Di­rec­tor lauded

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By PAUL WELITZKIN in New York paulwelitzkin@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

Film di­rec­tor Zhang Yi­mou (cen­ter), one of the re­cip­i­ents of the Asia So­ci­ety’s Game Changer Award, with guests at the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s event in New York on Thurs­day night.

Ar­chi­tect I.M. Pei and film di­rec­tor Zhang Yi­mou were honored by the Asia So­ci­ety as re­cip­i­ents of the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s Game Changer Awards at the United Na­tions in New York on Thurs­day night.

Launched by the Asia So­ci­ety in 2014, the Game Changer Awards are de­signed to iden­tify those who are mak­ing a pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tion to Asia’s fu­ture. Nom­i­na­tions are so­licited from the more than 1,000 mem­bers of the Asia So­ci­ety’s global net­work.

Pei, who will turn 100 in April, re­ceived the Asia Game Changer Life­time Achieve­ment Award.

“He has changed cities, build­ings and changed those of us who are in those build­ings,” Ron­nie Chan, chair­man of Huang Lung Prop­er­ties Ltd, said in pre­sent­ing the award.

Call­ing him a great ar­chi­tect and a hum­ble hu­man, Lulu Wang, CEO of Tu­pelo Cap­i­tal Man­age­ment, said “we know him to be warm and gen­er­ous”.

“Thank you all and see­ing all of my friends have moved me. I hope to see you again,” said Pei in ac­cept­ing the award.

Ieoh Ming Pei was born in China in 1917, the son of a prom­i­nent banker. At age 17, he came to the US to study ar­chi­tec­ture and earned a bach­e­lor’s de­gree from the Mas­sachusetts In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy in 1940.

Pei has been the de­sign force be­hind the John F. Kennedy Air­port in New York, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleve­land and work on nu­mer­ous schools, li­braries and mu­se­ums, in­clud­ing the Grand Lou­vre in Paris.

Zhang was named a 2016 Asia Game Changer “for chang­ing the land­scape of film in China”.

He is the di­rec­tor of The Great Wall, a US-Chi­nese co­pro­duc­tion that cost an es­ti­mated $140 mil­lion. The big­bud­get pe­riod epic fea­tures Amer­i­can Matt Da­mon as a sol­dier in an­cient China bat­tling evil crea­tures.

China’s Dalian Wanda Group has been ac­tively ac­quir­ing US film and en­ter­tain­ment as­sets, in­clud­ing the film stu­dio Leg­endary En­ter­tain­ment. Would Zhang like to see Wanda di­rect those in­vest­ments into China’s do­mes­tic film in­dus­try in­stead?

“The eco­nomic ques­tions are not my spe­cialty,’ Zhang said. “China has un­der­gone so many changes. Since the Chi­nese peo­ple have the abil­ity to do this (the ac­qui­si­tions), that is good. But I am a film­maker and my job is to speak with my films.”

Zhang’s films like To Live, Raise the Red Lantern and Hero por­tray sex­u­al­ity on screen, chal­lenge tra­di­tional pa­tri­ar­chal at­ti­tudes and tackle sen­si­tive is­sues re­lated to China’s le­gal sys­tem and the “cul­tural rev­o­lu­tion” (1966-76).

He was cho­sen to di­rect the spec­tac­u­lar open­ing cer­e­mony of the 2008 Bei­jing Olympics seen by 2 bil­lion peo­ple.

Other 2016 Asia Game Chang­ers are girls’ ed­u­ca­tion ad­vo­cate Mu­zoon Almelle­han; en­tre­pre­neur Marita Cheng; K-Pop ex­ec­u­tive Soo-Man Lee; eye sur­geon Dr. San­duk Ruit; Afghanistan Na­tional In­sti­tute of Mu­sic di­rec­tor Ah­mad Sar­mast; im­pact in­vest­ment pioneer Dur­reen Shah­naz; and Iraqi Na­tional Sym­phony Orches­tra con­duc­tor Karim Wasfi.

JI TAO / CHINA DAILY

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