KUCHING: More than 50 top Asian celebrities attended the 23rd Asian Television Awards (ATA) gala dinner at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) last night. Among them were Cheng Rexen, Maneerat Kum-Uan, Hu Gua, Ah Xiang and Louis Scott.
The night also featured an impressive line-up of top Asian performing acts such as SF9, Alvin Chong, Gary Valenciano, Kiana Valenciano and Winnie K.
Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah and his wife Datin Zuraini Abdul Jabbar arrived at BCCK before 8pm for the welcoming dinner.
The event marked the city’s maiden hosting of the ATA, which is said to be gathering over 2,000 international visitors at the prestigious award show today.
The ATA 2019, to be telecast live tonight and expected to be viewed by 500 million people across the globe, will present awards across 14 categories including ‘Best Documentary Programme’, ‘Best New Programme’, ‘Best Talk Show’, ‘Best Children’s Programme’, ‘Best Sports Programme’, ‘Best Cinematography’ and ‘Best Original Screenplay’.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg is expected to officiate at the ceremony.
Addressing the celebrities and guests, Abdul Karim said it was timely for Sarawak to host this year’s ATA given that it had just launched its ‘Visit Sarawak Campaign (VSC) 2019’.
According to him, the VSC is the initiative undertaken by the Sarawak government, his ministry as well as Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) with the primary objective of pushing local tourism industry to greater heights.
Abdul Karim believed that the ATA would remain relevant to those in the region, since it could serve to provide the common avenue for talented producers coming from Asia.
As such, he said it was vital for Sarawak to support the awards because it could showcase the diverse selection of coveted programmes ‘from Asia and beyond’.
“The awards are also good testimonies on the promising future of Asian programming standards and potential, while encouraging television producers from Asia to excel further in order to enter the global stage.”
According to Abdul Karim, there is a growing interest in original stories based in Asia and also those made by Asian producers, in reflection of the increasing number of audience who are seeking something fresh and exciting.
“If I may say this – even Malaysian film directors such as James Wan is now a popular figure in Hollywood because of the recent movie ‘Aquaman’, which was directed by him.
“Hence, there is a huge potential for Asian television producers to become well-known on the international scene and I believe that the ATA can further motivate them to become more competitive, creative and innovative,” he added.
Launched in 1996, ATA is the most significant and celebrated event for the television industry in Asia, recognising excellence in programming, production and performance coming from this region.