Apprentice wins award at Golden Horse Film Festival
TAIPEI — Singapore film-maker Boo Junfeng’s Apprentice nabbed the Network for the Promotion of Asia Pacific Cinema (NETPAC) award at Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival 2016 on Wednesday evening (Nov 23).
Boo, 32, told TODAY: “I was very surprised as the competition was very strong. It’s great to be honoured at Taipei Golden Horse for a non-Chinese language film.”
Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival (TGHFF) is the largest film festival in Taiwan. Starting in 1980 as a non-competitive showcase, TGHFF aims at introducing prominent cinema from around the world, in order to promote cinema as an art form and to enhance intercultural understanding through cinema. The NETPAC is the only award given out by the festival and Apprentice was the only film to receive it.
The psychological drama focuses on the relationship between Aiman, a young correctional officer, and Rahim, the chief executioner of the prison. Their friendship becomes more difficult after Aiman finds out that the executioner was the one who hanged his father.
The jury, comprising prominent film critics and programmers from Hong Kong and Taiwan, Freddie Wong, Lee Chan-Peng and Kuo Ming-Jung, praised the film for its “tight script, mise-en-scene” and “successfully demonstrating a unique visual style to get inside the character psychology and tackle the issue of death penalty”.
Apprentice premiered at the Cannes Film Festival’s more progressive Un Certain Regard section in May this year and was also selected by the Singapore Film Commission (SFC) to be Singapore’s official selection for the 2017 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
The NETPAC award at the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival marks Apprentice’s 5th award. The film has won Best Film, Asian New Wave at QCinema International Film Festival, Best Narrative Film, Interfaith Competition at St Louis International Film Festival, as well as Special Mention, Acting Ensemble at Hawaii International Film Festival. Junfeng has also received the Rising Director Award for the film at Busan International Film Festival in October.
“These awards are a great recognition for my team and I. It is very heartening to know that the film and its themes have spoken to so many people around the world. The film themes are universal and speak to people everywhere regardless of language and culture,” said the young film-maker.
Boo added, “I was just in LA last week to present the film to members of the academy as part of the film’s Oscars campaign. The comments I’ve gotten from them have been very encouraging.”