Encouraging dialogue, collaboration and business relationships between filmmakers is the underlying aim of the establishment of The Academy of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSAs).

The next step in the development of the awards was announced in Brisbane today by Queensland Premier Anna Bligh.

'The APSAs bring the best filmmakers from the region together... (and) it is my hope that co-productions and other initiatives between the 72 countries that form the APSA network will result,' said APSA chair Des Power.

Actor Jack Thompson (Breaker Morant), one of the presenters at the inaugural awards last year, is the patron. All 65 nominees from 2007 will be inducted into The Academy, followed by a similar number from this year's awards, which are being held on Queensland 's Gold Coast on November 11, the night before the annual conference of the Screen Producers Association of Australia. Eventually members will be part of the voting process.

The awards recognise the cinematic excellence of Asia-Pacific films that best reflect their cultural origins and one of the aims is to promote these films and their filmmakers and develop new global markets.

The inaugural Academy members will include Kiumars Pourahmad, director of grand jury prize winner Night Bus from Iran, Kim In-soo, Lee Chang-dong and Hanna Lee, the Korean producers of best feature film winner Secret Sunshine, Australian filmmaker Dr George Miller, who won the FIAPF Award for outstanding achievement, and director Eran Kolirin and producers Eilon Ratzkovsky and Ehud Bleiberg, who won the UNESCO Award for cultural diversity for their film The Band's Visit from Israel.

While the APSAs are a cultural initiative of the Queensland Government, the annual presentation will travel between member countries in coming years. The partners included UNESCO, FIAPF and the broadcaster CNN International. FIAPF president Andres Vicente Gomez will be one of the guests at the international launch of this year's awards, to be held in Cannes.