Magnolia Awards celebrate the best in television during Shanghai TV Festival

The Magnolia Awards have been the biggest highlight of the Shanghai TV Festival over the past two decades as some of the best TV shows from around the world are honored for their achievements. 


David Stephan, a Canadian animation director known for "Spider-Man" and "The Lion King," is one of the judges for this year's Magnolia Awards.  

The director said he sees a bright future for China's animation industry, adding that a big improvement in animation will be seen in the near future with the help of rapidly-improving computer technology.  

The director said: "You've definitely mastered the technology of animation and I think the next step is stories and from your culture and I think we need those stories personally, the variety of stories, imagination, fantasy, historical..." 

He also expected that people could be watching holograms in 10 years. "We want to create animated characters and bring them alive to tell that story."

Sabine Bubeck-Paaz, a documentary producer from German public TV broadcaster ZDF, admitted that finding a creative voice for each topic is the biggest challenge a documentary filmmaker deals with, along with helping young, new talents grow into the market.  

"We are immersed in pictures and in artificially-created pictures. Our way of watching is changing," he said.  

He believed they should take care to maintain authenticity and truthfulness amid the progression of AI.  

"We shouldn't change what is in discussion with AI to create images, and I think this is not documentary. We have to stay close to the truth and we have to stay authentic in our images," he said.

The 28th Shanghai Television Festival covers content from a span of two years due to the pandemic last year. This has resulted in more intense competition for the Magnolia Awards with an increase in both the quality and quantity of shows.  

Nearly 1,900 TV shows from 49 countries and regions across five continents were submitted for this year's awards.  

A total of 22 Chinese TV dramas were among the nominees for the Best TV Dramas Award, more than twice as many as in previous years.  These include "The Knockout," "A Lifelong Journey," and "Three-Body."

Nominees for best foreign TV dramas include season six of "Better Call Saul" from the U.S., and "Rebooting" from Japan.  

The winners will be announced at a ceremony on Friday evening. 

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