- Associated Press - Monday, April 4, 2016

BEIJING (AP) - Mainland Chinese media ignored a film festival award by “Ten Years,” a collection of five shorts that depict a gloomy future for Beijing-ruled Hong Kong, where freedom of speech has all but disappeared.

“Ten Years” won out over the favorite, crime thriller “Port of Call,” in the best film category at Sunday’s Hong Kong Film Festival. “Port of Call,” which won seven awards, had been nominated in 13 categories and “Ten Years” just one.

Mainland media failed to mention the win by “Ten Years,” with at least one entertainment site omitting it from its list of winners. Online site Tencent, which often broadcasts film ceremonies, put up videos of other winners accepting awards.

Made on a shoestring budget, “Ten Years” became a surprise hit with Hong Kong audiences for its dystopian view of the former British colony in 2025.

In one story, “Dialect,” a taxi driver struggles with a Mandarin proficiency requirement, reflecting nervousness among Cantonese-speaking residents about the influx of mainlanders. Another segment has a woman who sets herself on fire in support of independence for Hong Kong - a once-unthinkable cause now advocated by a number of groups.

“What this award represents is so much bigger than the film. This award means that there’s still hope for Hong Kong,” said executive producer Andrew Choi.

“Port of Call” was still a big winner, sweeping the acting categories and earning best screenplay and cinematography awards. Michael Ning was named best supporting actor and best new performer, claiming two trophies alongside co-stars best actor Aaron Kwok, best actress Jessie Li and best supporting actress Elaine Jin.

Hong Kong director Tsui Hark won best director for his 3D adventure film “The Taking of Tiger Mountain.”

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