Six script development grants totalling more than $140,000 were announced last night at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards.

The grants are offered to filmmakers from the Asia Pacific region under two funds – the MPA APSA Academy Film Fund, an initiative of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) and the Motion Picture Association (MPA), and the new APSA Children’s Film Fund, a partnership with Manila based 4 Boys Films. Both funds are available exclusively to APSA Academy members.

Four filmmakers will each receive $US25,000 from the MPA APSA Academy Film Fund, to be allocated to the script development of new feature film projects.

The recipients of the 2011 MPA APSA Academy Film Fund are:

  • Shawkat Amin Korki (Iraq/Kurdistan) for his project Memories on Stone.  Shawkat Amin Korki was inducted into the Academy in 2007 for Crossing the Dust, for which he received an Achievement in Directing nomination in 2007.
  • Payman Maadi, from the Islamic Republic of Iran for his film Those Days. Payman was nominated this year for Best Performance by an Actor for A Separation, which was the first film to be completed with funding from the MPA APSA Academy Film Fund. A Separation won Best Feature Film at last night’s Asia Pacific Screen Awards.
  • Maryam Ebrahimi, Iranian-born Swedish filmmaker, for the documentary No Burqas Behind Bars.Maryam was also inducted into the Academy this year, winning the Best Documentary Feature Film Award for I Was Worth 50 Sheep.
  • Pryas Gupta (India) for The Cricket Tree. A former member of the APSA International Jury, Pryas was inducted into the Academy in 2008. His film The Prisoner won the Jury Grand Prize that year.

Two filmmakers will each receive $AUD20,000 from the APSA Children’s Film Fund.

The recipients of the 2011 APSA Children’s Film Fund are:

  • Renowned Indonesian filmmaker Garin Nugroho for The Seen and The Unseen. Garin Nugroho was inducted into the Academy in 2007 for Opera Jawa, which was nominated for Best Feature Film.
  • Songtaijia (People’s Republic of China/Tibet) for The Stone with Nine Eyes. Songtaijia was inducted into the Academy this year when he was nominated for Achievement in Cinematography for Old Dog.

More than 70 filmmakers from 25 countries submitted entries to the 2011 MPA APSA Academy Film Fund, now in its second year, and the new APSA Children’s Film Fund. The two funds offer script development grants to stimulate the development of feature film projects originated by APSA Academy members and their colleagues across Asia-Pacific.

The three panel members for the 2011 MPA APSA Academy Film Fund were Australian/Chinese filmmaker Tony Ayres, Australian producer, film historian and distributor Andrew Pike and Chinese scriptwriter and director Xue Xiaolu.

Of the four projects to receive grants in 2010, Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation has already achieved significant worldwide success, including last night’s APSA Best Feature Film Award.  It premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival earlier this year where it won the Golden Bear for Best Film as well as the Silver Bears for Best Actress and Actor.

The three panellists who determined the APSA Children’s Film Fund were China-based French producer and APSA 2011 Best Children’s Feature Film nominee for 11 Flowers, Isabelle Glachant, APSA Nominations Council founding member and co-Director of the Iranian Film Festival Australia Anne Démy-Geroe and New Zealand director of the critically acclaimed Strength of Water, Armagan Ballantyne.

The APSA Academy includes almost 500 of Asia Pacific’s most influential filmmakers. All Winners, Nominees, Jury and Nominations Council members are inducted into the Academy.  Since its formation in 2008, the APSA Academy has become a vital industry network. Co-production opportunities are fostered.  Ideas and development opportunities are shared.

The MPA APSA Academy Film Fund is supported by the Motion Picture Association.

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 organizations act on behalf of the members of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc (MPAA), which includes; 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.

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