Dmitrii Davydov for The Bonfire (Kostior na vetru)

Dmitrii Davydov for Kostior na vetru (The Bonfire)

The Asia Pacific Screen Awards today announced the nominees in the prestigious APSA Cultural Diversity Award, under the patronage of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). The Asia Pacific Screen Awards is the region’s highest accolade in film and recognises and promotes cinematic excellence and cultural diversity of the world’s fastest growing film region: comprising 70 countries and areas, 4.5 billion people, responsible for half of the world’s film output.

Representing the rich diversity of culture across Asia Pacific, the five nominated films tell of people and their connection to country, faith, environment and traditions, drawn from the Russian Federation, People’s Republic of China, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt – stories of everyday life, of personal and global struggles, of the conflict that comes from without and within, the joys and sorrows, but mostly, of maintaining the tenets of culture despite the pressures of an ever-changing world.

Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova said “Investing in culture can transform societies. Creativity can change the world. This is our ultimate renewable energy. Therefore, UNESCO has been supporting APSA’s contribution for sharing common values encompassing human rights, intercultural dialogue, mutual understanding for ten years. UNESCO has granted its patronage to the “Cultural Diversity Award” for a film practitioner and film for the outstanding contribution to the promotion and preservation of the cultural diversity through the medium of film”.

Chairman of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards and its Academy, Michael Hawkins said: “In recognition of APSA’s founding partnership with UNESCO now in its 10th year, this incredibly important and prestigious Award is presented annually for outstanding contribution to the promotion and preservation of cultural diversity through the medium of film. We are proud to work in collaboration with UNESCO and look forward to screening the winning film at UNESCO’s Paris headquarters next year.”

APSA Film Director and member of the APSA International Nominations Council Maxine Williamson said “The five films nominated are excellent representations of what APSA is about. These filmmakers are the storytellers whose words and images influence our world, remind us of who we are, and emphasise through cinema the responsibilities we have to future generations.”

“Interestingly, all of the nominated films are the works of first, second or third feature filmmakers marking an extraordinary field of young cinematic voices from the region who have unique stories to tell and are crafting exceptional films,” she said.


The five nominees for APSA Cultural Diversity Award, under the patronage of UNESCO:

  • Egyptian documentary filmmaker Tamer El Said’s debut narrative feature In The Last Days Of The City (Akher Ayam El Madinais a love/hate letter to Cairo, a city facing an uncertain future.Conceived before the Egyptian Revolution in 2009, the film tells story of displaced friends who share a common grief and loss for home.
  • Turkish director Mustafa Kara’s second feature film and Turkey’s official submission for the 89thAcademy Awards Cold of Kalandar (Kalandar Soğuğu) is a Northern Turkish tale about a family living in the mountains of the Black Sea region and ultimately celebrates the irrepressibility of the human spirit in the face of hardship.
  • Knife in the Clear Water (Qingshui Li De Daozi), the first feature from Chinese director Wang Xuebo is a rare glimpse in to the tranquil, spiritual lives of Islamic devotion of the Hui people, an authentic depiction of a little-known Chinese Muslim community in a remote northwest province of the mainland China.
  • The Bonfire (Kostior na vetru), the first feature from Yakut filmmaker Dmitrii Davydov, a compelling drama between two families shot in the remote Sakha Republic of Russia, 450 kms south of the Arctic Circle, where unemployment and boredom take a terrible toll.
  • The Dark Wind (Reşebafrom director Hussein Hassan, who, coincidentally, played the lead role in 2014 APSA UNESCO Award-winning film Memories on Stone. Through the lives of a young engaged couple, The Dark Wind exposes the dreadful reality of Yazidi people living in the Kurdish Shingal region of Iraq trying to live and love under the shadow of ISIS in the face of intolerance and ignorance.

Three of the nominees will premiere at the Busan International Film Festival this week – with world premiere screenings of Knife in the Clear Water (Qingshui Li De Daozi) in selection for Busan’s New Currents section and The Bonfire (Kostior na vetru) in Busan’s Flash Forward program. The Dark Wind (Reşeba), in its international premiere has been selected for the prestigious Closing Night of Busan, following its world premiere last month at the Duhok International Film Festival in Iraq.

The Asia Pacific Screen Awards are the region’s highest accolade in film, and since its inception in 2007, have enjoyed a unique collaboration with Paris-based UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and FIAPF –International Federation of Film Producers’ Associations.

The nomination goes to the director and both the director and producers will be inducted into the APSA Academy acknowledging the vital work of the producers in bringing stories to the screen.

The APSA Cultural Diversity Award, under the patronage of UNESCO.

Dmitrii Davydov for The Bonfire (Kostior na vetru)
Russian Federation

Hussein Hassan for The Dark Wind (Reşeba)
Iraq, Qatar, Germany

Mustafa Kara for Cold of Kalandar (Kalandar Soğuğu)
Turkey, Hungary

Tamer El Said for In the Last Days of the City (Akher Ayam El Madina)
Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Germany, United Kingdom

Wang Xuebo for Knife in the Clear Water (Qingshui Li De Daozi)
People’s Republic of China

For a full list of nominees click here.

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The Asia Pacific Screen Academy expresses its respect for and acknowledgement of the South East Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners of country, including the custodial communities on whose land works are created and celebrated by the Asia Pacific Screen Awards. We acknowledge the continuing connection to land, waters and communities. We also pay our respects to Elders, past and emerging. We recognise the integral role Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and First Nations peoples continue to play in storytelling and celebration spaces.

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