By Leong Sze Hian
When Remy Choo, Managing Editor of theonlinecitizen asked me if I could write something about my participation at the 50th Golden Horse Awards in Taipei) on 23th November (my 60th birthday), the first thought that came to my mind was – what else can I write that has not already been covered by the media on Ilo Ilo winning 4 Golden Horse awards. Ilo Ilo has won 20 international awards to date.
“Unusual” moments of the Golden Horse Awards
Allow me to share with you the most “unusual” moments at the awards ceremony.
“Most hilarious” moment – the atmosphere was super-charged as it was the final award for Best Feature Film. One of the 2 presenters, Ti Lung read out Anthony Chen’s name after the movie clips – and everyone thought that he had won (the entire Ilo Ilo team and Singapore attendees stood up cheering) – Anthony actually stood up and was about to walk to the stage, and was hugged by Chen Tian Wen I think – only to realise as Ti Lung continued to read the rest of the nominees’ names – that it was another “slip up” (Ti Lung had earlier forgotten to make the announcement to show the movie clips of the award nominees) and that he had not won (yet)!
“Most dramatic” moment – After the above, the atmosphere was even more tensed – and when Ti Lung said Anthony Chen Ilo Ilo – there was relief and ecstatic joy in the faces particularly of the Ilo Ilo team and Singaporeans! I believe this is the first time that a new first time Director had won the Best Feature Film, Best New Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress – winning the most awards at this Golden Horse Awards!
“Most confusing” moment – the first awardee of the night for the Best Cinematography: Philippe Le Sourd (The Grandmaster) – made a fairly long speech in supposed Mandarin – but most of us were really confused as we weren’t quite sure what language it was. I spoke to him later and he told me that he had lived in Beijing for 5 years!
“Strangest” moment – whenever someone left their seats to go to the toilet, a young very well dressed young gentleman or lady would come to occupy the empty seats. Only then, did I realise that there were about 30 of these “seat warmers” who would be running up and down during the commercials during the TV broadcast. So, whenever you saw a full house when the audience was shown on TV – now you know why!
“Quickest” moment – you could only go to the toilets during the approximately 2 minute commercial breaks – and hardly anyone could make it back in time. You have to queue at the door to wait for the next commercial break to get in again. The only 2 persons I saw who managed to pee and make it back in time were Anthony Chen and Wang Wen Hung, whom I met in the toilet!
“Hungriest” moment – we had planned to go early at 4.30 to eat an early dinner to enter the awards ceremony at 5.30 pm. Unfortunately, there wasn’t any food that we could find at the Dr Sun Yat Sun Memorial Hall and the surrounding grounds. When we got to the “Ma la” hotpot restaurant for the “celebrations” hosted by the distributor of Ilo Ilo in Taiwan – I have never seen so many “so hungry” people!
“Longest” moment – the show was scheduled for 4 hours from 7 to 11 pm, but it ended after midnight. I don’t think anybody other than me – woke up in time for the breakfast at the Sunworld Dynasty (Official hotel for the Awards) the next morning!
“Heaviest” moment – each Golden Horse trophy weighs about 10 kgs – try carrying all 4 of them! Anthony actually asked me if I had spare luggage weight to help to “carry the horses”! Fortunately or unfortunately I had to return earlier to Singapore at 4 am on 25 November – you see the “Golden Horses” had to be lugged around as they went for the numerous interviews and events!
What a night for Anthony Chen, Ilo Ilo and Singapore!
* Leong Sze Hian is one of the executive producers who funded the production of the movie.