2024.03.07 [Updates]
The 17th Asian Film Awards: Chinese Film Auteur ZHANG Yimou Receives Double Honour / Recipient of Lifetime Achievement Award, and 2023 Highest-Grossing Asian Film Award for “Full River Red”

Organized by the Asian Film Awards Academy (AFAA), the 17th Asian Film Awards (AFA) announced that it will present the Lifetime Achievement Award to renowned Chinese director Zhang Yimou at the AFA Ceremony on March 10, 2024. The AFA Lifetime Achivement Award, the event’s highest accolade, is given to film professionals who have made a significant impact on Asian cinema throughout their lifetime dedicated to the film industry. Zhang participated in the 36th Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) to screen Full River Red, as well as to receive a TIFF’s Lifetime Achievement Award and to host a masterclass.
ZHANG is also honoured for his directorial work Full River Red which will receive the 2023 Highest-Grossing Asian Film Award on the same occasion. The award is to recognise outstanding global box office performance by Asian films, and Japanese animation film Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Movie: Mugen Train received the award at the 15th AFA in 2021 for the first time as the animation film.
These two awards are not only a testament to ZHANG’s extraordinary achievements but also to his continued success, having won the Asian Film Contribution Award at the 4th Asian Film Awards in 2010 and the Best Director Award at the 15th Asian Film Awards in 2021 for One Second.
ZHANG Yimou will attend the 17th AFA ceremony in person to receive the two awards.
ZHANG expressed his profound gratitude to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award: “I consider myself very fortunate to have chosen filmmaking as my lifelong profession. Having been in the industry for over four decades, I am grateful to everyone who appreciates my films. Thank you for your enduring support and encouragement. I will keep learning and strive to surpass myself. Always having anticipations for the future, I hope that my best film will be my next one.”
Lauded as an iconic director in China’s Fifth Generation Cinema, Zhang debuted as the cinematographer for One and Eight in 1984. He served as cinematographer for CHEN Kaige’s Yellow Earth in the same year, and for this film, Zhang not only won Best Cinematography at the 5th Golden Rooster Award but also at film festivals in both Hawaii and Nantes. Beyond his early cinematography work, the multi-talented ZHANG also appeared on-screen in the film Old Well and his performance won him the Best Actor Award at the 8th Golden Rooster Award, the 11th Hundred Flowers Award and the 2nd Tokyo International Film Festival, making Zhang the first-ever Chinese to win Best Actor awards at international film festivals.
Stunning Film Debut and Major Awards at Top Global Film Festivals Within Seven Years
In 1988, Zhang Yimou made his directorial debut with Red Sorghum which intense colors and bold narrative style quickly vaulted him to international fame. Red Sorghum won the Golden Bear Award at the 38th Berlin International Film Festival and marked China’s first major award at the world’s top three film festivals.
While his earlier films focused on rural lives, his directorial works from 1988 to 1999 including The Road Home essentially chronicled social development in contemporary China while profiling the lives of Chinese people across different eras. His 1991 film Raise the Red Lantern won the Silver Lion award at the 44th Venice Film Festival and was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 64th Oscars. This was immediately followed by The Story of Qiu Ju in 1992 which won the Golden Lion Award at the 45th Venice Film Festival. His 1994 film To Live won the Cannes Grand Jury Prize. From his directorial debut with Red Sorghum, ZHANG garnered top prizes at all three world’s top film festivals within merely seven years. After the year 2000, ZHANG shifted his focus and directed many blockbusters including Hero, House of Flying Daggers, and Curse of the Golden Flower which continued to break Chinese box office records. In 2015, he directed The Great Wall, his first English-language film.
Smash Hit Full River Red Rakes in US$ 667 Million
Crowned Eighth Top-Grossing Film Worldwide in 2023

ZHANG Yimou’s films in recent years have all been blockbuster hits at the box office. His string of hits continued with Full River Red which AFAA announced to be the winner of the AFA “2023 Highest-Grossing Asian Film”. Full River Red received critical acclaim after its official release in China on 22 January 2023 and became the box office champion during the Spring Festival holiday with over 91 million theater visits. The smash hit was then screened in theaters across Hong Kong, United Kingdom, United States, Canada, South Korea, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, and other countries, earning around USD $667 million at the global box office, according to the data from Maoyan Entertainment. Full River Red becomes eighth in the 2023 global box office ranking, only trailing seven Hollywood productions and crowned as the year’s highest-grossing Asian film in the world.

The AFA Ceremony will take place at the Xiqu Centre in the West Kowloon Cultural District on March 10, 2024. The prestigious event will also be streamed live on the AFAA’s official YouTube Channel
→ youtube.com/AsianFilmAwardsAcademy
Timetable: 17:00: Red Carpet (Hong Kong Time), 19:30: Ceremony (Hong Kong Time)
Please see the 17th AFA’s nomination list here.
The 17th Asian Film Awards Ceremony
Date: March 10, 2024 (Sunday)
Venue: Grand Theatre, Xiqu Centre, West Kowloon Cultural District
Address: 88 Austin Road West, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Asian Film Awards (AFA)
The Asian Film Awards was inaugurated in 2007, where members of AFAA are drawn from its past nominees and winners. The category of awards includes Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress. Members vote for the Asian Film Awards and participate in various AFAA activities involving film professionals and audiences in Asia and around the world.
More details: afa-academy.com
Asian Film Awards Academy (AFAA)
The Asian Films Awards Academy, a non-profit organization, was founded by Busan, Hong Kong and Tokyo International Film Festivals with the shared goal of celebrating excellence in Asian cinema. Aiming to promote and recognize Asian films and its talents, AFAA highlights, strengthens and develops Asian film industry through the annual Asian Film Awards and several year-round initiatives.