Asian Film Awards to honour director Zhang Yimou

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Hong Kong's Asian Film Awards is honouring mainland Chinese director Zhang Yimou with a prize for his "outstanding contribution to Asian cinema", the organisers said Thursday.

Zhang, 58, counts Raise the Red Lantern and the recently-released A Simple Noodle Story - loosely based on 1980s thriller Blood Simple by Oscar-winning American brothers Joel and Ethan Coen - among his work.

The internationally-acclaimed filmmaker directed the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games last year.

"Zhang is one of the most distinguished figures in the Chinese film industry, a true and unique talent, and we are proud to further acknowledge his contribution," Shaw Soo Wei, executive director of organiser the Hong Kong Film Festival Society, said in a statement.

The awards ceremony is being held on March 22, 2010.

The Venice Film Festival announced this week that it will award action movie director John Woo with its Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement.

Woo, 53, was raised in Hong Kong, where he made his name as a director before moving to Hollywood and directing a number of action hits, including "Face/Off" with John Travolta, and "Mission: Impossible 2" with Tom Cruise.