Arts | Legendary kung fu choreographer receives NYC award

Yuen Woo-ping, a renowned martial arts choreographer and film director from Hong Kong, was honored in New York City this week for his extraordinary contributions to the film genre during his decades in the industry.

Yuen, 74, was awarded the “Star Asia Lifetime Achievement Award” at the ongoing 18th New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF) held at the Lincoln Center.

Upon receiving the award, Yuen said that throughout his career he had discovered many talented individuals, such as Jackie Chan, Donnie Yen and Wu Jing, and witnessed their paths to stardom.

“I hope that new faces will continue to emerge in the kung fu film genre, passing on kung fu culture to future generations,” said the master.

Born in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, Yuen began learning martial arts during his childhood from his father, Yuen Siu-tien, the first kung fu choreographer in Hong Kong and a prominent actor.

During a press conference held on Monday afternoon, Yuen said it was his father who had influenced him the most during his 50-year-plus career.

Under his father’s guidance, Yuen developed a real passion for kung fu which has kept him devoted to his job. “Passion is the key to success,” said Yuen. “You can never carry on with something for decades if you are not interested in it.”

From Hong Kong to Hollywood, Yuen has won numerous awards for his works, such as “Iron Monkey,” “The Matrix,” “Kill Bill,” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” many of which are remembered as classic kung fu and action movies.

Although filmmaking technology has made tremendous progress, Yuen said he will keep making “authentic” kung fu films in which actors and actresses stage real fights instead of using computer-generated imagery.

Yuen also brought his new directorial work to the film festival, “Master Z: The Ip Man Legacy,” as one of 10 films in “The Hong Kong Panorama,” a traditional NYAFF program supported by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in New York.

NYAFF is an annual flagship event of the New York Asian Film Foundation Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to the exhibition and appreciation of Asian film culture. The 18th NYAFF runs from June 28 to July 14 and will present over 30 films from various countries and regions in Asia. DB/Xinhua

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