Hong Kong film legend is a Vision at CineAsia

Chow feted as confab comes to close

Raymond Chow, a pillar of Hong Kong cinema and the man who gave Jackie Chan his English name, accepted the 2007 CineAsia Visionary Award on Thursday at the closing night of the regional exhibitors and distributors conference.

Chow — who is retiring from the helm of Golden Harvest, the film production, distribution and exhibition company he founded in 1970 — shaped the careers of film greats in front of and behind the camera. Among those who called him boss over the course of 50 years are Bruce Lee and Jet Li, director John Woo and leading lady Maggie Cheung.

"Without Raymond Chow, Hong Kong movies wouldn't be what they are today," Chan said in a video broadcast at a gala dinner at the Wynn Macau hotel.

"What better gift could a man retiring from a rich career expect?" Chow said as he accepted his honor from China Film Group chairman Yang Buting.

Next year, Golden Harvest will open a 16-screen, 3,000-seat multiplex in Beijing's booming cinema market, company CEO C.K. Phoon said in introducing Yang.

At the end of three days of Hollywood studio advance screenings of films like the Will Smith starrer "I Am Legend" and hours of meetings between cinema builders and vendors of screens, sound systems and popcorn machines, the CineAsia audience was pleased that the 14th edition of the show had moved to Macau from its previous venue in cold Beijing.

"If I'd known everybody was going to be so polite and the food so good, I'd have come earlier and stayed a week," said Paula Da Silva of Netherlands-based vendor Popcorn USA.

Da Silva arrived in Macau — a former Portuguese colony an hour from Hong Kong by boat — for the first time to visit with clients from Lisbon, the capital of her home country. "I came to Asia to network with Europeans," she said.

Also accepting awards from CineAsia organizer Robert Sunshine, senior vp of the film group at Nielsen Business Media, were Jung Ji-hoon, aka Rain, the South Korean singer-turned-actor, for best newcomer; Michael Werner and Wouter Barendrecht of Hong Kong- and Netherlands-based production and sales company Fortissimo Films, who received an Award of Excellence; New Zealand actor Temuera Morrison, for CineAsia Copyright Enforcer of the Year; and Tang Wei, from Ang Lee's "Lust, Caution," for female star of the year.

Late on Wednesday, the 2007 Distributor of the Year Award went to Erlina Sujarhono, senior vp Asia distribution at Warner Bros. Pictures International.

Nielsen is the parent company of The Hollywood Reporter.