Asia Pacific Screen Academy and Motion Picture Association affirm commitment to the screen industry and announce Jury

Catherine Fitzgerald (New Zealand), Penny Smallacombe (Australia), Andrew Pike (Australia) Catherine Fitzgerald (New Zealand), Penny Smallacombe (Australia), Andrew Pike (Australia)

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: The 12th round of the film fund dedicated to developing the diverse stories of Asia Pacific, the MPA APSA Academy Film Fund opened today.  Also announced was the Jury to determine the four winners who will share in the annual pool of US$100,000 for script development of new feature film projects.

A joint initiative of the Asia Pacific Screen Academy (APSA) and the Motion Picture Association (MPA), the Fund represents both organisation’s shared goals to increase cultural diversity on screen in the fastest growing region of film production in the world, and is open exclusively to members of the Asia Pacific Screen Academy.

Heading the Jury in 2021 is esteemed Australian film distributor, historian and documentary filmmaker Andrew Pike OAM, now in his 12th year steering the selection process. He is joined by 2019 MPA APSA Academy Film Fund recipient, acclaimed producer Catherine Fitzgerald (New Zealand) and highly regarded executive and Screen Australia’s Head of Indigenous, Maramanindji woman Penny Smallacombe (Australia).

The winners of the four US$25,000 grants wholly supported by the MPA will be announced at the 2021 Asia Pacific Screen Awards Ceremony on Thursday 11 November as the annual Asia Pacific Screen Forum opens.

Chair of the Asia Pacific Screen Academy Tracey Vieira said the partnership between the MPA and APSA continues to deliver a significant boost to the region’s creatives.

“The Asia Pacific Screen Academy is proud to support the creative voices across the region through our continued partnership with the MPA.  As we together face the repercussions of the global pandemic, we also recognise the value of art and culture in recording our stories”.

Belinda Lui, President and Managing Director Asia Pacific MPA, said “The Asia Pacific region is bursting with refreshing, new stories to be told, and the MPA APSA Academy Film Fund has been successful in unearthing some real gems from the region’s storytellers. It’s fitting that Vietnam is hosting the launch of this year’s Film Fund. The country’s screen industry is poised to enter a new phase in its relationship with the international film community, as reflected in today’s film workshop. Exciting, creative voices are passionate about bringing their visions to the world of cinema, including filmmakers such as Minh Quy Truong, who was a recipient of the Film Fund in 2020. We can’t wait to see this year’s range of diverse, ground-breaking film project ideas.”

The fund was opened at the MPA’s annual script to screen workshop where APSA was represented by Academy member Bui Thac Chuyen who entered the Academy in 2016 as a Asia Pacific Screen Lab Mentor and the guests heard from Minh Quy Truong who received a fund with producer Bianca Balbuena for Viet and Nam.

The fund’s annual investment of US$100,000 in the region’s storytellers is a collaboration between APSA, which honours the cinematic excellence of the culturally diverse region, and the MPA, the peak body representing some of the world’s biggest film studios.

To date, 44 projects from 22 countries and areas of the Asia Pacific have been supported through the initiative, with recipients including both emerging talent and established auteurs. 13 feature films have been completed and debuted to international acclaim.

MPA APSA Academy Film Fund project highlights include:

  • 2019 San Sebastian International Film Festival Competition & APAS winner – A Dark, Dark Man
  • 2018 Cannes Film Festival FIPRESCI Award & APSA winner – Burning
  • 2018 Cannes Film Festival, Official Selection & Best Actress winner – Ayka
  • 2018 Cannes Film Festival, Official Selection – The Wild Pear Tree
  • 2018 Venice Film Festival, Orizzonti Selection & Best Director winner – The River,
  • 2018 Venice Film Festival, Orizzonti Selection & APSA winner – Memories of My Body
  • 2017 Locarno Festival winner – Wajib
  • 2014 International Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary – No Burqas Behind Bars
  • 2010 Academy Award® for Best Foreign Language Film – A Separation

Fund Films in development include:

  • Haifa Al Mansour’s Miss Camel, an empowering animated tale of a young Saudi Arabian girl, currently being developed with LA’s ShadowMachine (BoJack Horseman, Robot Chicken)
  • Production has completed on No Land’s Man, from Mostofa Sarwar Farooki (Bangladesh), co-produced by and starring Indian star Nawazuddin Siddiqui (Sacred Games, The Lunchbox)


MPA APSA Academy Film Fund:


APSA brings the world together through film. It promotes, rewards and ignites cinematic excellence and fosters international relationships, artistic expression and cultural diversity.

The Academy presents the Asia Pacific Screen Awards which are recognised as the region’s highest accolade in film and Asia Pacific Screen Forum annually in November.  Established in 2007, the Asia Pacific Screen Awards ignites and honours the 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 and are now key event on the international film calendar.

The Asia Pacific Screen Forum is a six-day program that connects filmmakers, students and aspiring talent with Asia Pacific writers, producers and directors through masterclasses, panel sessions and public events. 

The Asia Pacific Screen Academy is committed to its ongoing global partnerships with UNESCO, FIAPF, the European Film Academy (EFA), the Motion Picture Association (MPA), Premios Platino del Cine Iberoamericano, NETPAC (the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema), the Asia Pacific Screen Lab (APSL) and Griffith Film School.

All APSA nominees, Nominations Councils Jury members are inducted into the prestigious APSA Academy presided over by Australian screen legend Jack Thompson AM PhD. The Academy boasts over 1,200 of the region’s leading filmmakers and provides exclusive networking, development and funding opportunities available to Academy members through the MPA APSA Academy Film Fund, and Academy mentoring opportunities for the next generation of Asia Pacific filmmakers through the Asia Pacific Screen Lab.


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: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Netflix Studios, LLC, Paramount Pictures Corporation, Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc., Universal City Studios LLC, 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


MPA APSA Academy Film Fund recipients

2020 Bianca Balbuena (Philippines)

Ridham Janve (India)

Guillaume de Seille (France)

Annemarie Jacir (Palestine)

2019 Delphine Garde-Mroueh/Nadia Eliewat (UAE/France)

Rachel Leah Jones (Israel/United States of America)

Catherine Fitzgerald (New Zealand)

Dechen Roder (Bhutan)

2018 Ifa Isfansyah (Indonesia)

A Dark, Dark Man, Olga Khlasheva (Kazakhstan)

Mai Meksawan (Thailand)

The Bond, Semih Kaplanoğlu (Turkey)

2017 Suman Mukhopadhyay/Rajit Kapur (India)

Robert Connolly (Australia)

Guy Davidi (Israel)

Vladimer Katcharava (Georgia)

2016 Haifaa Al Mansour (Saudi Arabia)

Joo-young Park (Republic of Korea)

Rolf de Heer (Australia)

The River, Emir Baigazin (Kazakhstan)

2015 Ami Drozd (Israel)

Wajib, Annemarie Jacir (Palestine)
Cliff Curtis (New Zealand)

Surabhi Sharma (India)

2014 Signe Byrge Sørensen (Denmark)

Dror Moreh (Israel)
Jafar Panahi (Islamic Republic of Iran)

Mostofa Sarwar Farooki (Bangladesh)

2013 Ainsley Gardiner (New Zealand)
Jeannette Hereniko (United States of America)

Reis Çelik (Turkey)

Memories of My Body, Garin Nugroho (Indonesia)

2012 Kath Shelper/Beck Cole (Australia)
Mohammad Rasoulof (Islamic Republic of Iran)

Suha Arraf (Israel)

The Wild Pear Tree, Zeynep Atakan (Turkey)

2011 No Burqas Behind Bars, Maryam Ebrahimi (Sweden, Iran)

Bomb, A Love Story, Payman Maadi (Islamic Republic of Iran)

Pryas Gupta (India)
Memories on Stone, Shawkat Amin Korki (Iraqi Kurdistan)

2010 A Separation, Asghar Farhadi, (Islamic Republic of Iran)

Burning, Lee Chang-dong (Republic of Korea)
The Cremator, Peng Tao (People’s Republic of China)
Ayka, Sergey Dvortsevoy (Russian Federation)


MEDIA ENQUIRIES:  Cathy Gallagher + 61 (0) 416 227 282 / [email protected]


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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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