Athena Chu's big Emmy moment

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 21 November, 2011, 12:00am


Hong Kong will find out tomorrow whether local actress Athena Chu Yan will bring the city an international film award with her role in an RTHK TV episode as a wheelchair-bound designer.

The 40-year-old actress last month became the first Chinese actress to be nominated for an International Emmy award, for best actress in an international production, RTHK's A Little Bit Wrong is Right-A Wall-less World.

Chu's character is based on a real-life disabled person. In the story, she is faced with an ultimatum from her boyfriend to either give up the child she is carrying or give up her career as a designer. Chu's character chooses to have both, and exercises her right as a disabled person to care for a child as stated in Article 23 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The episode aired on January 10 last year.

Chu is in New York City to attend the awards ceremony. Competing against her are three nominees, from Sweden, Brazil and Britain.

She appeared in one of the series' 10 episodes, each a different story dedicated to highlighting an article of the UN convention. The series is a collaboration between RTHK and the Labour Welfare Bureau.

Rita Chan Man-yee, executive producer of the series, said: 'It is RTHK's responsibility as a government- and NGO-funded media outlet to serve the public and create programming that sheds light on minorities. You will probably not be able to find an entire drama series about the disabled, ethnic minorities, drug and gambling addicts, and domestic violence on the commercial channels, because they would not be able to get advertisers behind it.'

Chan, who has worked for RTHK for more than two decades, said celebrity actors and actresses were often used to draw viewers to such productions. But sometimes celebrities are deliberately not used.

Chan was executive producer of the drama series The Moment - a collaboration with the Social Welfare Department - on domestic violence that aired in September and October.

'The use of ordinary people made it seem to audiences like it could be happening to you or the family next door,' she said.