The Host steals the show at the Asian Film Awards

SOUTH KOREAN actor Song Kang-ho hailed Asia's filmmakers after he and his comptriots blitzed Hong Kong's inaugural Asian Film Awards, aimed at showcasing the depth of talent in the region.

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Published: Thu 22 Mar 2007, 10:40 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 8:46 PM

At a glitzy, harbour-side ceremony best actor for his performance in South Korea's smash hit monster movie 'The Host', which swept the awards, winning four of the five nominations, including best picture.

Among those bringing glamour to Tuesday night's event were Bond girl Michelle Yeoh, French director Luc Besson, Hong Kong actress Maggie Q, star of 'Mission Impossible III', and Japanese idol Hirosue Ryoko.

Director Andrew Lau of 'Infernal Affairs' which was remade into Oscar-winning gangster flick 'The Departed' was also among the stars to tread the red carpet.

But the gala, organised by the Hong Kong International Film Festival, now in its 31st year, lacked some of the powerful names nominated for awards including Chinese director Zhang Yimou and Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan.

Chinese stars Gong Li and Zhang Ziyi who both starred in 'Memoirs of a Geisha' were also absent.

Song defeated fellow Korean idol Jung Ji-hoon, better known as Rain, as well as heart-throbs Andy Lau and Chang Chen for the coverted gong.

h1A thriller-cum horror, 'The Host' tells a story of a mutant monster spawned by toxic waste released from a US military morgue.

'I'm really honoured to receive this award and be around such great Asian filmmakers,' said 40-year-old Song who plays a slow-witted man fighting to rescue his daughter abducted by the monster.

The film also won best visual effects and cinematographer.

China's Jia Zhangke picked up best director for 'Still Life' which also won at the Venice Film Festival last year.

It tells the story of the devastating social impact of China's Three Gorges Dam on residents of a town forced to leave to pave the way for construction of the massive project.

Japan's Nakatani Miki of 'Memories of Matsuko' was crowned best actress, beating rivals and Chinese starlets Gong Li and Zhang Ziyi.

'I've never expected to receive this award so I'm very surprised and honoured... I'll try my best to craft great movies from now on,' she said before an audience of thousands at Hong Kong's Convention and Exhibition Centre.

In the minor categories, Indonesia's Rahayu Supanggah of 'Opera Jawa' won the best composer prize, beating Hong Kong's Peter Kam, winner at the 2006 Berlin Film Festival for his composing talents.

Best editor prize went to Lee Chatametikool of Thailand's 'Syndromes and a Century' while Tim Yip of 'The Banquet' won best production design.

Mani Haghighi of Iran's 'Men at Work' received the best screenwriter award.

Hong Kong actor Andy Lau, from 'House of Flying Daggers', was awarded as the highest grossing actor in Asian cinema.

David Bordwell, who has written extensively on Asian cinema, and long-time Hong Kong actor Josephine Siao Fong-fong, winner of of 1995 Berlin Film festival for her role in 'Summer Snow', received special honours for their contributions to the Asian industry.

More than 30 films from across the region vied for the 10 prizes.

The awards and the film festival will be held in conjunction with the third Entertainment Expo, which runs from Tuesday through April 15 and combines eight events in film, digital entertainment and music.

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