9th Annual Asia Pacific Screen Awards

2015 APSA Best Feature Film winner Najwa Abu Bakar (Right) accepts the award for the film, Cemetery of Splendour (Thailand, Malaysia, France, Germany, United Kingdom) presented by International Jury President Kim Dong-ho (Republic of Korea)

Cemetery of Splendour (Rak ti Khon KaenThailand, Malaysia, France, Germany, United Kingdom) from Thai auteur Apichatpong Weerasethakul has won the ninth Asia Pacific Screen Award (APSA) for Best Feature Film, the region’s highest accolade in film, presented at the prestigious ceremony in Brisbane’s City Hall on Thursday evening.

Films from Thailand, Russian Federation, Turkey, People’s Republic of China, Japan, Palestine, Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Australia received accolades at the event.

The awards recognise and promote 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. In 2015, 39 films from 22 Asia Pacific countries and areas received APSA nominations.

The APSA UNESCO Award for outstanding contribution to the promotion and preservation of cultural diversity through film was awarded to Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad for The Idol (Ya Tayr El Tayer, Palestine, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Netherlands).

Assad, from the set of his new film, said ‘ Thank you dear jury for this great honor, giving us the UNESCO Award is a courageous decision at this time. The world seems to lose hope in the future. The Idol is a film about hope and our job as an artist is to keep believing in a better future. Our main job is to let people believe in making the world better, and to believe yourself that you can make a difference.’

Editor Eyas Salman, who also edited Abu-Assad’s 2013 APSA Best Feature Film winner Omar, accepted the award on the night. The Idol is inspired by the true story of 2013 Arab Idol winner Mohammed Assaf, whose rise to fame both gave hope to and united a people. Assaf has gone on to become the first Regional Youth Ambassador for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in the six decades of the organisation’s history.

The jury also gave an APSA UNESCO Award Special Mention to director Stephen Page for Spear (Australia).

“I would like to warmly congratulate all winners and nominees in tonight’s awards. The Asia Pacific Screen Awards are a true celebration of the cinematic excellence of our rapidly growing region and a unique testament to the vibrancy, diversity and divergence of Brisbane and the Asia Pacific,’ said Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk.

“APSA builds on Brisbane’s reputation as a cultural hub of the Asia Pacific region and the city’s position as Australia’s New World City,” Cr Quirk said.

APSA Chairman Michael Hawkins said ‘APSA is a vital platform that allows the voices and images of film to be promoted and acclaimed. In 2015 more than 300 films from 41 countries came to APSA in Competition, evidence that Asia Pacific is alive with vibrant and fearless filmmakers.’

‘Tonight it is a true honour for us all to share in this celebration of cultural diversity through art of filmmaking, an event that is unrivalled in Asia Pacific.’ he said.

The 5 feature craft awards and three special mentions were determined by the six member International Jury, consisting of Jury President, APSA Patron and Korean film industry legend Kim Dong-Ho, celebrated Iranian actress Negar Javaherian,award-winning writer/director Mostofa Sarwar Farooki (Bangladesh), distinguished director/writer/curator/producer and Beijing Film Academy Professor, Zhang Xianmin (People’s Republic of China), leading figure of Malaysian new wave cinema, writer/director, U-Wei Bin HajiSaari and renowned Russian writer/director Alexei Popogrebsky, who represents APSA’s Academy alliance with the European Film Academy (EFA).

Kim Dong-ho said ‘The deliberating process was incredibly hard work, due to all the nominated films being outstanding, but we’ve done our best to select ‘the best of the best’. I’d like to express my deep congratulations, not only to the winners, but also to all the nominees for their great achievement.’

The APSA for Achievement in Directing goes to Russian director Alexey German Jr for Under Electric Clouds (Pod elektricheskimi oblakami, Russian Federation, Ukraine, Poland). The award was accepted on the night by actress Victoria Korotkova.

Best Performance by an Actor went to Korean superstar Jung Jaeyoung for his role in Right Now, Wrong Then(Jigeumeun Matgo Geuttaeneun Teullida, Republic of Korea) by Korean auteur Hong Sang-soo.

Best Performance by an Actress was awarded to Kirin Kiki, one of the most influential actresses in Japan, for An (Japan, France, Germany). Kiki is the first Japanese actress to win APSA Best Performance by the Actress in the nine-year history of the event.

The jury gave a Special Mention to iconic Iranian actress Fatemeh Motamed Arya for her performance in Avalanche(Bahman, Islamic Republic of Iran).

Master cinematographer Mark Lee Ping-bing took out the award for Achievement in Cinematography for Hou Hsiao-hsien’s The Assassin(Nie Yinniang, Taiwan). Mark Lee Ping-bing has previously received two nominations in this category, in 2011 for Norwegian Wood and 2007 for The Sun Also Rises.

The Jury gave a Special Mention for Achievement in Cinematography to Lu Songye for Tharlo (People’s Republic of China).

The APSA for Best Screenplay was awarded to writer/director Senem Tüzen for Motherland(Ana Yurdu, Turkey, Greece).

The APSA International Jury awarded two Jury Grand Prizes for 2015, to:

Park Jungbum for writing/directing/acting in Alive (Sanda, Republic of Korea)

and

Emin Alper for writing and directing Frenzy (Abluka, Turkey, Qatar, France)

Winners in three feature categories were determined by the APSA Youth, Animation and Documentary International Jury. The 2015 jury consisted of Jury Chairperson writer/director/producer Shawkat Amin Korki (Iraqi Kurdistan), winner of the 2015 APSA UNESCO Award for Memories on Stone, Yuka Sakano (Japan), head of international relations for the Kawakita Memorial Film Institute in Tokyo, and Sam Ho (Hong Kong, PRC), a curator, researcher, teacher, writer and critic specialising in Hong Kong cinema.

River (Gtsngbo, People’s Republic of China), produced by Sangye and Alexandra Sun, co-produced by Pema Tseden and Du Qingchun, won the Best Youth Feature FilmRiver, the touching story told from the perspective of a young Tibetan girl, is directed by APSA Academy member Sonthar Gyal who was a 2011 APSA Children’s Film Fund recipient for the project. The Jury awarded River as the winner ‘for realising a child’s special vision of humanity through an expression at once serene, spiritual and cinematic.’

Best Documentary Feature Film winner is The Chinese Mayor (Datong, People’s Republic of China), produced by Zhao Qi. The jury called the film ‘A powerful and provocative representation of a country going through radical change at a rapid pace, with a multi-faceted but even-handed portrayal of cultural, economic and political forces.’

Winner of the APSA for Best Animated Feature Film is Miss Hokusai (Sarusuberi: Miss Hokusai, Japan), produced by Keiko Matsushita and Asako Nishikawa. The Jury said ‘Miss Hokusai is a magical marriage of the divergent media of Japanese painting and film animation, blending the special qualities of both disciplines with poetic beauty and evocative storytelling.’

The prestigious APSA FIAPF Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film in the Asia Pacific region was awarded to Egyptian screen icon Esaad Younis. Younis accepted the award on the night from Asia Pacific Screen Academy President Jack Thompson AM.

The APSA Academy NETPAC Development Prize was awarded to actor turned director Mirlan Abdykalykov for his debut feature film Heavenly Nomadic (Sutak) from Kyrgyzstan. The prize of US$10,000 is supported by Griffith Film School, Griffith University and 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.

APSA, proudly presented by Treasury Casino and Hotel, is supported by Brisbane City Council and managed by economic development board Brisbane Marketing in a unique collaboration with Paris-based UNESCO and FIAPF – International Federation of Film Producers Associations.

All nominees, International Nominations Council and APSA International Jury members are inducted into the APSA Academy led over by President, Australian screen legend Jack Thompson. The Academy boasts over 750 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.

IMAGES: Red carpet and APSA ceremony images are available to download from: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/41whvgeczw69ioz/AACEIOgZm8yRqMRsTvB2fkuta?dl=0

NEWS PACKAGE DOWNLOAD/FTP SITE
A 10 minute news package will be edited following the ceremony and available for media to download: details to come

APSA 2015 – full list of WINNERS

BEST FEATURE FILM
Cemetery of Splendour (Rak ti Khon Kaen)
Thailand, Malaysia, France, Germany, United Kingdom
Produced by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Keith Griffiths, Simon Field, Charles de Meaux, Michael Weber, Hans W. Geißendörfer
Co-produced by Viola Fügen, Najwa Abu Bakar, Moisés Cosio Espinosa, Eric Vogel, Ingunn Sundelin, Joslyn Barnes, Caroleen Feeney, Danny Glover.

BEST YOUTH FEATURE FILM
River (Gtsngbo)
People’s Republic of China
Produced by Sangye and Alexandra Sun
Co-Produced by Pema Tseden and Du Qingchun

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
Miss Hokusai (Sarusuberi: Miss Hokusai)
Japan
Produced by Keiko Matsushita, Asako Nishikawa

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE FILM
The Chinese Mayor (Datong)
People’s Republic of China
Produced by Zhao Qi

ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING
Alexey German Jr for Under Electric Clouds (Pod elektricheskimi oblakami)
Russian Federation, Ukraine, Poland

BEST SCREENPLAY
Senem Tüzen for Motherland (Ana Yurdu)
Turkey, Greece

ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY
Mark Lee Ping-bing for The Assassin (Nie Yinniang)
Taiwan

SPECIAL MENTION: ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY
Lu Songye for Tharlo
People’s Republic of China

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS
Kirin Kiki in An
Japan, France, Germany

SPECIAL MENTION: BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS
Fatemeh Motamed Arya in Avalanche (Bahman)
Islamic Republic of Iran

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR
Jung Jaeyoung in Right Now, Wrong Then (Jigeumeun Matgo Geuttaeneun Teullida)
Republic of Korea

APSA UNESCO AWARD
Hany Abu-Assad for The Idol (Ya Tayr El Tayer)
Palestine, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Netherlands

SPECIAL MENTION: APSA UNESCO AWARD
Stephen Page for Spear
Australia

FIAPF AWARD for Outstanding Achievement in Film in the Asia Pacific region
Esaad Younis (Egypt)

APSA ACADEMY NETPAC DEVELOPMENT PRIZE
Mirlan Abdykalykov for Heavenly Nomadic (Sutak)
Kyrgyzstan

JURY GRAND PRIZE
Park Jungbum for writing/directing/acting in Alive (Sanda),
Republic of Korea

JURY GRAND PRIZE
Emin Alper for writing and directing Frenzy (Abluka)
Turkey, Qatar, France

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