Dev Benegal wins at Hong Kong Film Bazaar

NEW DELHI: Dev Benegal’s Dead, End has won the the Network of Asian Fantastic Films (NAFF) prize at this year's Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF) awards.

Network of Asian Fantastic Films (NAFF) prize is sponsored by the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan).

Benegal’s film is being directed in collaboration with actor-filmmaker Satish Kaushik as producer and actor. It revolves around the story of Lal Bihari, a farmer from Uttar Pradesh, who was declared dead from 1976 to 1994. After a relative, in a bid to usurp his land, proved that Bihari had died, the latter had to fight against the bureaucracy to prove that he is alive.

Kaushik had planned to make the film a decade earlier with Anil Kapoor and took on Benegal because of the manner in which the latter developed the screenplay.

This year, the HAF received around 300 submissions from 11 countries and regions. Each winner receives a HK$150,000 (US$19,300) cash prize.

The forum, that connects Asian filmmakers and their upcoming film projects with film financiers worldwide, was held from 24 to 26 March at the Hong Kong convention and exhibition centre.

Hong Kong's Angel Whispers and Taiwan's Private Eyes:1 picked up the main awards at the HAF.

Actress Carrie NG's directorial debut, a murder mystery about the disappearance of a prostitute, won the HAF Award for a Hong Kong project. She is set to co-direct with Shirley Yung. Chang Jung-chi’s Private Eyes, about a playwright who becomes a private detective, won the award for a non-Hong Kong project. The director's Touch of the Light (2012) was a HAF project in 2009.

The HAF Script Development Award went to Jack Shih's The Solitary Pier, an animated film about a fisherman in a small seaside village. The HAF/Fox Chinese Film Development Fund, which comes with a HK$100,000 (US$12,900) prize and a development contract with Fox, went to Shu Haolun’s romance drama Love is Speaking.

The Wouter Barendrecht Award named after the late Fortissimo Films co-founder that comes with a cash prize of HK$50,000 (US$6,440), went to Fazila AmiriI's documentary Hip Hop Kabul. Presenters Michael J. Werner and Nelleke Driessen praised the project as "very daring".

Established for the first time this year, the Fushan Documentary Award went to Zhao Liang's Dust about the coal mines of Inner Mongolia. Zhao will receive a HK$100,000 (US$12,900) cash prize and a development contract with the newly formed Fushan Features.

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