Actors, producers and filmmakers gathered last night in Beijing for the China Film Directors Guild Awards, with Jiang Wen's "Let the Bullets Fly" (让子弹飞) looming large at the event, taking four nominations and three statuettes. In all, "Let the Bullets Fly" took Director of the Year for Jiang Wen, Film of the Year, and a special award for the top grossing Asian film of 2011. The accolades for Jiang's film come soon after winning Film of the Year at the sixth annual Asian Film Awards in Hong Kong. Along with director Jiang and the film itself, "Let the Bullets Fly" actors Ge You and Chow Yun-fat were both nominated for Actor of the Year, with Ge going on to win.
Young directors went on to win two major awards at the ceremony, with Du Jiayi winning Young Director of the Year for his adventure film "Kora" and Zhang Meng taking Best Screenplay of the Year for his black comedy "Piano in a Factory."
Along with the awards handed out in Beijing, the China Film Directors Guild also released a list of its most anticipated films of 2012. Included on the list were Feng Xiaogang's "Wen Gu 1942," Wang Xiaoshuai's "11 Flowers," Lu Chuan's "The Last Supper," and Ning Hao's "Guns and Roses."
Though Chinese films continue to struggle to find audiences overseas, the country's booming box office is attracting record investment in the domestic film industry. Last year, Chinese box office receipts totaled US$2.1 billion, and analysts recently projected that this could climb to $5 billion by 2015. Though China lags far behind the US in terms of total domestic box office takings, recent years have seen diminishing returns in the US as China's market has skyrocketed. Last year, the US box office receipts fell 3.5 percent to $10.2 billion, and the disappointing performance of the American market since 2009 has boosted the urgency of major Hollywood studios to crack China's increasingly lucrative market.