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Udine’s Far East Fest to Fete Chinese Helmer Feng Xiaogang, Open With Japan’s ‘Survival Family’

ROME – Japanese director Shinobu Yagouchi’s road movie “Survival Family,” about a Japanese family’s efforts to stay alive amid a global blackout, will open the upcoming 19th edition of the Far East Festival in Udine, Italy, Europe’s biggest showcase of genre and mainstream Asian cinema on April 21.

Chinese helmer Feng Xiaogang (pictured), who is known as “China’s Spielberg,” will be making the trek to be honored in Udine where his latest film “I Am Not Madame Bovary” will screen.

“Survival Family,” which bowed recently at the Macao fest, is among 25 European premieres unspooling at the fest.

Udine has also secured Hong Kong superstar Andy Lau’s “Shock Wave” as its closer on April 29, shortly after the hotly anticipated actioner’s Asian release, on April 20, a clear indication of how well-integrated this event is within Asia’s film scene.

The lineup comprises 4 world premiers, including Chinese director Song Haolin’s school comedy “Mr. Zhu’s Summer” and Japanese indie helmer Uchida Eiji’s offbeat dark youth comedy “Love and Other Cults” that recently had it market preem at Hong Kong’s Filmart.

Other standout titles include Taiwanese musical “52Hz I Love You” by Wei Te-sheng; transgender Filipino comedy “Die Beautiful,” by Jun Robles Lana; Hong Kong splatter pic “The Sleep Curse,” by Herman Yau; and Cambodian actioner “Jailbreak” by director Jimmy Henderson who, despite his name, is actually Italian.

Udine this year is stepping up efforts to become a bona fide market and conduit for genre movie co-productions between Asian and European film producers. Its Focus Asia curated co-production platform, being held April 26-28, will feature projects in early stages from 13 countries in the two continents presented to some 100 sales agents and other industry execs from companies including XYZ, Media Asia, M-Line, Showbox, Wild Bunch, Reel Suspects, and M-Appeal.

Industry heavyweights making the trek to Udine this year include James Wang (aka Wang Zhonglei), co-chief of China’s Huayi Brothers Media Corporation, who will attend the Italian premiere of “I Am Not Madame Bovary.” The hit satirical drama about China’s Justice system which launched last year from Toronto.

“Bovary” helmer Feng Xiaogang and prominent Hong Kong multihyphenate Eric Tsang, the actor, director, producer and TV host who recently appeared in “Kung Fu Yoga,” also screening at the fest, will both be honored with Udine’s Golden Mulberry Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Veteran Hong Kong-based director and producer Fruit Chan, a longtime friend the fest, is also expected for the international preem of the restored version of his cult pic “Made in Hong Kong.”