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APSA takes to Sweet Country

Warwick Thornton’s Sweet Country (pictured, top) took the Feature Film gong at Brisbane’s Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) on Thursday evening. Thornton also won in 2009 with Samson and Delilah. Sweet Country features Sam Neill and has expat Kiwi David Jowsey among its producers.

Going into the evening, 41 films from 21 countries shared the nominations. Annie Goldson’s Kim Dotcom: Caught in the Web was the sole NZ finalist, with director Annie Goldson and producer Alexander Behse in attendance. Dotcom lost out to Last Men in Aleppo, which has been a regular winner on the festival circuit since its premiere at Sundance, and picked up an award at Doc Edge earlier this year. Dotcom did receive a Special Mention from the jury, which Goldson described as “really thrilling”.

Former Big Screen Symposium speaker David Wenham returned as host for the ceremony, sharing the job with fellow Aussie, broadcaster Lee Lin Chin and various Aussie dignitaries including Brisbane’s Mayor and veteran actor Jack Thompson. The evening was slow to get going. In fact, if one had boarded a flight from Sydney at the time the ceremony had started, the plane would have landed in Brisbane before the first award was presented.

Like many award bashes, the APSAs include some non-juried awards. This year the Academy honoured Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, who died earlier this year. In accepting her APSA FIAPF Award, Filipina producer Bianca Balbuena also paid homage to another major figure in Asian cinema, the late Busan programmer KIM Jiseok who passed away in Cannes in May.

The evening’s first multiple awardee was Indian drama Newton, which took the wins for Screenplay and Actor. Newton is in the running for nomination in the Oscars’ Foreign Language gong, along with other APSA winners including Jury Prize winner Scary Mother (Georgia), and Ilgar Najaf’s Young Cinema Award winner, Nar Bagi (Pomegranate Orchard) (Azerbaijan).

Indian films picked up a third award when Lady of the Lake collected a Special Mention in the Cultural Diversity category. While this writer has long opposed the idea that an event which claims to represent “4.5 billion people, 70 countries and areas, 1/3 of the earth, 1/2 of the world’s film” actually needs a Cultural Diversity Award, it’s hard to argue that Mariam Khatchvani’s Georgian drama Dede, which won the award, isn’t deserving of recognition.

 

 

The 11th Asia Pacific Screen Awards were presented on 23 November in Brisbane. The winners were (marked ***):

BEST FEATURE FILM
Angels Wear White (Jia Nian Hua), People’s Republic of China, France
Foxtrot, Israel, Germany, France, Switzerland
A Gentle Creature (Krotkaya), France, Germany, Lithuania, Netherlands
A Man of Integrity (Lerd), Islamic Republic of Iran
*** Sweet Country, Australia

APSA JURY GRAND PRIZE
Alexandr Yatsenko, for performance in Arrhythmia (Aritmiya)
Ana Urushadze, for directing Scary Mother

BEST YOUTH FEATURE FILM
Big Big World (Koca Dünya), Turkey
Jasper Jones, Australia
*** The Seen and Unseen (Sekala Niskala), Indonesia, Netherlands, Australia, Qatar
The Skier (Ski-Baz), Islamic Republic of Iran
The Summer is Gone (Ba Yue), People’s Republic of China

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
Have a Nice Day (Hao ji le), People’s Republic of China
Saving Sally, Philippines, France
A Silent Voice (Koe no Katachi), Japan
*** Window Horses: The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming, Canada
your name. (kimi no na wa), Japan

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE FILM
(Special Mention) Kim Dotcom: Caught in the Web, New Zealand
*** Last Men in Aleppo, Syrian Arab Republic, Denmark, Germany
The Opposition, Australia, Papua New Guinea
Taste of Cement, Germany, Lebanon, Syrian Arab Republic, United Arab Emirates, Qatar
A Yangtze Landscape (Changjiang), People’s Republic of China

ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING
Ana URUSHADZE, Scary Mother (Sashishi Deda), Georgia, Estonia
*** Andrey ZVYAGINTSEV, Loveless (Nelyubov), Russian Federation, Belgium, France, Germany
KORE-EDA Hirokazu, The Third Murder (Sandome no Satsujin), Japan
Mouly SURYA, Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts (Marlina si Pembunuh dalam Empat Babak), Indonesia, France, Malaysia, Thailand
Sanal KUMAR SASIDHARAN, Sexy Durga, India

BEST SCREENPLAY
*** Amit V MASURKAR, Mayank TEWARI, Newton, India
Boris KHLEBNIKOV, Natalia MESHCHANINOVA, Arrhythmia (Aritmiya), Russian Federation, Finland, Germany
Dastan ZHAPAR UULU, Bakyt MUKUL, A Father’s Will (Atanyn Kereezi), Kyrgyzstan
David TRANTER, Steven MCGREGOR, Sweet Country, Australia
KORE-EDA Hirokazu, The Third Murder (Sandome no Satsujin), Japan

ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY
LYU Songye, Ghost in the Mountains (Kong Shan Yi Ke), People’s Republic of China
Mindia ESADZE, Scary Mother (Sashishi Deda), Georgia, Estonia
*** Pyotr DUKHOVSKOY, Timofey LOBOV, The Bottomless Bag (Meshok Bez Dna), Russian Federation
Shehnad JALAL, Lady of the Lake (Loktak Lairembee), India
Warwick THORNTON, Dylan RIVER, Sweet Country, Australia

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS
Cut MINI, Emma’ (Mother) (Athirah), Indonesia
Ecem UZUN, Clair Obscur (Tereddüt), Turkey, France, Germany, Poland
NA Moon-hee, I Can Speak, Republic of Korea
*** Nata MURVANIDZE, Scary Mother (Sashishi Deda), Georgia, Estonia
ZHOU Xun, Our Time Will Come (Ming Yue Ji Shi You), People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong (PRC)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR
(Special Mention) Navid MOHAMMADZADEH for No Date, No Signature (Bedoune Tarikh, Bedoune Emza), Islamic Republic of Iran
Paolo BALLESTEROS for Die Beautiful, Philippines
KOJI Yakusho for The Third Murder (Sandome no Satsujin), Japan
*** Rajkummar RAO for Newton, India
Mohammad BAKRI, Saleh BAKRI for Wajib (Duty), Palestine, Colombia, France, Germany, Norway, Qatar, United Arab Emirates

CULTURAL DIVERSITY AWARD UNDER THE PATRONAGE OF UNESCO
Centaur, Kyrgyzstan, France, Germany, Netherlands, Japan
*** Dede, Georgia, Croatia, Netherlands, Qatar, United Kingdom
Die Beautiful, Philippines
Honeygiver Among the Dogs (Munmo Tashi Khyidron), Bhutan
(Special Mention) Lady of the Lake (Loktak Lairembee), India

MPA-APSA ACADEMY FILM FUND
Grants of US$25,000 for development
Rajat Kapur, Paradise in Flames, India
Robert Connolly, Magic Beach, Australia
Guy Davidi, Senseless, Israel
Vladimer Katcharava, Nene, Georgia

YOUNG CINEMA AWARD
Ilgar Najaf, for Nar Bagi (Pomegranate Orchard)

APSA FIAPF Award
Bianca Balbuena, producer and writer, Philippines

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