China

Ten Years: Controversial Hong Kong film wins top Asia award

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Media captionTen Years is set in a dystopian future where the city is totally under Beijing's influence.

A controversial film depicting a bleak future for Hong Kong under Beijing's control has won one of Asia's top film awards.

The low-budget, independent movie Ten Years has packed screenings in Hong Kong, but is banned in mainland China.

Set in 2025, it depicts political gangs and persecution of local people for speaking Cantonese not Mandarin.

It comes amid increasing nervousness in Hong Kong about perceived Communist Party interference in its affairs.

Ten Years, which is made up of five vignettes, won the best film prize at the Hong Kong Film Awards held on Sunday.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption It cost around $70,000 US dollars (£49,000) to make, with some staff working for free

"Ten Years exposed the fear of Hong Kong people (towards China)," said one of the film's directors, Chow Kwun-wai.

Producer Andrew Choi told the BBC the award came as a surprise.

"It's important for Hong Kong that a film that echoes so much of what people are feeling in their hearts has won."

He said the film won after several rounds of voting by mainly Hong Kong filmmakers and praised the "integrity" of that process.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The win was not mentioned by some Chinese media outlets that reported on other results

The film includes scenes such as children in uniform policing adults, reminiscent of the child Red Guards of China's violent 1966-76 Cultural Revolution, and an old woman setting herself alight in front of the British consulate.

In January, China's state-controlled Global Times ran an editorial describing the film as a "thought virus".

Shortly after, many cinemas in Hong Kong stopped screening it, though independent screenings have continued to show the film. It is also expected to appear in limited release or at festivals in Taiwan, Singapore, the US and Italy.

The film's makers have never sought distribution in mainland China, but the awards ceremony was not broadcast there, as it normally is.

Censors in the mainland also blacked out the story when it appeared on BBC World News.

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