Human Interest

Star ecstatic at Emmy nomination

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 October, 2011, 12:00am

A joint television production by RTHK and the Social Welfare Department has won a nomination for television's version of the Oscars.

Athena Chu Yan has been put forward for best actress in a category of the 39th International Emmy Awards for her role as a wheelchair-bound girl in the television series A Wall-less World.

'I am so happy, I feel like I am dreaming,' said Chu, who was notified by a call from her agent in the middle of the night. 'I've been sleeping late from working so I actually thought I was dreaming.'

In the show, Chu makes the difficult choice of having a child while still keeping her career as a designer.

The award is for television productions aired initially outside the United States. Winners will be announced on November 21 at an awards ceremony in New York.

Chu said she would do her best to attend. 'I wanted to ... help show the strength and endurance of the disabled, and so with this intention - the nomination is the greatest gift.'

Competing against her are three nominees from the United Kingdom, Sweden and Brazil, one of whom is Julie Walters for her role in British Channel 4 production Mo.

The Hong Kong series has ten episodes depicting the struggles of the disabled, with each episode a different story dedicated to highlighting an article of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Chu's segment, The Third Choice, aired on January 10 last year. Her character injures her spinal cord in a traffic accident that leaves her half-paralysed. But she remains independent and continues to live alone, working as a designer online.

When she realises she is pregnant with her boyfriend's child, he gives her a choice: to give up either the child she is carrying or her career.

Instead, she chooses a third option - to have both a career and a child - thus exercising her right to care for a child as stated in Article 23 of the UN Convention for the disabled.

Chu said during filming, her spine was in constant pain from the body contortions she had to make.

'I met the woman whom this story was based on, and she told me she suffers from pain in her spine every night and can't sleep well,' she said. 'I briefly experienced the pain she suffers every day, and I am so impressed with her astonishing endurance.'

Last year, the episode was recognised in the 46th Chicago International Film Festival with a silver plaque in the human relations and social interest category.