Before production began on 20th Century Fox's "Life of Pi," director Ang Lee led his cast and crew through a Chinese ritual that has become a tradition marking the first day of each of his film shoots.
Arrayed on a table near a soundstage in Taichung, Taiwan, were offerings such as fruit, cakes, tea and flowers.
Lee lit incense and said prayers directed toward each of the four cardinal directions. Known as a "big luck" ceremony, it ended with the Oscar-winning director switching on a movie camera and striking a gong. Then the group ate the offerings presented on the table with the sweet scent of incense hanging in the air.
"I really treasure that moment," said Lee, recalling the January 2010 ceremony for "Pi," the 3-D epic that is nominated for 11 Academy Awards and has become a surprise box office success around the world, generating more than $570 million in ticket sales. "You can really feel it. It's a great way to gather everyone."
Lee, who won an Oscar for 2005's "Brokeback Mountain," said that he has always held the ceremony to mark the beginning of a new film — even early on in his career when he was unsure of how casts and crews would receive it.