Controversial indie film Ten Years has won the highest accolade at the 35th Hong Kong Film Awards, despite its highly controversial, anti-Communist message.
As a result, many of the state’s top government-controlled news outlets have neglected to report on the win, despite the Hong Kong Awards being one of the most important ceremonies of the year in the Asian film calendar.
Ten Years is directed by Chow Kwun-wai and produced by Andrew Choi, and describes a dystopian near-future where an authoritarian Chinese government has eroded the rights and political freedoms of the public in Hong Kong. It was filmed on a micro-budget of $75,000 last year, and grossed just under $1 million.
Beijing television refused to broadcast the Hong Kong Awards ceremony as a result of the film’s nomination.
In his acceptance speech, Chow Kun-wai said that the film “provided Hong Kong people and us a chance to show that we have no fear.”
Andrew Choi told the BBC: “It’s important for Hong Kong that a film that echoes so much of what people are feeling in their hearts has won.”
Despite this, Chinese stat-controlled media orchestrated a blackout on the film, reporting on the other winners but failing to mention Ten Years. China’s Global Times have led a campaign against the film with numerous editorials, calling the film a “thought virus”, “absurd” and “pessimistic”. The film was also banned in mainland China.
Here’s the complete list of winners from Sunday’s Hong Kong Awards:
Best Picture: Ten Years
Best Director: Tsui Hark, The Taking of Tiger Mountain 3D
Best Actor: Aaron Kwok, Port of Call
Best Actress: Jessie Li, Port of Call
Best Supporting Actor: Michael Ning, Port of Call
Best Supporting Actress: Elaine Jin, Port of Call
Best New Performer: Michael Ning, Port of Call
Best New Director: Raman Hui, Monster Hunt
Best Screenplay: Port of Call
Best Cinematography: Port of Call
Best Film Editing: Ip Man 3
Best Art Direction: Office
Best Costume and Makeup Design: Monster Hunt
Best Visual Effects: Monster Hunt
Best Sound Design: The Taking of Tiger Mountain 3D
Best Original Film Score: Office
Best Original Song: She Remembers, He Forgets
Best Action Choreography: SPL 2: A Time For Consequences
Best Film From Mainland and Taiwan: The Assassin