At the 2011 Asia Pacific Screen Awards, keynote speaker Lord David Puttnam remarked on the unique power of film, stating: “Cinema is, or ought to be, the one true international language, reaching out and touching the hearts and minds of audiences throughout the world – and nowhere is this more true than across the incredibly diverse mix of cultures that are found within the Asia Pacific region.” As more people across the region are discovering this unique power for the very first time, these words ring even truer today.

Since 2007, the Asia Pacific Screen Awards have celebrated the region’s best of the best in filmmaking while introducing their art to audiences worldwide. The Awards and its associated Academy, which now includes more than 1,200 of the region’s most talented filmmakers, deserve recognition for their dedication in developing such a fitting showcase.

This will be the ninth year that the Motion Picture Association has partnered with the Asia Pacific Screen Awards to award four grants to deserving creators under the MPA APSA Academy Film Fund. Many of the selected projects, such as Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation, have not only gone on to find channels of distribution, but have picked up numerous awards on the festival circuit. One of the latest projects supported by the Academy Film Fund, Lee Chang-dong’s Burning, competed for the Palme d’Or at the 2018 Cannes International Film Festival and was chosen as South Korea’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the upcoming Academy Awards.

The MPA, for its part, could not be more pleased to support such talented filmmakers. In early November, MPAA Chairman and CEO Charlie Rivkin was delighted to host producer Lee Joon-dong, along with Australian Ambassador Hockey and Republic of Korea Ambassador Cho, for a discussion and special screening of the film in Washington, DC.

The Academy Film Fund supported a record-breaking six projects in 2018. Many of these debuted to critical acclaim at major international film festivals, including Lee Chang-dong’s Burning, Sergey Dvortsevoy’s Ayka and Nuri Bilge Ceylan & Zeynep Atakan’s The Wild Pear Tree (Cannes); Emir Baigazin’s The River and Garin Nugroho’s Memories of My Body (Venice); and Payman Maadi’s Bomb, A Love Story (Fajr).

And the quality of these films did not go unnoticed by their peers: Emir Baigazin (The River) won the Best Director award at Venice, Samal Yeslyamova (Akya) won the Best Actress award at Cannes, and Payman Maadi’s Bomb, A Love Story won the Special Jury Award at Fajr. I should also mention that Bomb, A Love Story is one of five nominees for APSA’s inaugural Best Original Score award.

It is a great honor to continue this nine-year partnership – none of which would be possible without the dedication of MPA APSA Academy Film Fund selection panellists Young Kim and Kiki Fung as well as the leadership of the Panel’s chairman, Andrew Pike.

We also thank Brisbane City Council for its important contribution to the recognition of cinema in the Asia Pacific region and its ongoing support of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards and its associated Academy.

Most importantly, we congratulate all of the filmmakers involved in the Asia Pacific Screen Awards. Your passion for the one true international language of cinema is inspiring, and we join you in celebrating the 12th anniversary of this extraordinary film event.

Michael C. Ellis
President and Managing Director, Asia Pacific Region
Motion Picture Association

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