The Queensland Government today launched the Asia Pacific Screen Awards, which will get global coverage from CNN, giving filmmakers from 70 countries an opportunity to showcase their work.

The first awards presentation ceremony will be held Nov 13, the first night of the annual conference of Screen Producers Association of Australia. The awards will eventually travel from city to city in a huge footprint including Iran, Afghanistan, Tokyo and Fiji.

Queensland Events Corporation have been planning the awards for three years. It principally stages big sporting events.

'As someone with a love of film, I have long felt that film-makers in the part of the world I share are disadvantaged without the promotional might of Hollywood through its two biggest events, the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes,' said Queensland Events chair Des Power, a former Brisbane International Film Festival chair who written and produced feature films.

Power discussed forming partnerships with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which runs the Golden Globes, and the Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union, but eventually decided that they would create the organisational infrastructure themselves, providing they could get a broadcaster to give the event scale.

The charter is now being developed with the international producers' association FIAPF and the initiative has the endorsement of UNESCO - one of probably 10 awards will be billed as a UNESCO honour. A nine-person nominations council and a five-person jury, likely to include at least one person from outside the region, will be known in the next month or two.

Power has met with literally hundreds of people in countries across the globe as part of planning these awards.

Queensland Premier Peter Beattie especially emphasized the cultural aspects of the awards during his speech: 'The initiative has the support of UNESCO who see film as possibly the most powerful influence on cultural change but also the means by which we can best preserve our respective cultures, learn about one another and develop greater understanding.'

Filmmakers Clara Law and Rolf de Heer both spoke in support of the awards at the launch, which was held at Brisbane's impresssive new Gallery of Modern Art.

'We share the same humanity but at the same time have our differences. It would be great if we could understand those differences and make the world a better place,' said Law. During her speech she also questioned whether film critics should review films from cultures they know nothing about.