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Thursday, December 11, 2014

8th Asia Pacific Screen Awards Winners


As happened to me last year, this year was not able to see the awards ceremony live -which upsets me as this ceremony is very ceremonial, so different to what we see in in the west. Nevertheless can't deny that I'm very pleased that the movie of one of my favorite directors won the top award -which wasn't difficult as there were two of my favorite directors competing head to head-. Yes Andrey Zvyagintsev acclaimed Leviathan won the top award and to not upset Palme d'Or winner Nuri Bilge Ceylan (and me), the jury gave him the Best Director award for Winter Sleep.

As we know these awards recognize and promote 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. 2014 was a very good year for the are as produced many of the year greatest world films that were honored in Cannes and continued to collect multiple awards around the world.

The 5 feature craft awards were determined by the six member International Jury, consisting of Oscar nominated and APSA winning cinematographer Lu Yue, Palestinian actress/writer/director Hiam Abbass, award winning actor/producer/director Rajit Kapur, EFA representative Maciej Stuhr, award winning Singaporean filmmaker Anthony Chen, and Jury President internationally renowned Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi.

Best Performance by an Actress was awarded to Lü Zhong in Red Amnesia (China), with a Special Mention going to Iranian actress Merila Zareie for her performance in Track 143. Best Performance by an Actor went to New Zealand’s Cliff Curtis for his role in film The Dark Horse, with iconic Australian actor David Gulpilil receiving a Special Mention for his role in Charlie’s Country.

Oscar nominated Chinese cinematographer and APSA International Jury member Lu Yue presented the APSA for Achievement in Cinematography to winner Dong Jinsong for Black Coal, Thin Ice ( China, Hong Kong). From Iran, Best Screenplay was awarded to Iranian Nima Javidi for his film Melbourne, starring APSA Academy members Payman Maadi and Negar Javaherian.

The UNESCO award for outstanding contribution to the promotion and preservation of cultural diversity through film was awarded to Shawkat Amin Korki for directing Memories on Stone (Iraqi Kurdistan, Germany). Memories on Stone was also a recipient of the MPA APSA Academy Film Fund script development grant in 2011.

The International Jury awarded two Jury Grand Prizes for 2014, to the producers of Chinese film Blind Massage (China, France), Nai An, Li Ling, Kristina Larsen and Wang Yong and the legendary Iranian filmmaker Rakhshan Banietemad for directing Tales (Iran).

The FIAPF Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film in the Asia Pacific region, won by Australian Producer Emile Sherman, was presented by FIAPF representative Zeynep Özbatur Atakan, producer of the 2014 Cannes Palme d’Or winner Winter Sleep. Iranian writer/producer/director Reza Dormishian is the 2014 recipient of the APSA Academy NETPAC Development Prize for his second feature film I’m Not Angry! An award for emerging talent, the APSA Academy NETPAC Development Prize of USD$10,000, proudly supported by the Griffith Film School, Griffith University, is awarded to a first or second-time feature filmmaker in the narrative feature competition.

Winners are in *BLUE.

Best Feature Film
Asabani Nistam! (I'm Not Angry), Reza Dormishian, Iran
Bîranînên li ser kevirî (Memories on Stone), Shawkat Amin Korki, Iraqi Kurdistan and Germany
Kiş Uykusu (Winter Sleep), Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Turkey, France and Germany
*Leviafan (Leviathan), Andrey Zvyagintsev, Russia
Ukkili kamshat (The Owners), Adilkhan Yerzhanov, Kazakhstan

Best Youth Feature Film
52 Tuesdays, Sophie Hyde, Australia
Killa (The Fort), Avinash Arun, India
Klass Korrekzii (Corrections Class), Ivan I. Tverdovsky, Russia and Germany
*Sivas, Kaan Mujdeci, Turkey and Germany
Theeb, Naji Abu Nowar, Jordan, Qatar, UAE, and UK

Best Animated Feature Film
青蛙王国 Qingwa Wangguo (Frog Kingdom), Nelson Shin, China
Maya The Bee Movie, Alexs Stadermann, Australia and Germany
창백한 얼굴들 Chang-baek-han Eol-gul-deul (On The White Planet), Hur Bum-Wook, South Korea
우리별 일호와 얼룩소 Woo-ri-byul ll-ho-wa Ul-ruk-so (The Satellite Girl and Milk Cow), Jang Hyung-Yun, South Korea
*Kaguya-hime no Monogatari (The Tale of The Princess Kaguya), Isao Takahata, Japan

Best Documentary Film
Bidesia in Bambai, Surabhi Sharma, India
Eau Argentée, Syrie autoportrait (Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait), Wiam Bedirxan and Ossama Mohammed, Syria and France
*Hezar-o yek Siv (1001 Apples), Taha Karimi, Iraq
Sanda (Sanda: Surviving), Kim Mi-re, South Korea
Wukan: Minzu Zhi Guang (Wukan: The Flame of Democracy), Lynn Lee and James Leong, Singapore

Achievement in Directing
Andrey Zvyagintsev for Leviafan (Leviathan), Russia
Im Kwon-taek for Hwajang (Revivre), South Korea
*Nuri Bilge Ceylan for Kış Uykusu (Winter Sleep), Turkey, Germany and France
Rakhsham Bani-Etemand for Ghesseha (Tales), Iran
Rolf de Heer for Charlie's Country, Australia

Best Screenplay
Alexey Fedorchenko, Denis Osokin and Oleg Loyevsky for Angely Revolucii (Angels of Revolution), Alexey Fedorchenko, Russia
Giancarlo Abrahan for Dagitab (Sparks), Giancarlo Abrahan, Philippines
Korki, Iraqi Kurdistan and Germany Prasanna Jayakody for 28, Prasanna Jayakody, Sri Lanka
*Nima Javidi for Melbourne, Nima Javidi, Iran
Shawkat Amin Korki and Mehmet Aktaş for Bîranînên li ser kevirî (Memories on Stone), Shawkat Amin

Achievement in Cinematography
*Dong Jinsong for Bai Ri yan Huo (Black Coal, Thin Ice), Yi'nan Diao, China and Hong Kong
Levan Kapanadze for Ispytanie (Test), Aleksandr Kott, Russia
Mikhail Krichman for Leviafan (Leviathan), Andrey Zvyagintsev, Russia
Yerkinbek Ptyraliyev for Ukkili kamshat (The Owners), Adilkhan Yerzhanov, Kazakhstan
Zeng Jian for Tui Na (Blind Massage), Ye Lou, China and France

Best Performance by an Actress
*Lu Zhong in Chuang ru Zhe (Red Amnesia), Xiaoshuai Wang, China
*Merila Zare'i in Shiar-E 143 (Track 143), Narges Abyar, Iran (Special Mention)
Nora Aunor in Hustisya (Justice), Joel Lamangan, Philippines
Ronit Elkabetz in Gett (Gett, The Trial of Viviane Amsalem), Ronit Elkabetz and Shlomi Elkabetz, Israel, France and Germany
Tang Wei in Huangjin Shidai (The Golden Era), Ann Hui, China and Hong Kong

Best Performance by an Actor
*Cliff Curtis in The Dark Horse, James Napier Robertson, New Zealand
*David Gulpilil in Charlie's Country, Rolf de Heer, Australia (Special Mention)
Liao Fan in Bai Ri yan Huo (Black Coal, Thin Ice), Yi'nan Diao, China and Hong Kong
Mahendra Perera in 28, Prasanna Jayakody, Sri Lanka
Navid Mahammadzadeh in Asabani Nistam! (I'm Not Angry), Reza Dormishian, Iraqi Kurdistan and Germany

I'm familiar with most nominated films but from the few that I was unaware, one jumps and becomes must be seen for me: Ispytanie (Test) by Aleksandr Kott as from trailer visuals can be breathtaking, suggesting that its achievement in cinematography nod is well-deserved.

To see basic info about each film go to Official Site here and if you wish to read the pdf file with the Official List go here. The Awards ceremony will be held in Brisbane's historic City Hall on Thursday, December 11.

Announcement of Best Feature Film and Achievement in Directing nominees video



Nominations Comments on October 28, 2014
Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk today announced nominees for the 8th Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA), with 36 films from 21 Asia Pacific countries and areas vying for the region’s highest accolade in film. The Awards recognize and promote 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.

Winners in the feature film categories will be determined by the 2014 APSA International Jury, headed by the internationally acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi. Two additional major awards for outstanding achievement will be presented at the ceremony: The UNESCO Award for outstanding contribution to the promotion and preservation of cultural diversity through film and the FIAPF Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film which celebrates a film practitioner from the region whose career and actions contribute strongly to the development of the film industry.

Leviathan leads with three (3) nominations with Russia and China leading with six (6) nominations each, closely followed by Iran with five (5). For the first time a film from Syria has received a nomination. Perhaps what is most remarkable from all nominations stats is the large amount of films from Iran which I find quite unusual and extraordinary; perhaps with these honors distributors in the west will become more interested in them.

My spontaneous reaction to nominees is that there are not many films from the Far East as for example there is none in the Best Feature Film (very unusual), none in Best Youth Feature Film, none in Best Screenplay, only one in Directing, and count improves with four in Animated Feature Film, two in cinematography, two in actress and one in actor. Can't deny that surprises me that one remarkable Chinese film(Coming Home) was snubbed as has no nominations for the director (Zhang Yimou) and/or the lead actress (Gong Li). Also surprising is the absence of Ann Hui in the directing category.

Also couldn't help but noticing that most Asia-Pacific countries Oscar entries have no recognition in the Best Feature Film category. With the exception of Turkey and Russia, the films from Kazakhstan and Iraqi Kurdistan were not considered as Oscar entries -as a matter of fact both countries have submitted in the past and in 2014 did not submit a film- and Iran opted for a different film.

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