The film is about a Shanghai nightclub singer who emigrates to Australia with her son and daughter, and the hardships they go through as a dysfunctional family unit. Based on the director's life story, it stars Joan Chen (Lust, Caution) who also received HIFF's Achievement in Acting Award earlier this week before the film's screening.
The Golden Orchid Award for best documentary feature went to Beautiful Son, directed by Don and Julianne King, featuring their autistic son and the challenges they face raising him. A documentary honorable mention went to Kalaupapa Heaven, directed by Paul Cox.
Both Golden Orchid Awards, sponsored by the Halekulani Hotel, are awarded to films best expressing artistic and technical excellence and for promoting cross-cultural understanding.
The Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC) presented its award to Stephane Gauger for his Owl And The Sparrow, noting its 'sensitive cinematic portrayal of modern-day Saigon and the compassionate reflection of human relationships.'
Among other awards, the Vision In Film Award was presented by the mayor of Honolulu, Mufi Hannemann, to the Hawaii State Legislature to honor its continuing support of the film industry in Hawaii -and in particular the passing of Act 88, the film tax credit which took the state to a new competitive level for productions. The latest Pirates Of The Caribbean and the upcoming Indiana Jones installments have since been shot in Hawaii.
The Audience Choice Award will be presented at the end of the festival on Closing Film Night (Oct 27) with an extra day of repeat screenings on Oct 28. Festival director Chuck Boller announced that HIFF is seeing its highest attendance in history.
Jurors for the narrative competition were producer and writer Timothy Bui (Three Seasons, Powder Blue), Hollywood correspondent Philip Berk; and producer Janet Yang (Joy Luck Club, Heaven And Earth).
Jurors for the documentary competition were actor Daniel Dae Kim from the hit TV series Lost; Ted Kim, executive vice president and head of CJ Entertainment America (West 32nd); and Hawaii-born artist and filmmaker Edgy Lee (Story Of Hawaiian Land).