CineAsia hands out honors

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BEIJING -- CineAsia on Thursday honored mainland Chinese director Feng Xiaogang and American producer Barbara Robinson of Columbia Pictures Film Production Asia, for tireless promotion of their respective movie traditions.

Feng, director of "The Banquet," Hong Kong's pick this year for Oscar consideration, gave the first CineAsia visionary award to Robinson for her production of some of the best internationally respected Chinese films of the last two decades, including four-time Oscar winner "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon" (2000). The presentation took place Thursday, the last day of the 14th edition of the regional industry trade show.

A retrospective reel screened in her honor included "Crouching Tiger" director Ang Lee blowing Robinson kisses and director Zhang Yimou, with whom she worked on his seminal "Raise the Red Lantern," saying, "Barbara, you played a fundamental role in popularizing Chinese cinema worldwide. Thank you."

In accepting the award, Robinson, who first arrived in China in 1984, acted as her own interpreter, speaking first in Mandarin, "Because this award honors my work in China," a country that she said had changed the direction of her life.

Feng, for his part, received the CineAsia award for best direction from action-film- directing legend John Woo, another champion of the Sino-Hollywood crossover for pictures such as "Face Off." Woo called Feng's work "intoxicating," and Feng, known in China for his blunt jesting, joked that the reel screened to honor him could be saved for his funeral.

At once paying tribute to the conservative state-run film system and to the risk-taking independent producers who, with Robinson, have championed his populist films over the years, Feng thanked Han Sanping, president of the China Film Group, and both Wang Zhongjun and Wang Zhonglei, the siblings who drive his perennial partner, the Beijing-based Huayi Bros. Film Investment Co.

There were some minor mishaps earlier in the day. The power went out on a screening of "A Good Year" from 20th Century Fox.Some 200 guests Ushers guided out about 200 guests. Shao Wei, deputy general manager of Beijing Wanda Cinema Line Co stated, "The blackout, which extended to surrounding buildings, was beyond our control."

In another incident, a fog machine was accidentally turned on and momentarily shrouded Cheryl Pond of Coca-Cola China as she accepted the CineAsia Sponsor of the Year Award.

Commenting on the overall success of CineAsia, its main architect, Bob Sunshine, vp of VNU Film Expositions, said he was particularly pleased with the CineAsia Summit, a four-hour closed-door session for the chief executives of Asia's top cinema chains and the Hollywood studios' chief representatives in Asia.

Held late on Wednesday at China's Diaoyutai State Guest House, the inaugural summit saw the likes of D.H. Park, president of South Korean entertainment giant CJ CGV, and Tetsuo Tsukuda, president of Japanese circuit United Cinemas, sit for programd talks by producer Terrence Chang about making Asian movies for a global audience, and UITV CEO James Ding on building content for Asia's booming Internet and mobile platforms.

Sunshine stated previously that due to the difficulty of getting things done in Beijing he planned to move the show to the south China resort city of Macau in 2007. "There we won't face many of the infrastructure problems we had here," he said.
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