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APSA 2013: rewards much of Europe but no Pacific

Films listing Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, the Russian Federation and the UK as their countries of origin took away awards from the Brisbane-hosted Asia-Pacific Screen Awards last night.

Omar

Hany Abu-Assad’s Omar, winner of the Best Feature award at the 2013 APSAs

Perhaps, in times when co-productions are not so much encouraged as increasingly necessary for financial reasons, one should – in the pan-regional spirit of the APSAs – celebrate that people from many different countries can come together to find ways of making films. But, when a film that lists only European states as its countries of origin should be considered, let alone win (as doco The Act of Killing did last night), it does rather muddy the waters of the event`s identity.

It`s not the first time such confusion has arisen. In 2010, Samuel Moaz`s Levanon/Lebanon won two prizes at APSA as an Asia-Pacific film, then two days later won two more prizes – at the European Film Awards.

Hailing from the eastern end of the somewhat flexible Asia-Pacific region, neither of NZ`s two nominees picked up awards at this year`s ceremony. Mark Albiston & Louis Sutherland`s Shopping was unable to carry its seven-time MOA success across the ditch, losing out to Korea`s Juvenile Offender in the Best Kids` Feature category. Perhaps predictably, in the Best Actress category, White Lies` Whirimako Black lost out to to Zhang Ziyi`s turn in Wong Kar-Wai`s The Grandmaster.

Australian features Mystery Road, Tracks and The Turning had similar success (ie none) in the Best Actor, Cinematography and Best Film categories respectively.

Of perhaps more concern for organisers going forward than who won what (or exactly which side of some often arbitrary lines in the sand they hail from) was the absence of the sort of regional star power which makes sponsorship and support that much easier to retain or attract for future editions.

The purely Singaporean Ilo Ilo continued its international winning streak, picking up Best Director for Anthony Chen. He appeared to be the only individual award winner in attendance at the event. Best Actor, Actress, Screenplay, Cinematography gongs, along with Special Mention and Jury awards were all collected by other attendees.

Despite the lack of awards success, Australia and NZ both picked up grants from APSA`s Academy.

Ainsley Gardiner`s Canoe received one of four US$25,000 grants from the Academy Film Fund. Australia`s Kath Shelper received one of two US$20,000 script development grants from the APSA Children`s Film Fund for The Wonderful Adventures of Topsy Brown & Other Terrible Tales.

The APSA winners were:

BEST FEATURE FILM
Omar, Palestine

BEST CHILDREN’S FEATURE FILM
Juvenile Offender, Republic of Korea

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE FILM
The Act of Killing, Denmark, Norway, United Kingdom

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
Koo! Kin-Dza-Dza, Russian Federation

ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING
Anthony Chen, Ilo Ilo, Singapore

SPECIAL MENTIONS IN DIRECTING
Emir Baigazin, Harmony Lessons, Kazakhstan, Germany, France

BEST SCREENPLAY
Ritesh Batra, The Lunchbox, India, France, Germany

ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY
Lu Yue for Back to 1942, People’s Republic of China

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR
Lee Byung-hun, Masquerade, Republic of Korea

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS
Zhang Ziyi, The Grandmaster, Hong Kong

JURY GRAND PRIZE
Television, Bangladesh
Ritesh Batra for The Lunchbox

UNESCO AWARD
The Painting Pool, Islamic Republic of Iran

FIAPF Award
LEE Chun-yeon, Cine2000, South Korea

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