Tsui Hark honoured with Maverick Director Award at Rome Film Festival 2013

Giona Nazzaro, Olivier Assayas and Tsui Hark on stage in Rome
I'm a huge fan of Hong King cinema so I was absolutely thrilled when I first learned that the visionary film director and producer Tsui Hark would be attending the Rome Film Festival this year to receive the Maverick Director Award, a special prize given to innovative auteurs. Tsui Hark was at the festival on Saturday evening to collect the award from French director Olivier Assayas, and to attend the international première screening of his new film Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon 3D, presented Out of Competition. Tsui Hark revolutionised Hong Kong cinema in the 1980s and 1990s, and he continues to thrill audiences today, with breathtaking special effects, and in the case of his latest movie, stunning use of stereoscopic 3D, which makes his gravity-defying high-wire martial arts action scenes even more spectacular.

After the film Tsui Hark and Olivier Assayas returned to the stage in Sala Sinopoli for a late night Masterclass moderated by Giona Nazzaro, in which the director began by explaining that he had started out wanting to make documentaries and had fallen, almost by accident, into making a wuxia martial arts television series. The discussion moved quickly through his career, from his early horror movie Butterfly Murders, to his controversial social commentary about delinquent youth Don't Play with Fire, which to his dismay was heavily censored at the time of its release, through to his hugely influential landmark special effects fantasy film Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain. Asked what drives his constant innovation, he remarked that as life is short he wants to leave something lasting behind. At the close of the evening I was one of the lucky few who managed to get an autograph and am now the proud owner of a Once Upon a Time in China DVD signed by the legendary Tsui Hark.

To see a few moments from the Tsui Hark Masterclass and award ceremony watch the video below (or click here to watch on YouTube).