In a first for the popular 15 Minutes of Fame independent film festival, a Chinese-language ‘film noir’ has won Best Foreign Film.
‘Nighthawks’ is a 14-minute short, directed by China-based Italian director Gianpaolo Lupori and produced by Shanghai-based Bright Shadow Films.
Based on true stories, Nighthawks dramatically confronts corruption and highlights the impact of the Internet on China sub-culture. “A lot of what you hear and see in this movie is based on fact…real situations, real people, real discussions online” said Lupori. “In fact a lot of the script is lifted verbatim off Chinese social networks.”
The film is the first film shot in the Shanghainese dialect and Mandarin Chinese to win such an accolade.
Bright Shadow Films Managing Director and Nighthawks Producer Charlie Moretti flew from Shanghai to Florida especially to attend the film festival. “I am absolutely thrilled and honored to be here to receive this special prize. The reaction to the film here in Florida has surpassed expectations. This award goes to prove that the theme we address is indeed a universal one and one that can impact anyone with a social network literally overnight.” he said.
The 15 Minutes of Film Independent Film Festival is highly respected in the industry for celebrating independent filmmakers. The festival is now in its fifth year and is organized, funded and judged by Ray and Migdalia Etheridge.
“I’m shocked,” said Nighthawks director Gianpaolo Lupori, when being informed of his win. “This is completely unexpected. It is wonderful to be acknowledged for a piece of work that I have been so passionate about for the past two years.” he added. “I set out to make a short film about a topic that is very close to my heart, and to now be awarded Best Foreign Film has completely blown me away.”
“I’m also very, very pleased for the whole team who all worked so hard to get this movie to where it is today. For an independent Chinese language film to be recognized on the international circuit is a huge credit to the actors, the crew and the production team.” said Lupori.
Nighthawks deals with the very hot topic of rumor mongering on the Internet in China and illustrates how dramatically the internet can change the lives of the man and the woman on the street… in little more than just 14 minutes.
“This is a movie that challenges the audience to think. To be recognized as a best film makes the effort over the past two years all the more worthwhile.” added Lupori.
Festival organizers Ray and Migdalia Etheridge added that Nighthawks “is a very intriguing look at how China’s exploding network of social media is changing public opinion and political views from behind closed doors”, which might also explain why the film won “Audience Favorite” at the Film Festival on November 9th.
Nighthawks was shot entirely on location in Shanghai, China in Mandarin Chinese and Shanghainese (the dialect in Shanghai).
Director Gianpaolo Lupori has lived and worked in China since 2004.
Nighthawks was produced by Shanghai-based film producers Bright Shadow Films.