By Mary Milliken BEVERLY HILLS, California (Reuters) - From the inventors of the pneumatic car flipper to the software developers who replaced clay modeling with digital sculpture, dozens of behind-the-scenes cinematic innovators turned out on Saturday to receive recognition from the film industry. Two weeks before the Oscars, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences handed out its Scientific and Technical Achievement Awards for the visual effects behind groundbreaking films such as "Avatar", "Life of Pi" and "Gravity". While the Academy Awards on March 2 will reward films released in 2013, the yearly scientific and technical awards honor contributions to filmmaking for innovations that developed over years and even decades.
By Michael Roddy and Alexandra Hudson BERLIN (Reuters) - Asian films were big winners at the Berlin International Film Festival on Saturday, led by gritty Chinese thriller "Bai Ri Yan Huo" (Black Coal, Thin Ice) about an overweight detective pursuing a serial killer which took the top Golden Bear prize. "Chinese films are accepted more and more," Diao Yinan, director of the winning film, told reporters. "It seems every time we take them abroad, there is a greater enthusiasm for Chinese cinema. We hadn't expected that, but film is global nowadays." Asked about censorship in China, Diao said: "Of course there is censorship, I believe that exists around the whole world, doesn't it?
China's "Black Coal, Thin Ice" by Diao Yinan about a washed up ex-cop investigating a series of grisly murders won the Berlin film festival's Golden Bear top prize Saturday. The classic film noir, whose Chinese title is Bai Ri Yan Huo, also captured the Silver Bear best actor award for its star Liao Fan. The picture is set in the late 1990s in northern China and its murder mystery plot is told through a set of enigmatic flashbacks. Liao put on weight to play the alcoholic suspended police officer who falls hard for a mysterious murder suspect (Gwei Lun Mei).
By Michael Roddy BERLIN (Reuters) - Director and producer Martin Scorsese says he hopes his documentary to mark the 50th anniversary of the New York Review of Books will point young people in the right direction for getting reliable information in an age of data overload. Scorsese and co-director David Tedeschi screened what they said was a nearly finished version of the as-yet-untitled documentary on Friday at the Berlin international film festival. Best known for box-office hits like "Raging Bull" and "The Wolf of Wall Street", Scorsese said he had been a faithful reader of the review. Since it was launched during the 1963 New York newspaper strike, the influential publication has published authors and critics ranging from Norman Mailer, Gore Vidal and Joan Didion to Ian Buruma and Zoe Heller.
Richard Linklater's coming-of-age tale "Boyhood" seemed the odds-on favourite to capture the Golden Bear top prize at the Berlin film festival Saturday, but dramas from Northern Ireland and Germany were hot on its heels. Critics and audiences swooned over Linklater's latest picture, a moving, leisurely paced story made over a 12-year period with the same actors including Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette and the director's own daughter Lorelei. If it doesn't capture the gold among the 20 international contenders, commentators said a Silver Bear award for best actor for its star, Ellar Coltrane, or a best director gong for Linklater could be on the cards. "It is 164 minutes short and, mildly put, fantastic," Berlin's daily Der Tagesspiegel wrote Friday, joining a chorus of praise for "Boyhood" in a year with only a handful of standout pictures.