Chinese filmmaker Huang Jianxin is to head the international jury that will decide who will be going home with Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSAs) after the presentation on Australia’s Gold Coast on November 26.

The four other filmmakers from across the region who are on the jury are Tahmineh Milani (Superstar) from Iran, Feroz Abbas Khan (Ghandi My Father) from India, Gina Kim (Never Forever) from Korea and veteran screenwriter David Williamson (Gallipoli) from Australia.

Huang’s most recent film, Founding Of A Republic, which he co-directed with Han San-ping, overtook Red Cliff this year to break the record for the best weekend performance by a local film in China. One of China’s Fifth Generation filmmakers, he is chair of the Beijing Film Director’s Association, has won over 60 awards for his work and is a partner in Beijing-based production company We Pictures.

“The People’s Republic of China is a great filmmaking nation and the influence of its cinema has been felt around the world for generations,” said APSA chair Des Power when announcing the jury today. “In a year when China celebrates the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, it is timely that a Chinese filmmaker presides over our international jury. We have great respect for the film heritage of China and their filmmakers.”

The 2009 APSA finalists are being announced this Monday October 12. A record 212 film entries from 43 countries have been considered in the third annual awards. The films come from a region that encompasses 70 countries and produces half the world’s output and they are judged on their cinematic excellence and cultural value.

The Queensland Government set up the awards as an international cultural initiative and key partners include CNN International, UNESCO and FIAPF, the International Federation of Film Producers Associations.

Huang Jianxin’s selection is in contrast last year’s choice of Bruce Beresford as jury president. Beresford’s latest film Mao’s Last Dancer was partly filmed under the radar in China and tells the true-life story of Chinese-board Li Cunxin, a dancer who defected to the US. After only a week on screens it is the local hit of 2009 in Australia.