Just 24 hours after receiving the Golden Mulberry for Outstanding Achievement Award, Hong Kong superstar Anthony Wong Chau Sang was gracing the stage at the Teatro Nuovo Giovanni da Udine once again, where his new drama Still Human was awarded the Golden Mulberry, top prize at the Far East Film Festival.
Still Human, written and directed by first-timer Oliver Chen Siu Kuen, is the story of a curmudgeonly wheelchair-bound divorcee (Wong), who forms a reluctant, yet ultimately touching relationship with his new Filipino helper, played by the wonderful Crisel Consunji. The film also won the Black Dragon Critics Award (aka Black Mulberry), voted for exclusively by the festival's top tier pass holders.
Mainland Chinese drama Dying to Survive, directed by Wen Mu Ye, collected the Silver Mulberry for second place in the audience-awarded shortlist, while Lee Byoung-heon's Korean action comedy Extreme Job took home the Bronze.
The Mymovies.it Award (Purple Mulberry) went to Hideki Takeuchi's Fly Me to the Saitama, while the jury-selected White Mulberry for Best first film, was given to Melancholic by Seiji Tanaka.
77 films screened over the past 9 days, including three world premieres and 14 first features. The festival hosted 60,000 attendees, including 200 guest stars from across Asia, and 200 international industry professionals for the Ties That Bind workshop and Focus Asia project market. The festival also hosted more than 100 different events around the city of Udine, attended by over 20,000 visitors.
Despite all its success, FEFF continued to face financial cuts, losing EUR150,000 in funding this year alone. But the resilience of the organisers shines through, and the 22nd edition is already in the calendar for 24 April to 2 May 2020. Put it in your diaries!
21st FEFF Award winners in full: