumabuki Satoshi in the role of a gay advertising executive who becomes suspicious about his new lover.
As previously announced, Sugisaki Hana, Takahata Mitsuki, Iwata Takanori, Sakaguchi Kentaro, Chiba Yudai, Mackenyu, Hashimoto Kanna and Sakumoto Takara all received Best Newcomer prizes. Clint Eastwood's Sully was named the Best Foreign Language Film.
Text / Sanwei
Sandara Park to make Korean movie debut in Begin Again remakeMarch 3, 2017
Dara plays convenience store part-timer Si Hyun, who loses her memory after a car accident. After being discharged from the hospital, she moves to her friend Ji Won's (Hong Ah Reum) home. Every night, Si Hyun hums a strange melody in her sleep and the music interests Ji Won's brother Woo Hyuk (Han Jae Suk), a once famous songwriter. Woo Hyuk turns the melody into a score hoping that it can recall her past memories. Rock guitarist Jee Il (Cho Dong In) comes across the score and helps complete the song with Woo Hyuk.
Kim Soo Jin, who participated in the soundtracks of hit dramas Six Flying Dragons and Let's Eat, serves as the music director of the movie produced by MCC Entertainment, the production house of the Dae Jang Geum soundtrack. One Step is set for a local theatrical release in April.
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Nam Joo Hyuk & Shin Se Kyung to star in tvN fantasy romcomFebruary 27, 2017
Combining the Western fantasy genre with Chinese mythology, Bride of the Water God is the first Korean romance comic published worldwide in nine countries including Russia and Hungary. The original story is set in an impoverished village affected by severe drought. To save the village, heroine So Ah decides to sacrifice herself to the God of Water Ha Baek for rain. Ha Baek falls in love with So Ah and even takes her as his bride. Under the curse of his first love Nak Bin, the God of Water appears as a child called Ha Baek in the daytime and reverts to his adult form named Mu Yi at night. So Ah soon discovers his secret and gets embroiled in various intriguing events in the fantasy world.
The pre-produced Bride of the Water God is scheduled to air in early 2017.
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BoA to host male version of Produce 101February 27, 2017
To be hosted by pop diva BoA, this season will feature 101 male trainees from different agencies and the top 11 contestants selected through online voting will form a limited-time K-pop boy band. The trainer lineup includes SG Wannabe's Lee Suk Hoon, former BEAST member Jang Hyun Seung, choreographer Kwon Jae Seung and former After School leader Kahi, who was one of the trainers in the previous season.
Jellyfish Entertainment, Pledis Entertainment, Cube Entertainment and Fantagio will send trainees again, while Mamamoo's agency RBW and hip-hop label Brand New Music, which houses rappers San E and Verbal Jint, will take part in the show for the first time. Though most of the participants are trainees, some recent idols are said to have joined the competition.
The second season of Produce 101 starts shooting on February 26 and is set to air in the first half of 2017.
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Yoo Ah In reincarnates as a celebrity writer in tvN fantasy romcomFebruary 24, 2017
Chicago Typewriter revolves around the modern-day reincarnations of three 1930s writers whose destinies interplay into a whimsical romance because of an ancient typewriter. Best-selling author Han Se Soo (Yoo Ah In) has risen to fame since the age of 21. The sensitive and fussy writer faces a creativity bottleneck so his editor friend (Jo Woo Jin, Guardian: The Lonely and Great God) hires Yoo Jin Oh (Go Kyung Pyo), a mysterious jazz and antique enthusiast, as his ghostwriter. The drama also co-stars Lim Soo Jung as Se Soo's anti-fan and Kwak Si Yang as novelist Baek Tae Min, the major rival of Se Soo.
Produced by CJ E&M's subsidiary Studio Dragon, Chicago Typewriter is expected to air on April 7.
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EXO, BTS & GOT7 win top prizes at 2016 Gaon Chart Music AwardsFebruary 23, 2017
Song of the Year went to GFriend's "Rough" (January), Mamamoo's "You're the Best" (February), Jang Beom June's "Without You by My Side" (March), Twice's Cheer Up (April), Urban Zakapa's "I Don't Love You" (May), Sistar's I Like That (June), Wonder Girls' Why So Lonely (July), Black Pink's "Whistle" (August), Lim Chang Jung's "Love That I Committed" (September), Twice's TT (October), Black Pink's "Playing with Fire" (November) and Big Bang's "Fxxk It" (December).
NCT 127 and Black Pink, the winners of New Artist of the Year at the Golden Disk Awards and Seoul Music Awards, triumphed over other newcomers once again. New sensations Dean (R&B), BewhY (hip-hop), Bolbbalgan4 (indie) and Han Dong Geun (ballad) picked up the Discovery of the Year award. The K-pop Contribution Award was presented to legendary group Sechs Kies and SHINee was named Hallyu World Star.
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GOT7's Jin Young makes silver screen debutFebruary 20, 2017
The GOT7 idol will star as high school boy Min Sik who moves to his father's hometown and meets Ye Joo (Ji Woo), a cold-hearted girl who is bullied at school because her father is a murder suspect. The two loners soon become each other's source of comfort and start taking care of a baby goat together. However, things go awry when something unimaginable happens.
Subsidized by Jeonju International Film Festival's Jeonju Cinema Project, the low-budget indie film is one of the graduation films of Myung Film Institute, which was founded in 2015 by Myung Films, the production house of Architecture 101 and Cart. A Stray Goat had its world premiere at the 17th Jeonju International Film Festival and is set for a theatrical release on March 1.
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Hey! Say! JUMP's Yamada Ryosuke stars in Higashino Keigo-based fantasyFebruary 20, 2017
Miracles of the Namiya General Store revolves around an old general store that magically connects people across time through letters. In Higashino's story, youth-on-the-run Atsuya and his two friends enter the Namiya General Store one night to hide, and come upon a letter from the store's mailbox. The letter was written by a woman seeking advice for her troubles. Realizing that the general store's owner answers such letters, the boys decide to write a response of their own. Yamada Ryosuke plays Atsuya while Nishida Toshiyuki plays the shopkeeper Namiya Yuji.
The film production recently announced its release date for September 23, 2017, and unveiled its first teaser visual created by CoMix Wave Films, the animation studio of Shinkai Makoto's films.
Text / Sanwei
Arashi's Aiba Masaki to play aristocratic detective in Fuji TV dramaFebruary 13, 2017
Aiba plays the title role of a detective who calls himself an aristocrat but his real name, age, family and academic background are unknown. He became a detective out of interest, but leaves all the actual investigation and deduction work to his butler, maid and chauffeur. Instead, he enjoys his time chatting with women involved in the mysteries.
The 30th anniversary production of Fuji TV's "getsu9" golden timeslot, Kizoku Tantei co-stars Nakayama Miho (Kenja no Ai), Matsushige Yutaka (Kodoku no Gurume) and Takito Kenichi (Cold Case) as the staff that support the hero who doesn't do any investigating of his own. Emi Takei (Fragile) plays a rookie detective competing to solve the same cases as the aristocratic detective, while Igawa Haruka (Ryusei Wagon) is her mentor and role model. The cast also includes Namase Katsuhisa (Beppin-san) as a crime detective and Nakama Yukie in a mystery role.
Kizoku Tantei will premiere in April 2017.
Text / Sanwei
Mini Yang & Tao star in Chinese romance drama NegotiatorFebruary 13, 2017
While Les Interpretes revolves around interpreters, Negotiator tackles the field of professional negotiation, with Yang playing business negotiation expert Tong Wei. Through an M&A project, she meets young U.S.-raised corporate heir Xie Xiaofei, played by Huang Zitao. Due to disagreements with his family, Xie Xiaofei comes to the business table with a chip on his shoulder and clashes with Tong Wei during negotiations. As they grow to know each other better through work, however, romantic sparks also begin to fly.
Negotiator began shooting in Shanghai in November 2016 and is expected to air later this year.
Text / Sanwei
Cheese in the Trap to hit big screenFebruary 13, 2017
The film adaptation keeps the characters and plot of the original story. Oh Yeon Seo will take the lead role of smart and sensitive student Hong Seol, who is struggling to put herself through university. Though she sees something unsettling in mysterious classmate Yoo Jung (Park Hae Jin), she finds herself increasingly drawn to him. Meanwhile, rebellious piano prodigy Baek In Ho (Park Ki Woong), who shares a complicated past with Yoo Jung, holds a torch for her.
Created by Korean production house Mountain Movement Story and Chinese company Hanwei, the collaborative project starts shooting in early 2017 and is slated for a summer release this year.
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36th Hong Kong Film Awards NominationsFebruary 7, 2017
Stephen Chow's blockbuster fantasy comedy Mermaid, indie baseball drama Weeds on Fire – both with eight nominations – and crime drama Trivisa with seven nominations complete the Best Film race. Earlier named the Best Film of 2016 by the Hong Kong Film Critics Society, Trivisa earned Best Actor nominations for Richie Jen and Gordon Lam, and its directing trio of Frank Hui, Vicky Wong and Jevons Au will compete for Best Director against their mentor Johnnie To (Three). Mermaid also garnered Chow nods for Best Director, Best Screenplay and even Best Original Song, as well as nominations for actresses Kitty Zhang (Best Supporting Actress) and Jelly Lin (Best New Perfomer). Dark horse Weeds on Fire picked up noms for new director Steven Chan, leading actor Liu Kai Chi and newcomers Sing Lam and Tony Wu.
Though it missed the Best Film shortlist, Wong Chun's mental illness drama Mad World came up strong with eight nominations including Best Director, Best New Director, Best Actor for Shawn Yue, Best Supporting Actor for Eric Tsang and dual Supporting Actress nominations for Golden Horse winner Elaine Jin and Charmaine Fong. Francis Ng takes the last Best Actor slot for Shed Skin Papa, while HKFA regulars Tang Wei (Book of Love), Kara Hui (Happiness) and Paw Hee Ching (Show Me Your Love) join the Soul Mate duo in the Best Actress race.
See the complete nomination list on the Hong Kong Film Awards' official website.
Text / Sanwei