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Documentary wins top prize at Taipei festival

TAIPEI--The documentary “Hometown Boy,” about Chinese painter Liu Xiaodong, won the NT$1 million (US$33,369) grand prize at the Taipei Film Festival on Saturday.

The film, directed by Taiwanese Yao Hung-yi, also won in the categories of Best Director and Best Documentary, becoming the biggest winner of the night.

The 72-minute film follows Liu, who had left his hometown at age 17 to study art in Beijing, as he returns to Jincheng in China's Liaoning Province to paint his family and childhood friends. Liu is considered one of China's most important painters.

Through the artist's canvas, the film captures the influence of industrialization on a small Chinese town.

In his acceptance speech, Yao thanked Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien for assisting him throughout his film career.

Shih Nan-sheng, head of the nine-member panel of judges, said the decision to award the grand prize to “Hometown Boy” was unanimous. The film, a co-production by Taiwan and China, also won in the Best Documentary category at Taiwan's Golden Horse Awards last year.

Meanwhile, Taiwanese actor Joseph Chang won Best Actor for his performance in “GF*BF,” a film about the love and friendship among three youngsters who joined the student movement in Taiwan in the 1980s.

The Best Actress title was awarded to Taiwanese-French actress Sandrine Pinna for her role in “Touch of the Light.” Pinna plays a girl who dreams of becoming a dancer and develops a friendship with a blind musician.

“Cha Cha for Twins,” which is about the lives of twins, won the Best Narrative Feature, while “I Wake Up in a Strange Bed,” about an old man encountering his first love, won the Best Short Film.

Best Animation went to “The Present,” a film about a hotel owner's daughter who falls for a married man.

Meanwhile, Bryan Chang won the Best Supporting Actor for his performance in “GF*BF,” and Amber Kuo took the Best Supporting Actress title for her role in the romantic comedy “Love,” which tells the story of eight souls seeking love. Forty Taiwanese feature films, documentaries, short films and animated films competed for the grand prize.

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