Busan Fest to Honor Hong Kong's Ann Hui as Asian Filmmaker of the Year

Ann Hui

One of Asia's great female directors, Hui led the Hong Kong New Wave movement of the 1970s and '80s.

HONG KONG -- Director Ann Hui, a hugely popular figure in Hong Kong for her pioneering movies about social issues in her home city, will be named Asian Filmmaker of the Year at the Busan International Film Festival in October, organizers said.

Hui’s latest film, The Golden Era (Huang jin shi dai), which is set against the backdrop of 1930s China and features Tang Wei, will be screened in this year’s Busan festival as a part of the Gala Presentation.

The Golden Era has been selected as the closing film of this year’s Venice International Film Festival, and Hui has also been chosen to head up the festival’s Horizons section. Her 2011 film A Simple Life (Tou ze) screened in competition at Venice and took home four prizes.

Organizers said Hui, 67, was chosen “to acknowledge her contribution to Asian cinema and to recognize her spirit that produced outstanding works of the generation.”

Hui’s movies focus on the challenges facing the lower and middle classes in Hong Kong and the lives of women through varied film genres.

“Ann Hui showed her devotion to Hong Kong and its people through her works," organizers said. "This continued even when China resumed sovereignty of Hong Kong and many Hong Kong-based filmmakers went on to the mainland to challenge themselves in a different environment.”

The honor is given each year to an Asian filmmaker “who has significantly contributed to the development of the Asian film industry and Asian culture.” Past recipients include Hui's Hong Kong colleagues Andy Lau and Tsui Hark, Cambodia’s Rithy Panh and Iran’s Mohsen Makhmalbaf.

“Her ability has only increased with time and experience; she is now considered a pillar of Asian cinema,” the Busan International Film Festival said in a statement.

Hui's movies have featured many times at Busan, including July Rhapsody in 2002, The Postmodern Life of My Aunt in 2006 and Night and Fog in 2009. Eighteen Springs was the closing film at the second Busan festival.

Hui was born in 1947 to a Chinese father and a Japanese mother, and the family moved from China to Hong Kong in 1952. After studying at Hong Kong University and London Film School, she entered the film industry with The Secret (1979). She was the first woman to win a lifetime achievement prize at the Asian Film Awards.

The 19th Busan International Film Festival will take place Oct. 2-11.