L-R Stephen Jenner MPA, Mostofa Farooki, Nusrat Imrose Tisha, Senator Chris Dodd, Mike Ellis MPA


Washington D.C.: The Motion Picture Association of America and the Australian Embassy to the United States hosted a special event at the MPAA Washington Headquarters to celebrate the success of the MPA APSA Academy Film Fund. This successful and collaborative initiative, now in its 7th year, is a cornerstone of the prestigious Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) celebrating cinematic excellence and promoting cultural diversity.

The event was hosted by Senator Chris Dodd, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America together with Ambassador Caroline Millar, Chargé d’affaires a.i., Embassy of Australia with guests in attendance including President and Managing Director Asia Pacific MPA Mike Ellis, Chairman of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards and its Academy, Michael Hawkins, and event special guest, MPA APSA Academy Film Fund recipient, Bangladeshi new wave auteur Mostofa Sarwar Farooki along with representatives from politics, the diplomatic sector, and the filmmaking community.

The MPA is a proud partner of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards, an Australian initiative that over the last ten years has built a global reputation as the region’s highest accolade in film, recognising and promoting cinematic excellence and cultural diversity of the world’s fastest growing film region: comprising 70 countries and areas, 4.5 billion people, covering one third of the earth, and responsible for half of the world’s film output.

Since 2010, the MPA has partnered with APSA and its Academy in the MPA APSA Academy Film Fund which provides development funding for new feature film projects, exclusively to APSA Academy members across the Asia Pacific. The 7th round of the MPA APSA Academy Film Fund was launched at the Beijing International Film Festival in April this year.

Senator Chris Dodd, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America said “I had the pleasure of attending the Asia Pacific Screen Awards in Queensland, Australia, in 2011. I talked to the filmmakers in attendance and found not just a respect for the APSAs, but a deep feeling of connection, of camaraderie, and of appreciation. The APSAs truly represent film’s ability to make our world a better place which is why we are so pleased to continue working together in our film project development initiative, the MPA APSA Academy Film Fund.”

Chairman of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards and its Academy, Michael Hawkins said “APSA and the MPA are united in respecting cultural diversity and APSA values its partnership with the MPA very highly. Through their support, APSA Academy members have the opportunity to apply for 4 annual grants for the vital script development stage of their films, and to date, 24 projects have been funded, with the next 4 to be announced on November 24 during the 10th APSA Ceremony. This commitment to support the films and filmmakers of Asia Pacific in telling their stories, in celebrating their rich cultural diversity, is shared by both of our organisations, and I look forward to the continuing partnership for many years to come.”

MPA APSA Academy Film Fund recipients who are currently in production on their funded film projects are Korean master Lee Chang-dong (Secret Sunshine, Poetry) , Kazakh filmmaker celebrated for TulpanSergey Dvortsevoy, Palestinian filmmaker Anne-Marie Jacir and star of A Separation, actor, director and writer Payman Moaddi.

Mostofa Sarwar Farooki was inducted into the APSA Academy in 2013 for his film Television which was nominated for APSA Best Screenplay and went on the win a the APSA Jury Grand Prize. Named as the next South-east Asian filmmaker likely to break out by The Hollywood Reporter, Farooki’s Television was selected as Closing Night of Busan International Film Festival, and picked up five further international awards from Dubai, Jogja-Indonesia, Asiatica-Roma, and Kolkata.

Speaking at the event Farooki said his MPA APSA Academy Film Fund project, NO LAND’S MAN is currently in the financing stage and is a drama which asks the question “what have we done to this world in the name of identity?”

The event culminated in a special screening of Asghar Farhadi’s MPA APSA Academy Film Fund film A Separation. Following its selection as a recipient of the MPA APSA Academy Film Fund A Separation became the first Iranian film to win the Academy Award® for Best Foreign Language Film in 2012, and the first non-English language film in five years to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. It was the first Iranian film to receive the Golden Bear for Best Film and was also awarded the Silver Bears for Best Actress and Best Actor at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival. It won the Golden Globe® for Best Foreign Language Film and the Asia Pacific Screen Award for Best Feature Film.

The 2016 MPA APSA Film Fund recipients will be announced at the tenth Asia Pacific Screen Awards ceremony in Brisbane on Thursday 24 November.

A snapshot of MPA APSA Academy Film Fund success stories: 

  • The first completed film, from the inaugural round of the Fund in 2010 was Asghar Farhadi’s A SEPARATION which went on to win over 100 awards internationally including an Academy Award®, Golden Globe®, Golden Bear and APSA for Best Film.
  • 2011 Fund recipient Maryam Ebrahimi’s NO BURQAS BEHIND BARSwas recognised worldwide, winning awards at major festivals around the globe, including the biggest TV award in Europe – the Prix Europa Award for Best TV Documentary and an International Emmy Award.
  • Shawkat Amin Korki’s MEMORIES ON STONE began its development as a 2011 Fund recipient and since completion, has garnered more than a dozen international awards including the 2014 APSA UNESCO Award. The film had an official screening at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris and at the MPAA headquarters in Washington and was Iraq’s official submission for the 88th Academy Awards® for Best Foreign Language Film.


The Asia Pacific Screen Awards are the region’s highest accolade in film and will in 2016 celebrate its tenth anniversary.  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, Nominee Selection Panels and APSA International Jury members are inducted into the APSA Academy presided over by President, Australian screen legend Jack Thompson AM PhD. The Academy boasts 1000 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, 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.


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 www.mpa-i.org.

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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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