Winners of the 2023 Fountainhead Programme of Mulan International Film Festival Announced
On the Closing Night of the 2023 Mulan International Film Festival on August 20th, the five winners of the competitive Fountainhead Programme, were announced by SHEN Wei, Artistic Director & Co-Founder:
- Best New Director Award: Dasung, director of A Wolf on Watch
- Jury Prize for Best Short Film: JIANG Geng, director of Audience
- Best Short Film Honourable Mention: QIAN Ning, director of My Zombie Grandpa
- Audience Award for Feature Film: NAN Xin, director of Go Fishing
- Audience Award for Short Film: SONG Jinsui, director of Tequila Sunset
The five awards go directly to the winning directors. Cash prizes of $1,000 are awarded to the winners of the Best New Director Award and the Audience Award for Feature Film and cash prizes of $300 are awarded to the winners of the Jury Prize for Best Short Film and Audience Award for Short Film.
Newly introduced this year, the Best New Director Award, the Jury Prize for Best Short Film and the Honourable Mention are awarded by the Final Selection Committee.
Set up in 2021, the Audience Awards are voted by the attendees at the screenings of the Fountainhead Programme.
The Final Selection Committee of this year is comprised of Ms. NAI An (internationally celebrated producer), Mr. YANG Chao (director and producer of award-winning films such as Crosscurrent), and Mr. YANG Aonan (Canadian producer, selected as Canadian Producer in Spotflight by Cannes 2019). To the three films winning jury-selected awards, Mr. YANG Chao offers his praises on behalf of the committee:
Audience: The deities engage in casual conversation among themselves while observing the hustle and bustle of their worshippers. Who are the audience, and who are the characters? Four minutes of intricate interplay of image and sound, Audience unveils a fresh panorama of believers’ life.
My Zombie Grandpa: The somewhat clichéd theme of the neglected elderly generation is revitalized with a zombie-genre riff. The director employs truly impactful and viscerally intense character portrayals and mise-en-scène to reflect the pain of those forgotten elders and the genuine dilemmas posed by real life. My Zombie Grandpa stands as truly commendable.
A Wolf on Watch: Captured in a seemingly long take, a random, ridiculous hostage situation unfolds within the cramped space of a rental unit located on the outskirts of a city. This remarkable fable of violence in the lower echelons is faithfully and masterfully renditioned with a gloomy undertone reminiscent of Fyodor Dostoevsky. With a solid and naturalistic performance from the cast, the visuals oscillate between reality and fantasy–on the grime-covered, bare, pale wall, the camera reveals a glistening, golden python–these shifts find their cohesive harmony within the director’s skillfully arranged narrative structure. After the protagonist’s eventual escape, we see no relief or joy, but an even stronger crescendo into pathos and sorrows–he is trembling uncontrollably on a desolate, pitiable street, caught in the throes of a winter storm. A Wolf on Watch is a bold, ambitious and unique piece of work.
SHEN Wei, offers her congratulations to everyone whose work have been selected to the Fountainhead programme: “Thank you to all the young filmmakers for breaking through limitations and persevering in expressing yourselves within the extremely challenging external creative environment. This is a heroism that manifests exclusively in artists. The cries from each of you, living your daily lives amidst turbulence–we and our audience have all heard.”
The Fountainhead Programme, established in 2019, celebrates and promotes emerging talents and their works with creative originality. Entries were collected via an open call for submission. They were then reviewed and selected first by our Programming Team, then by the Final Selection Committee. The other titles in the 2023 Official Selection are: Parkland of Decay and Fantasy by ZHU Chenliang, Talks Overnight by SU Qiqi, Love Will Tear Us Apart by LIU Zhou’anqi, Aunt Lotus & Her Dream Bicycle by Kew LIN, Up All Night by Andrew The-Anh LUK, Kitchen Leaking by William YUAN, and ChaCha by YANG Chenghua and ZHANG Shang
The Mulan International Film Festival is a federally incorporated not-for-profit organization dedicated to showcasing the best of Chinese-language films and pan-Chinese cinemas. The festival is held every August in Toronto, Ontario, and there are also year-round programmes. They organize screenings, Q&As, exhibitions, panel discussions and seminars on topics related to cinematic arts and artists as part of their festival and year-round programme.