China Film Directors Guild Honors 'Black Coal, Thin Ice' With Three Awards
Local filmmakers urge resilience in the face of continued pressure from Hollywood tentpoles such as 'Furious 7.'
Diao Yinan's Golden Bear-winner Black Coal, Thin Ice took three major awards at this year's China Film Directors Guild Awards, earning best film, screenwriter of the year for Diao and the actor of the year award for Liao Fan.
Outspoken director Feng Xiaogang, who last year said the lack of quality meant no award could be given in the best director category, this year took aim at the growing commercial pressures in the Chinese industry.
Feng said that Furious 7's box office take — the movie took $68.6 million on its opening day on Sunday — was "a great pressure for every Chinese director."
"I hope every director can balance art and commerce and that Chinese directors can push back (against pressure from Hollywood)," he said.
The Chinese box office surged 36 percent in 2014 to $4.76 billion, with homegrown films accounting for 54.5 percent of the take, despite monster Hollywood successes such as Transformers: Age of Extinction, which took $320 million.
Chinese filmmakers will be watching the success of Furious 7 with some trepidation as it set new box office records.
Yu Dong, chief executive of the distributor and producer Bona, said: "The Hollywood tiger is growing stronger and stronger. Bona and Enlight Media and other private companies should get together to make mainland film industry better."
Gong Li took home the actress of the year award for her film Coming Home, consolation for the actress who was snubbed in this category in Taiwan's Golden Horse awards.
Lou Ye was named director of the year for Blind Massage.
There were no awards for Jiang Wen's Gone with the Bullets, which had been nominated in numerous categories.
Director Lu Yang won the young director award for his movie Brotherhood of Blades, ahead of novelist and racecar-driver-turned-filmmaker Han Han for his directorial debut, The Continent.
Hong Kong director Ann Hui won the award for best director from Hong Kong and Taiwan, while Peter Ho-sun Chan's Dearest won a special prize, and Xin Yukun's The Coffin in the Mountain won a special prize for best debut.
Twenty one films were selected from about 100 publicly screened mainland movies with Mainland Chinese directors to compete for the film of the year award.
The China Film Director Guild Awards have been handed out since 2005. The CFDG was founded in 1993 and currently has 300 members.
Earlier this year, the guild urged authorities to introduce wide-scale industry reforms, including a call for the establishment of a ratings system, which would make clearing censorship easier.