The Turkish film industry was honoured at the sixth annual Asia Pacific Film Awards (APSAs), with three films among the winning line-up including Beyond the Hill, which was judged best feature.
Beyond the Hill was a debut for writer/director Emin Alper and he and producer Enis Köstepen, accepted the award from Jan Chapman, Australian producer and jury president, at the ceremony held at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre in Brisbane, Australia. A co-production between Turkey and Greece, the drama lays bare the emotional effects of war.
Turkish film Night Of Silence earned writer/director Reis Çelik’s the award for best screenplay. Almost all the action in this film happens in one room between a teenage bride and the much older man she has just married in order to settle an old dispute.
Rhino Season, a co-production with Iraqi-Kurdistan and the third film involving Turkey, earned an APSA for cinematographer Touraj Aslani.
Filipino film Thy Womb also did well at the APSAs, earning Brillante Mendoza the award for best director and veteran star Nora Aunor, whose character helps her husband find a second wife, the award for best actress.
This year, for the first time, the APSAs and the Brisbane International Film Festival coincided and both Night Of Silence and Thy Womb were two of the nominated films in the festival programme.
In another first, a film from Iraq was honoured with an APSA, it being In My Mother’s Arms, which was judged best documentary.
A Letter to Momo, from Japan, was presented with the prize for best animated feature and The Mirror Never Lies from Indonesia won the children’s feature category. Grand jury prizes went to Anurag Kashyap for his direction of the Indian film Gangs of Wasseypur, and to Cho Min-soo for her performance in the Korean film Pieta.
Films in the APSA Awards are judged on both cinematic excellence and on the way in which they attest to their cultural origina, and the UNESCO Award is most symbolic of the latter. This year it was presented to Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale.
Among the many highlights of the presentation were two performances by Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, who was presented with the APSA FIAPF (International Federation of Film Producers Associations) Award for outstanding achievement in film in the Asia Pacific region, despite having lived in New York for the past 22 years.
Films from a total of ten countries were honoured at the APSAs. In addition to deciding on the winners, a number of films were highly commended by the judges and are included in the list below.
Each year all nominees are admitted to the APSA Academy and become eligible to apply for development funds. During the presentation it was announced that six members had successfully submitted projects. They are:
- (MPA APSA Film Fund) Mohammad Rasoulof (Iran) for Amnesia;
- Suha Arraf (Israel) for It All Started with a Poster;
- Zeynep Özbatur Atakan (Turkey) for No Tears;
- Kath Shelper (Australia) for The Guardians;
- (Children’s Film Fund) Nan Achnas (Indonesia) for Beautiful Shadows;
- Ainsley Gardiner (New Zealand) for The Song Jar.
In other news from Queensland this week, Lauren Greenfield’s extraordinary The Queen of Versailles won BIFFDOCS, the documentary competition run as part of BIFF.
Full list of winners
BEST FEATURE FILM
Beyond The Hill (Turkey, Greece), producers Enis Köstepen, Emin Alper, the late Seyfi Teoman, co-producer Nikos Moutselos.
Highly commended: Nameless Gangster: Rules Of The Time (Republic of Korea), producers Park Shin-kyu, Han Jae-duk
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE FILM
In My Mother’s Arms (Iraq, UK, Netherlands), producers Isabelle Stead, Mohamed Jabarah Al-Daradji, Atia Jabarah Al-Daradji,
Highly commended: Planet Of Snail (Republic of Korea, Japan, Finland), producers Kim Min-chul, Gary Kam, co-producers Janne Niskala, Imamura Ken-ichi.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
A Letter To Momo (Japan), producers Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, Hiroyuki Ikeda, Shigeru Watanabe, Kazuya Hamana.
BEST CHILDREN’S FEATURE FILM
The Mirror Never Lies (Indonesia), producers Garin Nugroho, Nadine Chandrawinata.
ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING
Brillante Mendoza, Thy Womb (Philippines)
Highly commended: Cheng Er, Lethal Hostage (China)
Reis Çelik, Night Of Silence
ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY
Touraj Aslani, Rhino Season (Iraqi-Kurdistan,Turkey)
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR
Choi Min-sik, Nameless Gangster: Rules Of The Time
Highly commended: Lior Ashkenazi, Footnote (Israel)
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS
Nora Aunor, Thy Womb
Highly commended: Darya Ekamasova, Once Upon A Time There Lived A Simple Woman (Russia)
SCREEN INTERNATIONAL JURY GRAND PRIZE
Anurag Kashyap for his direction of Gangs Of Wasseypur (India).
Cho Min-soo for her performance in Pieta (Korea)
Highly commended: Joseph Cedar for his screenplay for Footnote
Warriors Of The Rainbow: Seediq Bale (Taiwan), director Wei Te-sheng, producers John Woo, Terence Chang.
APSA FIAPF Award
Ryuichi Sakamoto, composer.