TheFifth Annual Meihodo International Youth Visual Media Festival selected “Warrior,” by Kyrgyzstan filmmaker Amanbek Azhymat as the Grand Prize Award winner, taking home $10,000, as well as a custom NFT trophy. During a hybrid ceremony that was held in Fukuoka, Japan on April 28 and later streamed on YouTube on April 30, Azhymat and all other participating finalists were feted by Michelle Yeoh, Academy Award-winning star of “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”
“I want to congratulate all the winners of the Fifth Meihodo International Youth Visual Media Festival,” said Yeoh. “As you grow and learn as filmmakers, focus on the stories and issues that are meaningful for you. Stay true to your own voice and never let go of your passion. I wish you all great success in your future projects.”
Designed for young and upcoming filmmakers, the Meihodo Festival is one of the largest short film festivals in the world, and was the first global film festival to award winners with NFTs and cryptocurrency. The 2023 competition received a record 3,533 submissions from 122 countries and regions.
“Warrior” follows a soldier who awakens in another world after taking a bullet in battle. There, he meets warriors and soldiers from various eras throughout history who begin to argue with each other about one thing: whose war is more sacred.
In addition to the Meihodo Grand Prize, the film was also awarded the Gold Award in the Narrative Films category, for which Azhymat will be receiving an additional $5,000 award.
“Instead of resolving their differences without war, humanity has spent billions of dollars inventing weapons of mass destruction, and the people around the world whose lives have been claimed by war was the impetus for our film,” said Azhymat. “With ‘Warrior,’ I wanted to say that if we live without war, and if we don’t spend our money on weaponry, the world will change, and hunger and poverty will disappear. Peace and tranquility will finally take their place in the hearts of people.”
The festival also presented a Career Achievement Award to acclaimed martial arts director Andy Cheng, whose work, which has represented an evolution in cinematic martial arts, includes collaborating with Yeoh on “Shang Chi,” as well as “Rush Hour 2” with Jackie Chan, “The Scorpion King” with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and the new film “Knights of the Zodiac,” starring Mackenyu, the next great martial arts star and son of the legendary Sonny Chiba.
“Cheng, who is also a recipient of the Asian World Film Festival’s Bruce Lee Award, has been the mastermind behind martial arts movies starring Michelle Yeoh and Jackie Chan,” said James Zhang, Vice Chairman of the Meihodo International Youth Visual Media Festival. “Meihodo is an Asia-originated festival with historic roots in martial arts. In collaboration with Cheng, we’re aiming to promote martial arts to the next level on world stages, by demonstrating innovation and excellence in Asian traditions and an ability to bridge eastern and western cultures.”
Additional guests included Maggie Q, known for her roles in “Mission Impossible: III” and the CW series “Nikita”; Gabriella Cristiani, a veteran film editor and Oscar winner for 1987’s “The Last Emperor”; and Stephen Castor, Co-CEO of It’s Just Us Productions and Rocket Science Motion Capture Studios, who’s known for his work on the “Spider-Man” franchise. Returning guests included Special Advisor Tan Dun, Oscar-winning composer for “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” and Honorary Chairwoman Yue-Sai Kan, an Emmy-winning television producer who’s been called “the most famous woman of China.”
In addition to the Grand Prize, the festival awarded Gold Prizes – which included $5,000 and an NFT certificate – to “Liturgy of Anti-Tank Obstacles” from Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk of the United States (in the Documentary category), “Haśka” from Ola Hulbój of Poland (in the Music-Themed Video category) and again, “Warrior,” from Amanbek Azhymat of Kyrgyzstan (in the Narrative Film category).
“The power of film transcends borders and cultures, and Meihodo is proud to provide a platform to trailblazing young filmmakers from around the world,” said Qing Su, Chairman of the Meihodo International Youth Visual Media Festival. “We’re thrilled and humbled at the record number of submissions – both in terms of total numbers and countries represented – and look forward to seeing the outstanding work these creative minds will continue to produce.”
All the festival’s top award winners are currently available to view onMeihodo’s website.
The complete list of winners of the Fifth Annual Meihodo International Youth Visual Media Festival is below. Winners of the Silver Prizes received $3,000 each and an NFT certificate, and winners of the Bronze Prizes received $1,000 each and an NFT certificate.