As the recipient of the FIAPF Award, Zhang Yimou will be inducted into the Asia Pacific Screen Academy, joining fellow Fifth Generation filmmakers Tian Zhuangzhuang and Chen Kaige.
Zhang Yimou’s many international film festival awards include the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, Silver and Golden Lions at Venice and Berlin’s Silver and Golden Bear.
He was the creative genius behind the spectacular opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and coordinated the celebrations for China’s 60th anniversary in 2009. Film Producer and Director Steven Spielberg has said Zhang Yimou had “obtained a stature shared by very few peers”.
Zhang Yimou’s brilliance was first revealed to the world in his 1987 directorial debut Red Sorghum, starring legendary Chinese actress Gong Li in her first leading role. Red Sorghum achieved international acclaim and box office success. It won a Golden Bear for Best Picture at the 38th Berlin International Film Festival in 1988 and moved Zhang Yimou to the forefront of the world’s cinema directors.
In 1990, Zhang’s film Ju Dou became China’s first Academy Awards nomination in the Best Foreign Film category. His next film, Raise the Red Lantern, was nominated the year after. Its outstanding use of colour captivated audiences and critics around the world. Such rich use of colour has become Zhang Yimou’s hallmark across films including To Live, Hero and The House of Flying Daggers.
His films are also famed for their portrayal of the Chinese people’s resilience in the face of adversity and hardship. The Story of Qiu Ju won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and To Live won the Jury’s Grand Prix at the Cannes film Festival. Zhang Yimou’s many films since include Shanghai Triad, The Curse of the Golden Flower, Keep Cool, Not One Less, The Road Home and Under the Hawthorn Tree.
His current project, The Flowers of War, set for a December release in China is considered one of the most ambitious films ever made in China and stars Christian Bale and Shigeo Kobayashi.
Zhang Yimou is the fifth person to be honoured by FIAPF through their partnership with the Asia Pacific Screen Awards. Previous recipients are George Miller (2007), Yash Chopra (2008), Isao Matsuoka (2009) and Christine Hakim (2010).