The Asia Pacific Screen Awards today announced the recipient of the annual award for emerging talent, the prestigious APSA Academy NETPAC Development Prize as actor turned director Mirlan Abdykalykov for his debut feature film Heavenly Nomadic (Sutak) from Kyrgyzstan.

Heavenly Nomadic world premiered at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival and is Kyrgyzstan’s official submission for Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards®.

Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, NETPAC, the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema, is a worldwide organisation dedicated to promoting a greater understanding and appreciation of Asian films and filmmakers. One of NETPAC’s major contributions is the institution of the NETPAC Award which is now given at 28 international film festivals in 21 countries and 5 continents.

Chairman of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards and its Academy, Michael Hawkins said “The annual APSA Academy NETPAC Development Prize is an emerging talent grant of USD$10,000 and we are pleased to have the support of Griffith Film School, Griffith University in this Prize. I congratulate Mirlan Abdykalykov and wish him every future success in his filmmaking. Our NETPAC Jury feel he is a talent worth supporting, and hope that he will access further opportunities now as member of the prestigious APSA Academy.”

Head of the Griffith Film School, Herman Van Eyken said “Griffith Film School is passionate about nurturing and encouraging emerging talent in the region and we are thrilled to support the APSA Academy NETPAC Development Prize. Griffith Film School engages with emerging talent from the region at all levels, through our on line course, mentoring our students and by hosting the Asia Pacific Screen Lab, which is another initiative together with NETPAC and the APSA Academy. Now in its 2nd round, the Asia Pacific Screen Lab, has seen four early career filmmakers enter an intensive incubator program to develop their Asia Pacific stories. We are immensely proud of our support of emerging filmmakers from the region.”

The prize is awarded to a first or second time feature filmmaker in the Asia Pacific Screen Awards’ Best Feature narrative competition and determined by the APSA NETPAC Jury drawn from the APSA International Nominations Council, and in 2015 was chaired by Kazakh film critic, researcher and artistic director Gulnara Abikeyeva, joined by Russian film critic and journalist Igor Gouskov and film editor from Hong Kong, Mary Stephen.

Prize recipient, director Mirlan Abdykalykov said “I’m happy to receive this prize and it’s a big honor for me! I hope that now even more people will be acquainted with the culture and beauty of Kyrgyzstan.”

Mirlan Abdykalykov studied in the Faculty of Journalism at the Kyrgyz National State University between 1999 and 2004. Prior to this, between 1990 and 2001, he played the lead role in three films directed by Aktan Abdykalykov –Swing, The Adopted Son and The Chimp. During 2003 – 2004 Mirlan worked in the film industry in Kazakhstan and from 2004 – 2008 at the Begym Studio as Assistant Director. From 2008 – 2010 he worked for the Oy Art Film Producing Company on the feature film The Light Thief as Assistant Director and in 2008 he established his own studio ‘Selkinchek’, which produces advertisements and social media video clips, short films, documentary films and others. Heavenly Nomadic is his feature film directorial debut.

Heavenly Nomadic is the story of a family of nomads live in the high, remote mountains of Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia; elderly herdsman Tabyldy, his wife Karachach, their daughter-in-law Shaiyr and their 7 year old granddaughter Umsunai. Shaiyr’s son studies in the city and visits them only during the summer holidays. Her husband died many years ago when he was drowned in a mountain river, trying to save a foal. Shaiyr decided to stay with the family due to her strong attachment to the wonderful land and its people. The family breed horses and life goes on as normal amidst the beautiful scenery of the mountain gorge. But another resident of the area appears in Shaiyr’s life, meteorologist Ermek, whose weather station is located near to the family’s home…

Heavenly Nomadic’s Australian Premiere is set for Sunday 29 November at the Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival.


The Asia Pacific Screen Awards are the region’s highest accolade in film, and now in its 9th edition, the nominees represent 39 films from 22 countries and areas of Asia Pacific.

The Asia Pacific Screen Awards, now with a permanent home in Brisbane; Australia’s New World City, are presented by Treasury Casino & Hotel, supported by Brisbane City Council and managed by economic development board Brisbane Marketing. APSA has the privilege of a unique collaboration with Paris-based UNESCO and FIAPF-International Federation of Film Producers Associations, 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, and is responsible for half of the world’s film output.

All nominees, International Nominations Council and APSA International Jury members are inducted into the APSA Academy presided over by President, Australian screen legend Jack Thompson. The Academy boasts over 870 of the region’s leading filmmakers and provides exclusive networking, development and funding opportunities available to Academy members through the APSA Academy NETPAC Development Prize, the MPA APSA Academy Film Fund, the APSA Academy Children’s Film Fund and Academy mentoring opportunities for the next generation of Asia Pacific filmmakers through the Asia Pacific Screen Lab. The APSA’s Academy partner, the European Film Academy shares the common interest of presenting pan-International Awards that promote and award excellence in cinema.

WATCH THE CEREMONY WEBCAST LIVE on Thursday, 26 November 2015 from 19.00 (AEST) at:


APSA welcomes applications for accreditation from national and international media for BAPFF, APSA Red Carpet arrivals, APSA Awards Ceremony and for the week of activities.

To apply for media accreditation CLICK HERE  

CLICK HERE to view the full list of 2015 APSA nominations

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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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