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MPA APSA grants to develop stories

APSA, Brisbane, 12 December 2014: The successful recipients of the 2014 MPA Academy Film Fund grant of US$25,000 were announced at the 8th annual Asia Pacific Screen Awards ceremony.

Announced by Mike Ellis, President and Managing Director Asia Pacific, Motion Picture Association (MPA) and Film Fund Chair Andrew Pike, the successful projects submitted by APSA Academy members include two feature film projects and two documentary feature projects.

2014 grant recipients are 2013 APSA nominees and winners Mostofa Sarwar Farooki (Television), Dror Moreh (The Gatekeepers), Signe Byrge Sorensen (The Act of Killing) and member of the inaugural APSA International Jury in 2007, award-winning Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi.

The US$25,000 development grants go to the following projects:

CORRIDORS OF POWER (documentary feature film)
Dror Moreh (Israel)
“Dror Moreh’s new film, Corridors of Power, is a bold and confronting examination of how the world’s political leaders have responded to reports of mass killings and genocide around the world in recent decades. His film explores the connection between the strength of political responses and economic self-interests. The film will take us far behind the scenes, into the inner sanctums of the world’s most powerful decision makers.”

FLOWER (GOUL) (feature film)
Jafar Panahi (Islamic Republic of Iran) for Panah Panahi
“Flower explores the turmoil created by a father’s conviction that he must kill his disabled son to bring peace to his family. This challenging drama is drawn from real life, and brings home the plight of people with disabilities in Iran. This film will be directed by Jafar’s son, Panah, who is an emerging director of distinction and shares his father’s humanist concerns.”

NO LAND’S MAN (feature film)
Mostofa Sarwar Farooki (Bangladesh)
“A leading figure in the emerging Bangladeshi cinema, Farooki’s new film, No Land’s Man is a dark satirical drama. The film examines the plight of a man from a religious minority who is persecuted in his home country, and escapes overseas only to find himself still the target of racial prejudice and hostility in the USA and Australia.”

ON SCREEN OFF RECORD (documentary feature film)
Signe Byrge Sørensen (Denmark)
“Sørenson’s new film is a provocative documentary about the citizen journalist movement in Syria – citizens who have been recording events in the Syrian crisis and posting stories on the internet. This film will tell the story of this movement and provide a context for their stories and images.”

On presenting the 6th consecutive year of funding to projects, Mike Ellis said, “This year we received over 100 submissions from filmmakers across this wide region, which indicates that the initiative is resonating well with Academy members and helping them develop their projects. The level of film treatments is exceptionally high, and as usual we are grateful to have a wonderfully talented Film Fund selection panel to work through the projects and decide on the recipients. The Fund goes from strength to strength and we wish all of the filmmakers great success with the development of their films.”

APSA Executive Chair Michael Hawkins said, “Tonight is a landmark moment for the MPA APSA Academy Film Fund. Not only have four new and highly worthy recipients been announced, but on the same night the fund-supported film Memories on Stone by Iraqi Kurdistan’s Shawkat Amin Korki has received the UNESCO Award for outstanding contribution to the promotion and preservation of cultural diversity through film. This is an incredibly powerful example of the shared aims of APSA, MPA and UNESCO and the importance they place on the growth, development and recognition of cinema and culture in the region.”

The 2014 panel was Chaired for the fifth year by the esteemed Andrew Pike OAM (Australia), a film historian, documentary filmmaker, producer, distributor and exhibitor, acknowledged as a leading figure in bringing Asian cinema to Australian screens.

Pike was joined on the panel by Zoë Chen (People’s Republic of China), General Manager of leading boutique film production company Ruddy Morgan Organization (China) and Sheila Timothy (Indonesia), award-winning filmmaker and President of the Association of Indonesian Film Producers (APROFI).

MPA APSA Film Forum
On December 10, in the lead up to the APSA ceremony, filmmakers attended the MPA APSA Film Forum at the Brisbane State Library.

Now in its second year, the event involved two panel discussions on the expectations of the film industry in Asia for the next five years. Moderated by Paul de Carvalho from ImagineAsia Entertainment, the first panel explored Romance, Epics, Anime, Action – What Genres and Where? In Korea, the historical action adventure ROARING CURRENTS has broken all box office records. In China THE MONKEY KING is the second highest grossing film of 2014, beaten only by TRANSFORMERS. In Japan the two top grossing films of 2014 are animations. Panelists Jeon Chan-il, Deputy Director of the Asian Film Market at the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), Zoë Chen, a producer from China and Sheila Timothy, a producer from Indonesia and President of the Association of Indonesian Film Producers (APROFI) discussed the types of films that are popular in their domestic markets, and what genres might be able to travel across the Asia Pacific region and beyond.

A second panel: From Giant Screen To Mobile – Trends, Challenges and Opportunities in Screen Content Distribution, featuring Michael Favelle, CEO and Founder of Odin’s Eye Entertainment, Variety’s Patrick Frater and William Feng, Chief Representative of the China Office for the Motion Picture Association (MPA), explored new distribution strategies, especially the digital space. In China, paying to watch films via the internet is already big business. Warner Bros has launched its own VOD service in Korea, Netflix has just announced its Australian and New Zealand launch and Malaysian-based iFlix Asia is eyeing the regional marketplace. In this session, producers, directors and distributors looked at the opportunities for innovative distribution across Asia – and make the distinction between those offering commercial returns and those simply providing marketing exposure.

ABOUT THE MPA
Promoting & Protecting Screen Communities in Asia Pacific

The Motion Picture Association (MPA) and the Motion Picture Association International (MPA-I) represent the interests of the six international producers and distributors of filmed entertainment. To do so, they promote and protect the intellectual property rights of these companies and conduct public awareness programs to highlight to movie fans around the world the importance of content protection. These activities have helped to transform entire markets benefiting film and television industries in each country including foreign and local filmmakers alike.
The organisations act on behalf of the members of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc (MPAA) which include; Paramount Pictures Corporation; Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.; Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation; Universal City Studios LLC; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures; and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. The MPA and the MPA-I have worldwide operations which are directed from their head offices in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. and overseen in the Asia Pacific by a team based in Singapore. For more information about the MPA and the MPA-I, please visit www.mpa-i.org.

ABOUT THE ASIA PACIFIC SCREEN AWARDS
The Asia Pacific Screen Awards, proudly presented by Treasury Casino and Hotel, is supported by Brisbane City Council and managed by economic development board Brisbane Marketing in a unique collaboration with Paris-based UNESCO and FIAPF-International Federation of Film Producers Associations, recognising and promoting cinematic excellence and cultural diversity of the world’s fastest-growing film region: comprising 70 countries and areas, 4.5 billion people, and responsible for half of the world’s film output.

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