The Asia Pacific Screen Awards’ ten-year partnership with the Motion Picture Association (MPA) was celebrated in Washington with a special screening of Japanese master filmmaker Hirozaku Kore-eda’s Academy Award nominated, Palme d’Or and APSA Best Feature Film winner Shoplifters last night. The event comes on the eve of the 13th Asia Pacific Screen Awards and Kore-eda’s Australian visit.

The event was jointly hosted by Motion Picture Association, the Japan Information & Cultural Center – Embassy of Japan and the Embassy of Australia, represented by Gail MacKinnon, Senior Executive Vice President, Global Policy & Government Affairs, Dr. Yoshihiko Higuchi, First Secretary, Embassy of Japan / Deputy Director of Japan Information & Culture Center, and Katrina Cooper, Deputy Head of Mission from the Embassy of Australia.

Special guests included producer of Kore-eda’s films Shoplifters, The Third Murder and Like Father, Like Son, Kaoru Matsuzaki, President & CEO of GAGA America, Inc Kiyoshi Watanabe and Chair of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards Michael Hawkins.

In being presented with the APSA Best Feature Film award Shoplifters became the first film from Japan to win the APSA top prize. The win was also Kore-eda’s first APSA from eight nominations. Previous nominations include Best Children’s Feature Film nomination for I Wish (Kiseki, 2012), Best Feature Film and Achievement in Directing nominations for Like Father, Like Son (2013), Best Screenplay and directing nominations for The Third Murder (2017) in addition to three nominations for Shoplifters.

10th MPA APSA Academy Film Fund – script development for 40 Asia Pacific projects funded

As the two organisations mark the 10th anniversary of the MPA APSA Academy Film Fund, it was revealed that a record 127 applications were received in 2019 from 29 countries and areas of Asia Pacific.

The MPA APSA Academy Film Fund was created to support the development of new feature film projects by APSA Academy members and their colleagues from the culturally-diverse Asia Pacific region. The fund awards four development grants of US$25,000 annually, and is wholly supported by the MPA.

In 2019, the announcement of the four projects at the APSA Ceremony on November 21 in Brisbane will bring the total projects supported to 40.

Symbolic of a long partnership between the two organisations, the fund supports screen stories from the region, which spans 70 countries and areas and is the fastest growing region in the world in terms of cinema production. Projects are assessed by the same criteria that apply to films in the APSA competition – films that best reflect their cultural origins, demonstrate cinematic excellence and are deemed Asia Pacific in origin.

The MPA Jury who will assess the applications is chaired for the 10th year by Andrew Pike OAM, joined by veteran producer and film marketer Glenys Rowe and digital media strategist Jonathan Dotan who recently spent five years working in over 30 countries for the MPA as liaison to local film industries and governments, with special emphasis on East Asian markets’ adoption of digital media.

Gail MacKinnon, MPA Senior Executive Vice President, Global Policy & Government Affairs, said, “Thirteen years ago it was hard not to notice the surge in growth and impact of cinema in the Asia Pacific. And some people – people with great vision and creative minds, not only recognized this development, but founded a prestige event that truly represented the breadth and depth of cinema talent in the region. Founder Des Power, and Chairman Michael Hawkins (who is here with us this evening) have made a remarkable contribution to raising the profile of Asia Pacific filmmaking, and we greatly applaud your continued efforts to host the Asia Pacific Screen Awards – the region’s highest accolade in film – and the associated Asia Pacific Screen Academy of distinguished filmmakers.”

During the event, the MPA was presented with a special APSA in recognition of ten years of the MPA APSA Academy Film Fund.

In presenting the Award, Chair of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards and its Academy Michael Hawkins thanked the MPA for their partnership in sustaining the Fund , which is exclusively for APSA Academy members, and has produced many outstanding works.

Chair of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards and its Academy Michael Hawkins said, “The APSA Academy’s partnership with the MPA has produced works which have received awards and nominations from the Academy Awards, BAFTAs, Golden Globes, International Emmys and official selection to prestigious festivals including Cannes, Venice, Berlin, Toronto, Busan and Telluride, among many others. It is testament to the power of the Academy and the opportunities we provide our members that 16 newly inducted members from this year’s nominations have submitted applications.”

MPA APSA Academy Film Fund

2018 Success Snapshot: The MPA APSA Academy Film Fund enjoyed phenomenal success in 2018, with a staggering six funded projects reaching completion and receiving prestigious World Premieres at Cannes, Venice and Fajr International Film Festivals. Lee Chang-dong’s Burning, Sergey Dvortsevoy’s Ayka and Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s The Wild Pear Tree produced by Zeynep Atakan all debuted in Official Competition at the Cannes Film Festival, with the Best Actress award going to Samal Yeslyamova (Akya). All three films were their country’s official submission for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Emir Baigazin’s The River and Garin Nugroho’s Memories of My Body premiered in the Orizzonti (Horizons) section of the Venice Film Festival, where Emir Baigazin was awarded Best Director. Payman Maadi’s Bomb, A Love Story premiered at the Fajr Film Festival earlier in the year where it won the Special Jury Prize. It was announced earlier this month as one of the five nominees for APSA’s inaugural Best Original Score award.

MPA APSA Academy Film Fund recipients 2010 – 2018

2018 Ifa Isfansyah/Kamila Andini (Indonesia)
Olga Khlasheva/Adilkhan Yerzhanov (Kazakhstan)
Mai Meksawan/ Uruphong Raksasad (Thailand)
Semih Kaplanoglu (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)
Panah Panahi (Islamic Republic of Iran)
Mostofa Sarwar Farooki (Bangladesh)

2013 Ainsley Gardiner (New Zealand)
Jeannette Hereniko (Marshall Islands)
Reis Çelik (Turkey, Iraq)
Memories of My Body, Garin Nugroho (Indonesia)

2012 Kath Shelper (Australia)
Mohammed Rasoulof (Islamic Republic of Iran)
Suha Arraf (Israel)
The Wild Pear Tree, Zeynep Atakan (Turkey)

2011 No Burqas Behind Bars, Maryam Ebrahimi (Sweden, Japan, Netherlands, Denmark)
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)


The region’s highest accolade in film, the Asia Pacific Screen Awards, based in Brisbane, Australia, is supported by Brisbane City Council and managed by economic development board Brisbane Marketing. APSA 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 responsible for half of the world’s film output.

APSA and its 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 Iberamericano, NETPAC (the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema), the Asia Pacific Screen Lab (APSL) and Griffith Film School.

All APSA nominees, International Nominations Council, Selection Panels and International Jury members are inducted into the prestigious APSA Academy presided over by Australian screen legend Jack Thompson AM PhD. The Academy boasts over 1,100 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.

About The Asia Pacific Screen Academy


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 organizations act on behalf of the members of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc (MPAA) which include; 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. For more information about the MPA and the MPA-I, please visit

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Email: [email protected]
Cathy Gallagher + 61 (0) 416 227 282 [email protected]
Alicia Brescianini + 61 (0) 400 225 603 [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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