Gala awards night hails excellence in Internet streaming shows
By Rachel Lu
Stars graced the red carpet of the Internet Summit Gala Night which celebrated the past year’s achievements in creative works for online streaming services at the 25th Shanghai International Film and TV Festival.
Every feature of the event, from presentation to content, strived to demonstrate a technology-first attitude and hailed the work of companies such as Tencent, iQiyi and Youku. Awards were given in three categories: internet variety shows, internet movies, and internet series.
The event, hosted by Lin Hai, was held at Shanghai International Sourcing Center.
The audience was told of the skyrocketing rise in internet variety shows over the past year, an increase of 14.1% more programs compared to 2017, and 61 billion RMB in investment. This boom forced variety producers to compete for creativity and novelty in an uphill battle for success.
The challenges led to the development of more niche productions such as “This is Dunks,” “My Manager and I,” and “New Chinese Rap,” all of which were nominated as Top 10 best online variety shows.
The year’s most creative team award went to Shine Entertainment, represented by CEO and founder Yi Hua. The individual performance award was won by Yang Chaoyue who began her career as a singer and actress on variety show “Create 101” and became a member of Rocket Girls 101.
There were 1526 productions debuted in the internet movie category in 2018, with a steep increase in the number of original works.
“The internet has provided more possibilities to complement creative works and introduced many new talents who I hope to cooperate with one day,” said actress Ada Liu in her introduction of nominations for best internet movie.
Hai Fenxing and Ma Xiaogang won best playwright and best director awards, respectively, for an internet movie for the series “The Guilt.” They both expressed hope that internet works could also be presented on the bigger screen. Best actor award was won by Zhang Chao for his performance in “Exclusive Memory.” The best actress gong was shared by Li Tingting for “Exclusive Memory” and Zhu Yanmanzi for her exquisite performance in “The Guilt.”
Quality over quantity was the theme for internet series last year. They have built their reputations thanks to an extensive audience base using vast amounts of data. Famous director, playwright, and producer Bai Yicong was invited to introduce the category.
“The biggest challenge facing internet series is the mystery of the eventual outcome. We never know if it will be a hit so we must pay close attention to every detail,” Bai said.
The best playwright award for an internet series was won by the writers of “Eastern Wall Street” and Fei Zhenxiang was voted as best director. The year’s best actress was Qi Wei for her commanding portrayal of resilience in “Women in Beijing.” For the second year running, Pan Yueming took home best actor award for his work in “The Wrath of Time.” He was also involved in many other aspects of the production.
This year’s gala highlighted the pervasiveness of technology in entertainment and the endless possibilities it will offer the industry in the near future. As technology progresses, entertainment is looking towards a 5G future, where internet works become the mainstream and are accessible on every device.
After an introduction of the film “@ All,” actor Wei Wei praised internet entertainment and perfectly summed up the spirit of the event: “If you’re not involved in internet cinematography, then you are ‘out’.”
Experts channel the qualities of zeitgeist in TV series themes
By Rachel Lu
The challenges of staying true to the essences of storytelling in an era of media diversity and creating classical works with lasting impact were discussed yesterday during a forum of the 25th Shanghai International TV Festival.
Host Liang Zhi managed the Q & A event in which five expert guests addressed the theme “The Recipe of a Series: Reality Driven, Zeitgeist Defined” at Shanghai Exhibition Center.
Award-winning playwright Zhao Dongling, most recently known for “Red Sorghum,” proposed zeitgeist as an attitude to art that included historical evidence to convey the spirit of the times. Experienced in adapting and creating literary masterpieces, Zhao spoke of her work “In Law We Believe,” a personal reflection on patriotism she said was a result of the distinct characters she penned.
Actor Wang Jinsong, a player in both historical and contemporary productions, said TV series should take into consideration the value with which they were regarded by audiences and provide a positive worldview in addition to entertainment. He emphasized the importance of actors taking the initiative to individualize their characters, a method which could only be done through thorough preparation rooted in research and observation.
Director Liu Jiacheng spoke of his hope for television to mirror reality and time so that it eventually resonated with ordinary people. Even in the entertainment industry, Liu said, he tried to lead a simple life while keeping up with current trends. He was confident that by adopting this approach the characters of his works were closer to real life and could be role models. It was the key to involving the audience, he said.
Producer and director Hou Hongliang said television should stem from real life and strive to be genuine. The quality of productions should be at the forefront of the public’s artistic taste and replicating older work should be avoided. He adamantly denounced experientialism in entertainment.
Director Fu Dongyu redefined zeitgeist as criticizing reality with kindness and a willingness to improve for a better future. Fu said the essence of portraying vivid characters was to pose contrasts within the context and capture the spirit of the actors in relation to the storytelling. He believed optimism was his professional responsibility and he is a fan of a compassionate attitude.
The event provided expert insight into the many facets of creating zeitgeist television series. The guests agreed that an optimistic reflection inspired by everyday life lead to success in portraying reality in creative works.