Posted by Larry Gleeson
Since 1986 the Berlin International Film Festival has presented the Berlinale Camera to film personalities or institutions to which it feels particularly indebted and wishes to express its thanks.
At the 67th Berlin International Film Festival, three personalities will be awarded the Berlinale Camera: film producer and distributor Nansun Shi (Hong Kong, China), actor Geoffrey Rush (Australia), and film critic and author Samir Farid (Egypt).
NANSUN SHI, PRODUCER, DISTRIBUTOR (HONG KONG, CHINA)
Nansun Shi is one of the most important and influential producers and distributors of the international film world. In the 1970s, following her studies in statistics and computer science in London, and before starting her career as a film producer, she was engaged in the field of television in Hong Kong.
In 1984, after working as executive director for Cinema City Studios for a number of years, Nansun Shi and renowned director Tsui Hark, founded Film Workshop, their own production company. It wasn’t long before its name was equated with hits at the box office. Their biggest international successes in this period include A Better Tomorrow (1986) by John Woo; Once Upon a Time in China (1991) with Jet Li, and Seven Swords (2005), both of which were directed by Tsui Hark. Produced in 2002, the multiple prize-winning thriller Infernal Affairs was the film on which Martin Scorsese based The Departed (2006).
In addition, as co-founder of Distribution Workshop, she was committed to her role as distributor of Chinese-language films. She was also the Vice Chairman of the Media Asia Group, one of the largest Asian film studios. In 2011 she served on the jury of the International Film Festival in Cannes, and in 2014 she received the Best Independent Producer Award in Locarno. In 2013 the French government honored Nansun with the title of Officier de I’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres; in 2015 the Udine Far East Film Festival, with the Golden Mulberry Life Time Achievement Award.
She has close ties with the Berlinale: in 2007 she was a member of the International Jury, and since then has been a regular guest at the Festival. In 2011 she presented Late Autumn (dir: Kim Tae-Yong) in the Forum; and in 2012 Flying Swords of Dragon Gate (dir: Tsui Hark) in the Competition section, where it screened out of competition. Most recently, she produced The Taking of Tiger Mountain, which was a big hit in China.
Nansun Shi will be awarded the Berlinale Camera in the cinema at the Martin-Gropius-Bau at 12.30 pm on Friday, February 10, 2017. Fred Tsui will give a speech in her honor. First awarded in 2016, this prestigious prize will now be presented annually to an outstanding producer.
GEOFFREY RUSH, ACTOR (AUSTRALIA)
For over 40 years, Geoffrey Rush has been recognized as one of the world’s most remarkable character actors. He is equally at home on stage and screen. The Australian is among the few to have ever won the “Triple Crown of Acting”: the Emmy, Oscar, and Tony – as well as countless other awards for his performances. He has starred in eight films presented at the Berlin International Film Festival.
Rush made his stage debut when he was just 20. In the following years, he developed an extraordinary repertoire of classical theatre roles. He first performed on screen in 1981. For his tour-de-force portrayal of the highly dysfunctional but brilliant pianist David Helfgott in Shine (dir: Scott Hicks, 1996), he won an Academy Award. He also received Golden Globe and Oscar nominations for two period dramas, Shakespeare in Love (dir: John Madden) and Quills (dir: Philip Kaufman), and participated with them in the Berlinale Competition in 1999 and 2001 respectively. Rush starred in The Tailor of Panama (dir: John Boorman), which was also screened in the 2001 Competition. In 2003, he portrayed Captain Hector Barbossa, one of the villains in Pirates of the Caribbean (dir: Gore Verbinski), for the first time. The huge international success of this adventure film led to three sequels – in all of them Rush plays the roguish Captain.
In 2006, Rush returned to the Berlinale Competition, appearing in the drug film Candy (dir: Neil Armfield). In 2011, he could be seen in the Berlinale Special, in Tom Hooper’s touching drama The King’s Speech. Among many other prizes, he received the BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor for this film. Rush’s most recent appearance at the Festival was in 2013 when he presented the thriller The Best Offer by Giuseppe Tornatore in the Berlinale Special.
In this year’s Competition program he is playing the lead in Stanley Tucci’s Final Portrait (out of competition). Geoffrey Rush will be awarded the Berlinale Camera at the Berlinale Palast at 7.00 pm on Saturday, February 11, 2017.
SAMIR FARID, FILM CRITIC, AUTHOR (EGYPT)
Samir Farid is one of the most eminent film critics and authors of the Arab world. As an expert on cinema, his advice and opinions are in demand worldwide. As a film critic he has accompanied the Berlinale for decades.
He first trained his sharp eye for film during his studies at the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts at the Academy of Arts in Cairo. In 1965 he began his career as a critic at the Egyptian daily Al-Gomhoreya, where he worked for 38 years. During this period, he co-founded the National Festival of Short and Documentary Films (1970), the National Festival of Feature Films (1971), as well as the Egyptian Film Critics Association (1972). Since the early 1970s, Farid has also been a member of the FIPRESCI, the international federation of film critics. Over the course of his long career, he has used his extensive knowledge while serving as a jury member at many world-renowned film festivals.
For a few years during the 1980s, he was also a correspondent for the trade magazine Variety. In 2004 he began working for the daily Al-Masry Al-Youm. Farid is the author and translator of more than 60 books on Arab and world cinema. For his achievements and contributions to the discourse on cinema, he received the Cannes Film Festival Gold Medal in both 1997 and 2000, as well as Lifetime Achievement Awards at the Osian’s-Cinefan Festival in New Delhi in 2012 and at the Dubai International Film Festival in 2013.
Samir Farid will be awarded the Berlinale Camera at the Berlinale Lunch Club at 12.30 pm on Wednesday, February 15, 2017. Journalist and FIPRESCI Secretary General Klaus Eder will give a speech in his honour.
Modelled on a real camera, the Berlinale Camera has 128 finely crafted components made by Dusseldorf-based goldsmith Georg Hornemann.
(Source: Berlinale Press Office)