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Breaking with the antiquated rituals of the Oscars, the Asia Pacific Screen Awards produced a presentation that generated interest in the nominated films – many of which have not had much exposure outside their home countries – and put the filmmakers and their work the focus, while also delivering glamour and buzz, reports Andrew L. Urban from the Gold Coast.

Double in size whichever you measure it since last year’s inaugural presentation, this year’s APSA event catered for almost 700 guests from around Asia (from the Middle east to China) to celebrate some 170 films entered. As APSA Patron Jack Thompson put it, “We’ve become a global community; these awards will make an enormous difference in boosting recognition for films from the region.

The region actually produces half the world’s total film output and represents a market bigger in population terms than the one served by Hollywood and the western movie industries.

Relocating to larger premises at the Gold Coast Convention Centre and with Peter Faiman consulting, the event managed to replicate the intimate mood of the 2008 awards while expanding its welcome mat. CNN International, an inaugural partner, continues to participate as the APSA broadcaster, delivering the awards program to a massive Asian audience.

But the awards presentation, complete with red carpet and other media opportunities, are primarily a platform for the nominees, who were seated in a semi circle on stage, facing the audience. Between them on the stage, three large light rings formed spaces for the presentations. The gorgeous award trophies by Joanna Bone stood on a platform to one side before being handed to the winners.


There were two musical performances, each superb: The Tawadros brothers played a combo of ancient 12 string guitar and tambourine in a captivating percussive and melodic performance, and Motoyuki Niwa and his team performed three spectacular pieces on the Japanese taiko drums.

APSA Chairman Des Power reminded the audience of the many regions that still suffer under oppressive regimes where cinema is banned, and read some emails he received in support of APSA’s ideals from filmmakers in those countries, encouraging APSA to persevere.

Jury President Bruce Beresford said how hard it was to select winners from a field of such marvellous films, and Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said her Government was proud to support such an extraordinary event. And the after party was just as well organised, with stylish finger foods and easy access to food and drink for all.

Thirty two (32) films representing 17 countries were finalists in the Awards, with winners coming from Kazakhstan, Israel, Republic of Korea, Australia, Turkey, Islamic Republic of Iran, People’s Republic of China and India received Asia Pacific Screen Awards.

Asia Pacific Screen Awards Chairman Des Power thanked Bruce Beresford and his Jury colleagues, renowned Indian Director and Actress Aparna Sen, US Producer Richard Luke Rothschild (whose production credits include Tender Mercies and The Truman Show), Chinese Director and Professor of the Beijing Film Academy Zheng Dongtian, and Hanna Lee, Producer of the 2007 APSA Best Feature Film, the internationally-acclaimed Miryang (Secret Sunshine), from the Republic of Korea.

"The Asia-Pacific region is the emerging giant of cinema"

Power said: “The Asia-Pacific region is the emerging giant of cinema. The quality and depth of story-telling amazed not only our jury this year but is certain to attract more audience at the global level. There is a growing fascination and respect for films from this diverse region. It is a tribute to the filmmakers that they now have a globally recognised award and the broadcast reach of CNN International to promote their work.”

The Asia Pacific Screen Awards is an international cultural initiative of the Queensland Government, Australia.


The Best Feature Film award
TULPAN (Kazakhstan/Russian Federation/ Switzerland/Poland/Germany).

The Award was accepted by Producer, Karl Baumgartner. Karl Baumgartner shares the Award with fellow Producers Valerie Fischer, Gulnara Sarsenova, Sergey Selyanov, Henryk Romanowski, Sergey Melkumov, Bulat Galimgereyev, Elena Yatsura, Thanassis Karathanos and Raimond Goebel.

Best Animated Feature Film

Producer Yael Nahlieli accepted the Award. Yael Nahlieli shares the Award with fellow producers Ari Folman, Serge Lalou, Gerhard Meixner and Roman Paul.

Best Documentary Feature Film
GGEUTNAJI ANHMEUN JEON JAENG (63 YEARS ON, Republic of Korea). The Award was accepted by Producer/Director Kim Dong-won, who shares the Award with Producer Lee SeungGu.

Best Children’s Feature Film

The Award was accepted by Producer Tristram Miall and Director/Writer/Co-Producer Elissa Down. They share the Award with Co-Producers Sally Ayre-Smith, Jimmy The Exploder and Mark Turnbull.

Achievement in Directing was awarded to Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan for UC MAYMUN (THREE MONKEYS, Turkey/France/Italy).

The Best Screenplay Award
Suha Arraf for ETZ HALIMON (LEMON TREE, Israel/France/Germany). She shares the Award with Writer Eran Riklis, who also directed the film.

The Achievement in Cinematography

Best Performance by an Actress Award
Israeli actress Hiam Abbass
for her performance in ETZ HALIMON (LEMON TREE, Israel/France/Germany).

Best Performance by an Actor
Iranian actor Reza Naji
for his performance in Majid Majidi’s AVAZE GONJESHK-HA (THE SONG OF SPARROWS, Islamic Republic of Iran).

Four additional major Awards were announced for outstanding achievement.

FIAPF Award for outstanding achievement in film in the Asia-Pacific Region
Yash Chopra, founder of Yashraj Films and a legend of the Indian film industry

The Award is determined by FIAPF - International Federation of Film Producers Associations, and was announced by Andrés Vincente Gomez, President of FIAPF, who travelled from Madrid to be at the ceremony.

The UNESCO Award for outstanding contribution to the promotion and preservation of cultural diversity through film
Iranian documentary feature film TINAR (Islamic Republic of Iran), produced and directed by Mahdi Moniri.

The Award was decided by the International Jury The Jury noted that the film was a rich evocation of rural life in the mountainous regions of Iran.

The Jury Grand Prize (two awards, presented at the discretion of the Jury).
HONGSE KANGBAIYIN (THE RED AWN, People’s Republic of China); Directed by Cai Shangjun;

THE PRISONER (India), Produced and Directed by Pryas Gupta and starring Best Actor nominee Rajat Kapoor.

Published November 11, 2008

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Tulpan, Best Feature Film


Bruce Beresford, President 2008 APSA International Jury

Waltz With Bashir, Best Animated Feature Film

The Black Balloon, Best Children’s Feature Film

Three Monkeys, Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan - Achievement in Directing

The Lemon Tree, The Best Screenplay Award and Best Performance by an Actress - Hiam Abbass (Israel)

The Red Awn, Joint Jury Grand Prize

The Prisoner, Joint Jury Grand Prize

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