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To mark the 30th anniversary of Australia’s diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China the Festival, this year’s Sydney Asia Pacific Film Festival (August 8 – 17) will present three contemporary features from China, opening with Happy Times, a bitter-sweet comedy set in urban China, by acclaimed filmmaker Zhang Yimou (The Road Home). Andrew L. Urban reports.

Happy Times, starring Jie Dong, Lifan Dong, Benshan Zhao

Watch the trailer - Happy Times - Low or High

The other two are Sigh, directed by Chinese box office favourite, Feng Xiaogang, and the Australian premiere of Quitting, by Zhang Yang, director of Shower.

Films from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Vietnam, Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, India and Australia will screen in the fest and other festival highlights include a special screening of Wong Kar Wai’s Fallen Angel, as part of a focus on expat Australian cinematographer Christopher Doyle. Doyle will be a special guest at the Festival, presenting a Masterclass and opening an exhibition of his photo-montage works.

The Festival will also screen a series of animations as part of its Animasia selection including 2002 Hong Kong’s favourite My Life As McDull.

This years Festival will present the 20th anniversary screening of Peter Weir’s The Year Of Living Dangerously, set in Indonesia, and host a Q & A session with cast and crew, who will look back on the representation of Asia in Australian Film.

New feature films in the programme will include Bollywood blockbuster Hearts Desire, a romantic comedy partly set in Sydney; New Moon, the topical new Philippine film about Christian/Muslim conflict in Mindanao; the international premiere of Australian documentary Chinese Takeaway, and a deadly double from Japans’ bad boy of cinema, Miike Takashi - Dead Or Alive and Dead Or Alive 2.

The winner of the popular Short Soup Short Film Competition will be announced on Opening Night and finalists will have their films screened during the festival.
The Festival will also run two free seminars - Co-Productions: Australia And Asia: Who Needs Them? And Asian Australian Film Makers – Staying In Or Moving Out? Speakers will include film professionals, representatives from industry bodies and emerging new talent. 

Major Sponsors of the festival are the Australian Film Commission, New South Wales Films & Television Office, City Of Sydney, Michell Sillar, Dendy Cinemas, Maxco, CLPR.

Session Sponsors: Japan Foundation, Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office, Korean National Tourism Organisation, Screensound.

Media Sponsors: World Movies, SBS Radio, SBS eatcarpet.
Supporters: Film Finance Commission, Singha, Australian Screen Directors Association

Published July 11, 2002

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My Life As McDull

Hearts Desire

The Year of Living Dangerously

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