Rome Film Fest to Honor Hong Kong's Tsui Hark With 'Maverick' Award

Tsui Hark- 67th Venice Film Festival-2010
Elisabetta Villa/Getty Images

The director's second "Detective Dee" film will also have its premiere outside of Asia at the eight-year-old festival.

ROME – Hong Kong-based director, producer, and screenwriter Tsui Hark will receive the Rome Film Festival's Maverick Director Award, while the festival will host the first screening outside of Asia of Tsui's second Detective Dee film.

Organizers said Di Renjie zhi shendu longwang 3D (Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon 3D) would premiere at the Nov. 8-17 festival. Tsui's first film in the series, Di Renjie zhi tongtian diguo (Detective Dee: Mystery of the Phantom Flame), premiered in competition at the Venice Film Festival in 2010, when the event was headed by current Rome artistic director Marco Mueller. The latest film is a prolog to its predecessor.

The Maverick Director Award is an honor created by Mueller when he came to the Rome festival last year. The winner of the inaugural edition was Walter Hill, who came to Rome last year with his thriller Bullet to the Head.

The eight-year-old festival said Tsui's honor would be presented by French director Olivier Assayas, who was one of the first to recognize Tsui's place as one of the protagonists of the golden age of Hong Kong filmmaking, starting in the early 1980s.

In a statement, Mueller – a known aficionado of Chinese cinema – praised the career of the 63-year-old Tsui, saying he "never stopped experimenting, delving deep into the genres, exploring the limits of technology," adding "he has reinterpreted the Chinese filmmaking tradition, turning the codes and conventions of Western cinema upside down."

Di Renjie zhi shendu longwang 3D will premiere out of competition in Rome, alongside Tsui's maverick honor and a special master class that Tsui will host.

The film is added to what is shaping up to be a high-profile out-of-competition slate at the festival, including the screening of the highly-touted The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Fear of Falling, the first feature film in five years from Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme.

Twitter: @EricJLyman