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Asia Pacific Screen Awards give best film honour to A Separation

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia wins three prizes including Screen International Jury Grand Prize.

The jury of the fifth Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) has awarded the best film honour to A Separation, while Once Upon A Time In Anatolia has won three awards, including the Screen International Jury Grand Prize.

This evening on Queensland’s Gold Coast, jury president, Hong Kong producer Nansun Shi, was the first to congratulate A Separation’s Iranian writer/director/producer Asghar Farhadi as she handed him one of the elegant vases that are the physical representation of the APSAs.

Farhadi and his emotive family drama have won prizes across the globe, including the Sydney Film Prize, a Golden Bear for best film at the Berlin International Film Festival, the award for best film at Durban and the TVE Otra Mirada Award at San Sebastian.

Turkish producer Zeynep Özbatur Atakan accepted the Screen International Jury Grand Prize for the atmospheric police drama Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, and also the directing award on behalf of Nuri Bilge Ceylan, but cinematographer Gökhan Tiryaki received his honour directly.

“The films in the competition are all very, very wonderful films, but (these) two films stood out to the jury as outstanding in all aspects of their filmmaking …,” said Shi. “They are very different kinds of films, but both of them are the same in their excellence in every aspect of their filmmaking: from screenplay, to directing, to performances, to their technical craftsmanship such as cinematography and editing, everything.”

Nahed El Sebai, Bushra and Nelly Karim, the three actresses in Cairo 678, a brave exploration of sexism in Egypt, were also highly commended under the banner of the Screen International Jury Grand Prize.

The UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) Award, which directly acknowledges the distinctiveness of the APSA Awards’ focus on cultural diversity, went to Australian writer/director Ivan Sen for his film Toomelah, which coincidentally released in Australian cinemas today.

Denis Osokin won the screenplay award for Silent Souls, from the Russian Federation, and Yoon Sung-hyun was highly commended for his script for the Korean film Bleak Night.

In the acting categories, Russia’s Nadezhda Markina was honoured for her performance in Elena and China’s Wang Baoqiang for Mr Tree. Director Andrei Zviagintsev was also highly commended for his work on Elena.

Buta won the category for features for children – becoming the first APSA winner from Azerbaijan – while Iran’s Wind and Fog got an honourable mention. The Korean film Leafie won the category for animated films. I Was Worth 50 Sheep topped the documentary feature nominations, with Pink Saris getting a commendation.

As announced two weeks ago, Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou won the FIAPF (International Federation of Film Producers Associations) Award.

The 550 guests at the ceremony, including representatives from all 19 countries and territories nominated, also heard who is to receive the latest batch of APSA development grants.

The recipients of $25,000 from the Motion Picture Association/APSA Academy Film Fund are: Shawkat Amin Korki (Iraq/Kurdistan), Memories on Stone; Peyman Moadi (Iran), Those Days; Maryam Ebrahimi (Iranian-born Swedish filmmaker), Burqas Behind Bars; and Pryas Gupta (India), The Cricket Tree.

The recipients of $25,000 from the APSA Children’s Film Fund (a partnership with Manila-based 4 Boys Films) are: Garin Nugroho (Indonesia), The Seen and The Unseen; Songtaijia (China/Tibet), The Stone with Nine Eyes.

More than 70 filmmakers from 25 countries applied for this funding. All are among the 500 members belonging to the APSA Academy.

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