The Asian Film Awards Academy announced the recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award for the 2016 edition.
The Asian Film Awards Academy will present the Lifetime Achievement Award to the venerable Japanese actress Kiki Kirin and to the veteran Hong Kong action choreographer-director Yuen Wo-ping at the AFA Ceremony on March 17th. This award recognizes film professionals who inspire excellence in others, and in their lifetime have made fundamental achievements and lasting impact of outstanding artistic, cultural and commercial significance in Asian Cinema.
Dr. Wilfred Wong, Chairman of the AFA Academy, said: “Master Yuen has brought Chinese martial arts to new heights through his constant innovation and creativity in action films that he has made over a decades-long career in Hong Kong, China and internationally. Ms. Kiki is an actress who is adored by many. Her mesmerizing and charismatic persona has inspired some of the most respected Japanese master filmmakers of our time. The works they have made that are loved by Japanese and international audiences would not have been possible without Ms. Kiki’s superb performances. Our honored awardees have both demonstrated a faith and a perseverance in perfecting their art that we are privileged to recognize and applaud. I look forward to their upcoming films with great anticipation.”
About Kiki Kirin
Kiki Kirin is one of the most revered Japanese actresses in the world. In the mid-60s, she made a name for herself by playing eccentric comic characters on television. Her natural and versatile acting ability has since left unforgettable impressions. Over her more than 50 year career with over a hun-dred credits to date, she has worked with some venerable names of Japanese cinema, and her candid public persona has won the hearts of many.
Kiki started acting at the one of the most prestigious theater troupes Bungakuza in the 60s. Later, she gained popular success for the TV comedy series It’s About Time (1970) and The Family of Terau-chi Kantaro (1974), in which she played elderly roles even though she was only around thirty. In 1977, she changed her stage name to Kiki Kirin.
From the 80s to 90s, Kiki worked with film masters such as Suzuki Seijun (Zigeunerweisen, 1980,
Pistol Opera, 2001), Shinoda Masahiro (The Ballad of Orin, 1977), Okamoto Kihachi (Rainbow Kids, 1991), Ichikawa Kon (Crane, 1988), Obayashi Nobuhiko (I Are You, You Am Me, 1982, Sabishinbo, 1985) and Imai Tadashi (War and Youth, 1991). In the 2000s, Kiki was awarded regularly at the Japan Academy Prize and began her rise to international prominence.
Kiki is a two-time Best Actress winner at the Japanese Academy Prize for Tokyo Tower: Mom and Me, and Sometimes Dad (Matsuoka Joji, 2007) and Chronicle of My Mother (Harada Masato, 2012), and has also won the Prize’s Best Supporting Actress for Villain (Lee Sang-il, 2010). She has worked several times with Kore-eda Hirokazu, winning Best Actress for Still Walking (2008) at the Nantes Three Continents Festival, and playing in the director’s I Wish (2011), Like Father, Like Son (2013), Our Little Sister (2015) and the forthcoming After the Storm (2016). This year, she is again nominated for Best Actress of the Japan Academy Prize, for her mesmerizing performance in Kawase Nao-mi’s Un Certain Regard Opening Film at Cannes, An (2015), playing an ostracized leper who teaches an ex-con man the delicate art of making anko (sweet red bean paste).
Kiki has also received the highest honors, including the Yamaji Fumiko Actress Award, Arigato Award from the Tokyo International Film Festival and from the Emperor of Japan – a Medal with
Purple Ribbon and an Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette.
Kiki Kirin has time and again demonstrated her masterful grasp of the actor’s craft. Real-life medical issues no way diminished her spirit. True to form, her positive attitude towards life perfectly reflects the granny she plays in An. She frequently says, “Life can always be savored, whether you are ill or in good health. We gain strength by accepting that the coin has two sides.” Kiki remains a celebrated muse for directors and audiences alike.
About Yuen Wo-ping
Yuen Wo-ping has distinguished himself as the premier action choreographer-director in the world. With a career in Greater China and Hollywood, Yuen has choreographed over 60 films and directed nearly 30 films with screen icons including Jackie Chan, Stephen Chow, Bruce Lee, Ang Lee, Jet LI, Quentin Tarantino, Tsui Hark, the Wachowskis, Wong Kar-wai, Donnie Yen, Michelle
Yeoh and Zhang Ziyi.
Yuen ’s father is famed actor Yuen Siu-tin, who trained his son in Peking opera and introduced him to producers of a long-running film series of Wong Fei-hung, a Chinese folk hero, which gave Yuen Wo-ping work during the 1960s. As martial arts films gained popularity in the early 1970s, the young Yuen joined Shaw Brothers and played small parts and stuntman.
In 1971, Yuen first became action director in Mad Killer directed by producer Ng See-yuen, who went on to produce Yuen ’s directorial action debut Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow in 1978, starring then relatively unknown Jackie Chan. It was the trio’s next action comedy Drunken Master in 1978 that brought Yuen and Chan mainstream recognition. The success of the films also set a new trend of Hong Kong action comedy that would heavily influence international cinema and become history.
In 1979, Yuen founded Wo Ping Films Company and made films such as The Buddhist Fist
(1980), The Miracle Fighters (1982) and Wing Chun (1994). In his film Drunken Tai Chi (1984), Yuen cast his protégé Donnie Yen for the first time. Yen went on to become a leading man and an international action director. In the early 1990s, YUEN collaborated with Tsui Hark to revive the classic martial arts genre, exemplified by Once Upon a Time in China II (1991). During those years, Yuen redefined Hong Kong action with increasingly elaborate fights by employing wires and imaginative choreography that more closely resembled Peking opera. Iron Monkey (1993) stands as perhaps his best film from this era that shows his kinetically fluid style of action.
By the late 1990s,Yuen had already gained international cult status among genre fans and filmmakers such as Quentin Tarantino. He was invited by the Wachowskis to mastermind the action choreography of The Matrix (1999), which became a tremendous success. Further Hollywood engagements followed such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (dir. Ang Lee, 2000), Kill Bill: Volume 1 & 2 (dir. Tarantino, 2003 and 2004) and The Forbidden Kingdom (dir. Rob Minkoff, 2008), as well as a collaboration with Wong Kar-wai on The Grandmaster (2013).
Throughout his career, Master Yuen Wo-ping has pushed the boundaries of action cinema by effectively showing what even actors not trained in martial arts can achieve. Not only has his body of work won him an American Choreography Award and multiple Best Action Choreography awards and nominations at Taiwan’s Golden Horse Awards and the Hong Kong Film Awards, it also continues to prove that martial arts cinema is truly an international art form worthy of its Chinese roots
We remain our readers that the 10th Asian Film Award Ceremony will take place on March 17th at The Venetian Theatre (The Venetian) in the city of Macao.