Gareth Wigan named CineAsia Visionary

Veteran honored for bringing Asian hits to the West

BANGKOK -- Sony Pictures' Gareth Wigan, the studio's international strategic adviser, will receive the Visionary Award at CineAsia on Dec. 11.

The exhibition trade show will honor Wigan for being "an insightful pioneer and a true visionary," event co-managing director Mitch Neuhauser said Monday, citing Wigan's involvement in exposing the world to such directors and stars as Ang Lee, Stephen Chow, Tsui Hark, Zhang Ziyi, Chow Yun-fat and Michelle Yeoh.

From 1997 through spring 2008, Wigan oversaw the local-language production program that saw Sony produce or co-produce more than 40 films in 12 countries, including the boxoffice hits "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and "Kung Fu Hustle" from Hong Kong and the critically acclaimed "Kekexili" from China.

In April, the 21-year veteran at Columbia Pictures, stepped back from his day-to-day role co-running the studio's international motion pictures production group to take on the role of strategic adviser to SPE's international film business.

Past recipients of the Visionary Award include Raymond Chow of Hong Kong's Golden Harvest and Wigan's close associate Barbara Robinson of Columbia Pictures Film Production Asia.

CineAsia is set for Dec. 9-11 at the Wynn Macau and the Macau Tower and feature screenings of upcoming Asian and Hollywood films, a series of topical industry seminars and the largest regional trade show for film exhibitors and distributors.