If any country shone through it was Iran: the international jury lead by Indian actor and humanitarian Shabana Azmi gave its grand prize to Night Bus (Autobus-E Shab), for example. Films from Indonesia, Japan, Lebanon, India, Turkey and Israel were also among the winners.
'This is an initiative whose time has come, politically and culturally,' said Azmi of the awards. 'Many countries in the region have their own national awards but now they have an award that affords the highest honour to filmmakers in over 70 countries.'
Underpinning the event is the belief that film can play a big part in celebrating and preserving cultural diversity. UNESCO gaveits award with exactly this in mind to The Band's Visit from Israel.
The ambitious new awards, which have been in planning for several years and are heavily supported by the Queensland Government, were held at the Sheraton Mirage on Queensland's Gold Coast on the eve of the annual conference of the Screen Producers Association of Australia.
The Australian winner among the group was director and producer George Miller, who most recently made Happy Feet. His award, for outstanding acheivement, was from the International Federation of Film Producers Associations and the Deputy Director General Benoit Ginisty was there to present it.
Generally there was a good roll up of winners. Eventually it is expected that the annual event will be held in a different place in the region each year. Footage of the awards will be shown as part of a documentary about filmmaking in the region, to be shown internationally on CNN on November 17.
And the winners are:
Best feature film
Secret Sunshine (South Korea)
Produced by Kim In-Soo, Lee Chang-Dong and Hanna Lee
Best animated feature film
5 Centimeters Per Second (Japan)
Produced by Horitaka Kawaguchi
Best documentary feature film
Beirut Diaries: Truth, Lies And Videos (Lebanon)
Produced by Mai Masri and Jean Chamoun
Best children's feature film
Denias, Singing On The Cloud (Indonesia)
Achievement in Directing
Rakhshan Bani-Etemad and Mohsen Abdolvahab - Mainline (Iran)
Feroz Abbas Khan - Gandhi, My Father (India)
Achievement in Cinematography
Hooman Behmanesh - Those Three (Iran)
Best Performance by an Actress
Do-Yeon Jeon - Secret Sunshine (South Korea)
Best Performance by an Actor
Erkan Can - Takva: A Man's Fear Of God (Turkey)
FIAPF Award for outstanding achievement in film in the Asia-Pacific region:
Dr George Miller (Happy Feet, Babe, Lorenzo's Oil, Mad Max)
UNESCO Award for outstanding contribution to the promotion and preservation of cultural diversity through film:
The Band's Visit (Israel)
Jury Grand Prize
Night Bus (Iran)
Produced by Mehdi Homayounfar and directed by Kiumars Pourahmad