The Battle at Lake Changjincast and crew on the red carpet of the 18th and 19th Huabiao Film Awards ceremony in Beijing on May 23. (Photo by Zhu Xingxin/chinadaily.com.cn)
The Huabiao Film Awards, one of China's most prestigious film competitions, announced the winners for its 18th and 19th editions on Tuesday night.
Established by China's top film regulator in 1995, the 18th and 19th awards ceremonies were postponed because of the pandemic, so it was decided to have them together in one belated ceremony.
My People, My Country, a 2019 anthology blockbuster celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, was one of the biggest winners in the 18th edition, taking home four awards, including the best feature, best actor and best actress.
Reflecting the industry's recognition to highlight the collaborative effort of Chinese filmmakers, My People, My Countryand other nine movies, including The Climbers, and The Captain, jointly won the best feature entry, or to give it its official title, the Excellent Feature Film Award, of the 18th Huabiao Film Awards.
The 19th edition also saw the Excellent Feature Film Award given jointly, to 10 movies, including The Battle at Lake Changjin, and Embrace Again.
Chen Kaige, a representative auteur of China's so-called fifth generation directors, won two Outstanding Director awards, for My People, My Country(2019) at the 18th edition and The Battle at Lake Changjin(2021) at the 19th edition.
He said that My People, My Country, which incorporated seven directors for seven standalone tales, is an unprecedented film in the history of Chinese cinema, featuring a collaboration of several of the country's top filmmakers, and recording some of the most pivotal historic moments since the founding of New China.
The best actor award for the 18th and 19 editions went respectively to Zhang Yi for My People, My Country, and Liu Ye for Island Keeper.
"I feel quite surprised to have won this award," said Zhang. "Every time I receive recognition for my work, I feel a strong sense of pressure to worry that if I could maintain that level of quality in future projects and continue to satisfy audiences. Each award also serves as a new challenge that pushes me to start from scratch and create even better work."
The best actress award for the 18th and 19 editions were won by Ren Suxi for My People, My Country, and Zhang Zifeng for Sister.
Ren said she takes the award as an inspirational encouragement and believes it will motivate her to produce even more high quality films in the future.
The Wandering Earth, China's highest-grossing sci-fi epic of all time, won two awards at the 18th edition, for the best feature and the best scriptwriter.
For most of the attendees at the ceremony, held in the National Indoor Stadium, the event provided a precious opportunity to take stock of the achievements of the Chinese film industry over the past few years.
Huang Jianxin, the producer of My People, My Countryand The Battle at Lake Changjin, said he has seen more young talent emerging in China's rapidly developing film industry, and expressed his admiration for their passion and love of cinema.