LIFE OF LEE:The award from the Visual Effects Society was the latest addition to the critical acclaim for ‘Life of Pi,’ which has grossed US$308 million since its release.
Oscar-winning Taiwanese filmmaker Ang Lee (李安) received a Visionary Award from the Visual Effects Society (VES) in California on Saturday for his shipwreck epic Life of Pi.
The US-based director “pushed the envelope of creation of visual effects for telling a story. In our generation, only Star Wars did that,” said Jeffrey Okun, chairman of the VES awards committee.
“All the other films in between were like: ‘Here’s a new toy, what can we do with it?’ I don’t think you’ve seen a blend of story and craft as rich as this,” Variety magazine quoted him as saying.
“Ang Lee has used the art of visual effects to masterful effect in telling stories like Life of Pi that could not have otherwise been so powerfully brought to life,” Okun said, according to a separate story on Fxguide, a Web site dedicated to visual effects and post-production information.
“With a body of work that encompasses films as distinguished and artful as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Sense and Sensibility and Brokeback Mountain, Lee’s imagery has brought stunning and compelling images to the world of cinema — making us proud to award him our annual Visionary Award,” Okun said.
The award honors individuals for uniquely and consistently using the art and science of visual effects to spark imagination and inspire future discoveries through artistry and groundbreaking invention. Lee accepted the award at the 11th VES ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
His film, a magical realism adaption of the Canadian novelist Yann Martel’s 2002 Man Booker Prize-winning novel of the same name, explores faith through the tale of a shipwrecked boy adrift on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger.
The VES award was the latest addition to the considerable critical acclaim Life of Pi has already received.
Last month, the movie was named as one of the top 10 films of the year by the American Film Institute and has been nominated for many awards, including the Golden Globes’ best motion picture, best director and best score.
The film has also been a box office success since its release in November last year.
As of Friday, its worldwide earnings had reached US$308 million, including US$90 million in North America and US$20 million in the UK, according to Box Office Mojo.
Ang Lee says 'Life of Pi' more than art house film. Oscar-winning director Ang Lee said he worked hard during the four of shooting on "Life of Pi" to give the $100 million art house film appeal for general audiences.
The movie based on Yann Martel's imaginative book stars Indian Suraj Sharma, who plays a boy who drifts on the open sea with a Bengal tiger and a hyena after a ship carrying the rest of his family sinks.
"As an art house film, you can explore the philosophical issues," Lee said at a news conference Wednesday. "But for a popular film, we also need to make the audience feel touched, and that was the difficult part."
Lee said initial reaction to the film had been positive, leaving him to conclude that his "risky experiment" would be a success.
A major problem in the filming, Lee said, was coping with animals on a roiling sea — a problem Lee solved by filming in 3D.
"As a new technology, 3D gives the film additional appeal," he said.
Much of the film was shot in Taiwan, Lee's home. He said that one of the key settings — a large water tank built at a studio in the central city of Taichung — allowed the 150-strong foreign crew to use its imagination freely and not be restrained by traditional Hollywood production values. "I was relieved that they enjoyed their work in Taiwan. ... We couldn't have made the film if it were not here because of all the help we received," Lee said.