Source: Good Move Media


Chinese coming-of-age drama Stonewalling and Mexican feature Totem have won the top prizes at the Hong Kong International Film Festival’s (HKIFF) Firebird Awards.

Stonewalling, co-directed by husband-and-wife team Huang Ji and Otsuka Ryuji, won the Firebird Award for best film in the Chinese-language Young Cinema Competition. It also saw Huang Xiaoxiong and Yao Honggui jointly named best actress for their roles as mother and daughter in the film. The feature was also awarded the Fipresci Prize.

The film, which premiered in Venice’s Giornate Degli Autori section last September, follows a 20-year-old college student who, due to an unplanned pregnancy, returns to her hometown and offers her soon-to-be-born baby as a form of repayment for her mother’s debt.

Scroll down for full list of winners

Lila Avilés’ Totem won the top Firebird Award in the World category. The film, about a family getting ready for a birthday party as told through the eyes of a young girl, premiered in Competition at the Berlinale in February, where it won the prize of the Ecumenical jury.

The best director prizes were awarded to Hong Heng-fai in the Chinese-language category for Kissing The Ground You Walked On and Argentina’s Martín Benchimol for The Castle in the World category.

The ensemble female cast of Estibaliz Urresola Solagruen’s 20,000 Species Of Bees received the best actress award in the World category. The Spanish drama about an eight-year-old transgender girl previously played in Competition at the Berlinale, winning three awards including the Silver Bear for young lead actress Sofía Otero.

In the Documentary Competition, the jury unanimously presented the Firebird Award to Danish filmmaker Lea Glob’s Apolonia, Apolonia. Polish filmmakers Elwira Niewiera and Piotr Rosołowski took the jury prize with The Hamlet Syndrome, in which a Ukrainian theatre group prepare a modern stage version of Hamlet, using their own wartime experiences and trauma to relate to Shakespeare’s play.

The awards were held at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre on Sunday evening (April 9). The 47th edition of HKIFF concludes tomorrow although the closing film – Cheuk Wan-chi’s Vital Sign, starring Louis Koo – screened this evening at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre’s Grand Theatre.

This year’s edition returned to its traditional spring slot – after taking place in August last year due to pandemic-related cinema closures – and hosted in-theatre and online screenings of nearly 200 films from 64 countries and regions.

The festival announced “tentative” dates for the 48th edition of March 28 to April 8, 2024.

Firebird Awards 2023

Young Cinema Competition (Chinese Language)

  • Firebird Award: Stonewalling
  • Best Director: Hong Heng-fai, Kissing The Ground You Walked On
  • Best Actor: Li Xuejian, To Love Again
  • Best Actress: Huang Xiaoxiong, Yao Honggui, Stonewalling
  • Special Mention: Bad Education, Kai Ko

Young Cinema Competition (World)

  • Firebird Award: Totem
  • Best Director: Martín Benchimol, The Castle
  • Best Actor: Mirko Giannini, Astrakan
  • Best Actress: Ensemble female cast, 20,000 Species Of Bees

Documentary Competition

  • Firebird Award: Apolonia, Apolonia
  • Jury Prize: The Hamlet Syndrome

Short Film Competition

  • Firebird Award: Bear
  • Jury Prize: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes