The Academy of Film, which is part of the School of Communication at Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), has organised the first Global University Film Awards (GUFA).
Celebrating student cinematic achievements, the awards have received over 1,800 short film submissions from nearly 100 countries and regions, including Thailand, Mexico, Argentina, Myanmar, and Qatar.
The Academy is delighted to invite Mr Louis Koo, winner of the Best Actor prize at the Hong Kong Film Awards and the World Outstanding Chinese Award, to be the ambassador of the first GUFA.
Mr Koo is dedicated to advancing the development of the Hong Kong film industry, and he has been the ambassador of the Hong Kong International Film Festival for five consecutive years, demonstrating his tireless commitment to promoting film culture. He has also established his own film production company to produce and create movies. With Mr Koo’s international reputation and influence, the GUFA can move to a higher level and attract more young talents to take part in the film industry.
The GUFA builds on the success of the Global Chinese Universities Student Film and Television Festival (GCU). Started by HKBU in 2002, since then the GCU has grown in visibility and stature, with recognition from tertiary institutions and creative industries at home and abroad. To further expand its mission of advancing the development of the film industry and nurturing young talent, the Academy has also rebranded GCU to become the GUFA with the aim of encouraging internationally-excellent film students to create and submit works.
The Academy strives to encourage and recognise emerging filmmakers, foster creative exchange among film students around the world, and build rapport between regional young talents and the international creative industry.
While this is the first GUFA, the Academy has received overwhelming recognition and participation from different sectors and has invited over 20 world-class film professionals and scholars to be the members of Advisory Board or Judging Panel.
Participants include Mr Marco Muller, Chair of GUFA Judging Panel and Director of Pingyao International Film Festival; Mr Johnnie To and Mr Patrick Tam, renowned Film Director; Mr Max Howard, an Animation Producer famous for working on Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King; and Mr Timmy Yip, Winner of Academy Award for Best Production Design and Professor Paul Stekler, documentary film scholar of the University of Texas at Austin.
The GUFA is comprised of 11 awards, including the Gold Award, HKBU Academy of Film’s Choice, Best Narrative, Best Director, Best Script and Best Actor and Best Actress from five categories, namely narratives, Chinese narratives, documentary, animation and experimental film. The judging panel assessed the creations based on their originality, creative presentation, language, and performance skills. It has selected the finalists and the winners will be announced at the Award Presentation Ceremony on 9 November.
Professor Eva Man Kit-wah, Director of the Academy, said that the topics picked by the young filmmakers are always related to people or issues around them, and that they can present their feeling and thinking with innovative approaches, giving audiences a great surprise.
“We can enhance the film with various post-production technologies but the original ways of expression cannot be replaced,” she said.
The first GUFA has attracted a multitude of talents from all over the world, including the United States, Europe, Iceland, Belarus, Cuba, Tanzania, and Morocco. Mr Man Shu-sum, Deputy Director of the Academy, said that the quality of the submissions from the Philippines, Korea, Thailand and Myanmar are significantly improving, and some unexpected areas are also producing amazing works. This includes Uzbekistan, which submitted four works to GUFA with two of them selected as finalists. He said that this was an excellent result and clearly demonstrated the uniqueness of film culture from different countries and cities around the world. This all helps to broaden the vision of young film professionals.
The GUFA, which runs from 7 to 9 November, features several events, including the opening ceremony, master classes and screenings of the finalist’s films. It closes with the Award Presentation Ceremony. For event details, please refer to the GUFA website: http://af.hkbu.edu.hk/gusff/.
The first GUFA is organised by HKBU’s School of Communication and Academy of Film which is proudly presented by Hong Kong King Wai Group Company Limited, with also Simon Suen Foundation as its Gold Sponsor.