Xiamen director wins big in Warsaw
Chinese filmmaker Gao Zehao poses for a photo after his film To Kill a Watermelon wins the Grand Prix at the 33rd Warsaw International Film Festival on Oct 22. [Photo/Sina Weibo account of Gao Zehao]
Gao Zehao, a Chinese director born in Xiamen, Fujian province, has made a big splash in the international film industry, with his film To Kill a Watermelon winning the Grand Prix at the 33rd Warsaw International Film Festival in the Polish capital on Oct 22.
It is the second time that a Chinese film has been awarded the Grand Prix in Warsaw. Xin Yukun's debut feature The Coffin in the Mountain, also known as Deep in the Heart, picked up the honor in 2014.
Based on a short story of the same name by Dong Libo, To Kill a Watermelon centers on Chen Cao (played by Dong Yong), a farmer who earns a living selling watermelons at a roadside stall next to his modest allotment. In his director's notes, Gao describes the film as "a story about the reawakening of a rebellious consciousness among people in the lowest rung of society".
After hearing the news that he had won the prestigious award, Gao, who took up film-making as a career in 2005 at the age of 32, wrote on WeChat Moments, the popular Chinese social network: "For me, film is like a rare beauty. She had never been aware of my major crush on her until she glanced back at me on an enchanting autumn night in Warsaw. At that moment, I was moved to tears and realized that all my suffering and persistence had been worthwhile."
The film has gained a screening license from China's film watchdog, and is scheduled for release during the 2018 Beijing International Film Festival in April, according to Gao.
Gao also revealed that he is working on a new film adapted from the short story King's Blood written by Xu Ping, who also goes by the pseudonym Xuyigua.