Zhao Dayong’s The High Life picked up both the Silver Digital Award the FIPRESCI prize at the 34th Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF), while the Golden Digital Award went to Yang Heng’s Sun Spots.
The festival’s Asian Digital Competition encourages young filmmakers in Asia to explore the potential of digital media. Yang previously took the FIPRESCI prize at the 31st HKIFF for Betelnut.
The High Life, which follows a group of lost souls living in the Chinese city of Guangzhou, is Zhao’s feature debut. The FIPRESCI Special Mention went to Tangle, the directorial debut of award-winning DoP Liu Yonghong (Blind Shaft). Jurors for the Asian Digital Competition included Tokyo Filmex director Hayashi Kanako and directors Brillante Mendoza and Yonfan.
Zhao Liang’s Petition took the Humanitarian Award for Documentaries, while the Outstanding Documentary Award went to UK-Cambodian production Enemies Of The People. Directed by Rob Lemkin and Thet Sambath, Enemies is an account of what happened on Cambodia’s “killing fields”.
The festival also introduced a Short Film Competition this year, with the Grand Prize going to Hanasaari A, an experimental Finnish documentary jointly directed by Hannes Vartiainen and Pekka Veikkolainen. The Jury Prize went to The Berlin Wall directed by the UK’s Paul Cotter.
The SIGNIS Award went to Ounie Lecomte’s A Brand New Life, while the Commendation was presented to the Klaus Haro for Letters To Father Jacob.
As of March 30, the HKIFF had sold more than 73,000 tickets which is a 6% increase on the sales rate last year. The festival runs until April 6 and closes with screenings of Hong Kong productions Amphetamine, from indie filmmaker Scud, and Heiward Mak’s Ex.