Zhang Yimou, Jiang Wen Face Off at China Film Directors Guild Awards

Lou Ye H 2014
Clifford Coonan

Lou Ye's 'Blind Massage' leads with six nominations.

Top Chinese directors Zhang Yimou (Coming Home) and Jiang Wen (Gone with the Bullets) will go head-to-head for the best director gong, awarded by the China Film Directors Guild.

Some 21 films have been selected from about 100 publicly screened mainland movies with mainland directors to compete for the film of the year award.

The awards will be announced at a ceremony on Apr. 12.

"We will judge the films based on artistic expression, rather than box office performance, social influence or investment," judging committee member Ding Sheng told local media.

"We're glad to see many of last year's low-budget films were of high quality."

Last year, the Guild made headlines when it declined to give a best director or best movie award, saying the standard in China wasn't high enough.

The directors said the film industry was over-focused on box office and marketing, which was causing problems with the quality of content.

Novelist and racecar-driver-turned-filmmaker Han Han has earned a nomination in the Young Director category for his directorial debut, The Continent.

Among those nominated for best actor are Chen Daoming, Liao Fan and Qin Hao, while the best actress category sees nominations for Tao Hong, Kwai Lun Mei and Gong Li, who will be seeking to redress her snub in this category in Taiwan's Golden Horse awards.

The China Film Director Guild Awards have been handed out since 2005. The CFDG was founded in 1993 and currently has 300 members.

Earlier this year, the Guild urged authorities to introduce wide-scale industry reforms, including a call for the establishment of a ratings system, which would make clearing censorship easier.

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