7 April 2024 (Hong Kong) – The 48th Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF48) announced winners of the 15 Firebird Awards and FIPRESCI Prize at the Awards Gala held this evening at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, with Snow in Midsummer and Sons taking the top prizes in the Young Cinema Competition.

Malaysian director Chong Keat-aun’s Snow in Midsummer was named Best Film for the Young Cinema Competition (Chinese Language).  The jury commended the director for ‘demonstrating extraordinary courage in recounting the traumatic experiences of Malaysian travelling players’.  Liang Ming took home the Best Director kudo with Carefree Days, which won acclaim for his multi-layered plot and witty dialogues.  The film’s female lead, Lyu Xingchen, also received the Best Actress award, while the Best Actor award went to Jason King in A Journey in Spring.  The jury was impressed by her nuanced facial expressions and his perfect balance in performance respectively.

Of the eight films vying for recognition in the Young Cinema Competition (World) category, Swedish director Gustav Möller’s Sons was chosen as the Firebird Award winner for being ‘masterfully crafted and a great balance between storytelling and human depth’.  For ‘creating a cinematic world that fuses harsh reality, surrealism and familiar issues’, Tunisian director Meryam Joobeur garnered the Best Director award with Who Do I Belong To.  The Best Actor award went to Vangelis Mourikis, who expresses his complex feelings through silence in Arcadia.  Giving life to a strong female character in Ivo, Minna Wündrich was named Best Actress.  The jury also concurred to award a Special Mention to Pepe, directed by Nelson Carlo de los Santos Arias.

In the Documentary Competition, the jury unanimously awarded the Firebird Award to Favoriten by Austrian director Ruth Beckermann, commending it for ‘reminding us how it only takes one person to make a difference for the next generations.’  Hong Kong director Wong Siu-pong took the Jury Prize with Obedience for showing the inseparable relationship between people and the society they live in.  The Jury also decided to give a Special Mention to Intercepted by Ukrainian director Oksana Karpovych.

For telling a warm yet heartbreaking story in strong artistic stylisation, Margherita Giusti received the Firebird Award in the Short Film Competition with The Meatseller. The Jury Prize went to Shrooms by Portuguese director Jorge Jácome, who expertly demonstrates the visceral potentials of the moving image.

Besides winning the Best Actor award, A Journey in Spring, co-directed by Wang Ping-Wen and Peng Tzu-Hui, was also the pick of the FIPRESCI Prize jury for ‘leading the audience into their own experiences of separation and grief, while pursuing their own aesthetics.’

The 12-day HKIFF48 will conclude tomorrow, after showcasing over 190 films from 62 countries and regions.