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Gilded ambition

(Global Times)

10:04, April 16, 2013

Final judge members of this year's China Film Directors' Guild Award. From left, Gu Changwei, Mi Jiashan, Yu Benzheng, Xie Fei, Huang Jianxin, Ma Liwen, Fang Gangliang and Zhang Meng.(Photo/Global Times)

The 4th China Film Directors Guild Award ceremony was held last Friday afternoon in Beijing, as an annual occasion to reward the previous year's best movies, as well as directors and actors who made outstanding achievements.

Back to 1942, a historical feature about a deadly famine that took place in central China's Henan Province during the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-45), took the movie of the year award, while its director Feng Xiaogang was rewarded as the director of the year.

In Feng's acceptance speech, he did not miss the opportunity to criticize China's current film examination system, a topic he speaks of frequently.

The actor of the year award was given to Huang Bo, who starred in a number of movies during last year, including Lost in Thailand and Design of Death. And Yan Bingyan won actress of the year for her performance in Feng Shui.

Box-office champion Lost in Thailand, which had five nominations, received a special jury award for its director, leading actor and producer Xu Zheng .

Xie Fei, the 70-year-old veteran director and professor of Beijing Film Academy, was given an award for "outstanding contribution" for his long career in the industry.

To be the 'Oscar' of China

Though only in its 4th year and not very well known to the outside, the China Film Directors Guild Award has a big ambition - to be the "Oscar" of China.

According to Huang Jianxin, former chairman of China Film Directors Guild, these annual awards are selected in a way similar to that of the Oscars: that is, all the awards are selected by a large number of professionals. A group of seven directors, led by Golden Lion recipient Jia Zhangke, first selected 24 movies of different types from the hundreds of works of the past year. Nearly all of the 300-plus members of the guild watched all 24 of this year's selections before choosing five nominees for each category. Finally, a group of nine judges including veteran directors like Xie Fei and Gu Changwei determined the winners.

Huang prefers to call it "a professional award" and believes it will not be interfered with by any outside factors.

"It has many rules within the Guild. For example, though [we] may have sponsors, there is no title given for any sponsorship," Huang told the Global Times in a face-to-face interview after Friday's ceremony.

He added that all the voting results are certified by world leading tax consultants KPMG, in a similar fashion to the way PricewaterhouseCoopers has certified results for the Academy Awards for over 70 years.

"This practice has wide recognition within the industry, and therefore the directors say it is an award worthy of trust," Huang said.

As the chairman of the final judging panel, Huang explained that box-office numbers have little impact in the initial selection of 24 films. That's why some of the big awards were given to movies and actors with little name recognition among the public, such as Song Fang and his work Memories Look At Me.

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