Asian Film Festival 1953 to today
Having participated in international film festivals, Sir Run Run Shaw was a firm believer in the importance of film festivals in showcasing the best a region had to offer. He also believed that film festivals provided good opportunity for those in the industry to renew fraternal ties. When Mr Masaichi Nagata, President of Daiei, Japan, mooted the idea of forming a federation of Motion Picture Producers in Asia to hold annual film festivals in Asia, Sir Run Run was one of his closest supporters.
As a result, the South East Asian Film Producers Federation was inaugurated in Manila in 1953, with Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaya, Philippines and Thailand as members.
The first Asian Film Festival was held in Tokyo on May 1954. It attracted 11 feature films and 10 non-dramatic films. The Golden Award was won by a Japanese film, Konjiki Yasha, and the Silver Award by a Thai film, Sante Venus.
Sir Run Run Shaw and Tan Sri Runme Shaw at the seventh Asian Film Festival 1960
Cathay's Dato Loke Wan Toh, You Min and Sir Run Run Shaw
For over two decades, the Shaw studios bagged almost every category of award from Best Picture to those for outstanding technical achievements. Wherever the event was held, the star studded Shaw contingent would always attract the most attention.
Thousands would line the streets to see their favourite Shaw stars as they disembarked at the airport and went about the city.
Over the week long festival, hundreds of interviews would be conducted by the scores of press corps from all over the world.
In its production heyday, Shaw films from both Singapore and Hong Kong dominated the festival, winning scores of awards for acting and production value. The closest rivalry to Shaw came from the MP & GI Productions of Cathay's Yung Hwa studio in Hong Kong.
The Federation was renamed Asian Film Producers' Federation in 1957 when membership was enlarged to include South Korea. From 1982, the federation changed its constitution and name to include the Pacific. Today, The Federation of Motion Picture Producers in Asia Pacific (FPA) is the organising body for the Asia-Pacific Film Festival. Each year, the Board of Directors
selects a different member as the festival's host city. Participating member cities are Bangkok, Bombay, Hanoi, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Kuwait, Manila, Moscow, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney, Taipei, Tashkent, Tbilissi, Tehran, Tokyo and Wellington. The most recent one, the 47th Asia Pacific Film Festival, was held in Seoul on Oct 1-4, 2000.
(From Left) Ms Chang Chong Wen, Betty Loh Tih, Lam Fung, Pearl Au Kar Wai and Ting Ling at the 6th Asian Film Festival 1959
(From Left) Ivy Ling Po, Fang Yin, Li Ching, Carrie Ku Mei at 11th Asian Film Festival 1964
But in terms of Chinese film production, even 'quality' films coming out of China, Hongkong and Taiwan could not compete against the slick products from America, Britain, Europe and even Japan.
Sir Run Run Shaw and Elizabeth Taylor, 1958
Alfred Hitchcock and Sir Run Run Shaw, 1963