SINGAPORE: Homegrown director Boo Junfeng’s critically acclaimed Apprentice has won the coveted NETPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) award for Best Film at the prestigious Taipei Golden Horse Film Awards.
Often dubbed as the Oscars of Chinese-language cinema, being honoured at the awards is a real coup for the Singaporean filmmaker whose film Apprentice is a Malay and English language film. The NETPAC prize is the only award given out to a non-Chinese film at the Golden Horse.
"It is great to be honoured at Taipei Golden Horse for a non-Chinese language film. I wasn't expecting it at all and am still reeling from it!" Boo told Channel NewsAsia over the telephone from Taipei, where he received the award on Wednesday (Nov 23).
“I was very surprised as there are a lot of good films nominated for the award. I thanked Hou Hsiao Hsien who was at the ceremony as he was such an inspiration to me as a young filmmaker,” he added.
Apprentice has been on an award-winning streak since October, scooping up the Busan International Film festival’s Rising Director award for Boo; Best Film, Asian New Wave at QCinema International Film Festival; Best Narrative Film, Interfaith Competition at the St. Louis International Film Festival and a Special Mention (Acting Ensemble) for the cast at the Hawaii International Film Festival.
“It doesn't change the way I make films,” said Boo with a laugh when asked how the slew of awards has affected him. “The awards are a great recognition for my team and me, and we are all very encouraged by them.”
So are there any mounting expectations now for Apprentice as Singapore's representative at the Oscars next year?
“We can only try our best. I was in LA last week to show the film to academy members,” he shared. “Their comments to me afterwards were very encouraging.”