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2009 APSA Nominees Announced: 37 Films from 16 Countries

Samson & Delilah
(Australia), Nanjing! Nanjing! (City of Life and Death, People’s Republic of China), Darbareye Elly (About Elly, Islamic Republic of Iran) Mei Lanfang (Forever Enthralled, People’s Republic of China) and The Time That Remains (Palestinian Territories/France/Italy/Belgium/UK) will vie for Best Feature Film in the 2009 Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA).

Winners of the region’s highest accolade in film will be announced on November 26 at the third annual APSA Ceremony on Australia’s Gold Coast.

The Asia Pacific Screen Awards has announced nominees in nine award categories with 37 films representing 16 countries and areas. They are: Australia, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Palestinian Territories, People’s Republic of China (Mainland China/Hong Kong), Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Turkey.

APSA Chairman Des Power said, “I congratulate the 2009 nominees who represent the extraordinary breadth of talent that exists in our region in a year when the quality of Asia-Pacific films is exceptional. Nominees were determined from a record number of 212 entries from 43 countries and areas. The response indicates that the filmmakers of Asia-Pacific value our mission to acclaim their work and take it to a global audience.”

APSA is a unique collaboration between CNN International, UNESCO and FIAPF-International Federation of Film Producers Associations. Films are judged on cinematic excellence and the way in which they attest to their cultural origins.

Japan is strongly represented in 2009 with a total of seven nominations followed by the People’s Republic of China with six. India, Iran, Russian Federation and Republic of Korea all received five nominations. Three Australian films are nominated (Mary and Max, Gandhi’s Children, Samson & Delilah) and this marks the first time an Australian film has been recognised in the Best Feature category. Countries nominated in the APSAs for the first time this year are Thailand and Cambodia.

Asghar Farhadi’s ensemble drama, Darbareye Elly (About Elly, Islamic Republic of Iran), has received the most nominations of any film (Best Feature Film, Achievement in Directing, Best Screenplay and Best Performance by an Actress), followed closely by Lu Chuan’s arresting war epic, Nanjing! Nanjing! (City of Life and Death, People’s Republic of China), which earned three nominations for Directing, Cinematography and Best Feature Film.

Asia-Pacific’s finest have been recognised in the performance categories. The nominated actresses are: Zhou Xun as a chain-smoking cabbie in Li Mi de Caixiang (The Equation of Love and Death), Kim Hye-ja as a fiercely devoted mother in Bong Joon-ho’s Madeo (Mother), Golshifteh Farahani’s standout performance as Sepideh in Darbareye Elly (About Elly), Yana Troyanova’s complex portrayal of a sociopathic mother in Volchok (Wolfy) and the ‘Queen of Sri Lankan cinema’, Malani Fonseka, as the overbearing matriarch in Akasa Kusum (Flowers of the Sky).

The nominated actors are: Masahiro Motoki for his tender performance as a cellist/mortician in Okuribito (Departures), Yang Ik-june for his portrayal of a low-life gangster in his directorial debut, Ddongpari (Breathless), Mohamed Bakri as a judge earning a living as a taxi driver in Eid Milad Laila (Laila’s Birthday), Ge You as a lonely bachelor looking for love in Fei Cheng Wu Rao (If You Are the One) and legendary Indian actor Naseeruddin Shah (Monsoon Wedding) as ‘the common man’ in A Wednesday.

Several nominees in 2009 have previously been nominated in the APSAs and are therefore Members of the Academy of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards. They are: Tulpan producer Karl Baumgartner nominated this year for Strength of Water, Mongol producer Sergey Selyanov nominated this year for Pro Fedota-Streltsa, Udalogo Molodtsa (The Tale of Soldier Fedot, the Daring Fellow) and 2007 Best Feature Film Winner, Lee Chang-dong, nominated this year for Ye Haeng Ja (A Brand New Life).

Winners are decided by the International Jury headed by Huang Jianxin who will assemble on Australia’s Gold Coast ahead of the APSA ceremony on November 26. The 2009 Nominees join past Jury members and nominees as members of the Academy of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards.

 

The nominees in the 2009 Asia Pacific Screen Awards are:

 

BEST FEATURE FILM

Darbareye Elly (About Elly), Islamic Republic of Iran
Produced by Asghar Farhadi and Mahmoud Razavi

Nanjing! Nanjing! (City Of Life And Death), People’s Republic of China
Produced by Han Sanping, Qin Hong, Zhou Li, John Chong, and Andy Zhang

Mei Lanfang (Forever Enthralled), People’s Republic of China
Produced by Han Sanping, Du Jiayi

Samson & Delilah, Australia
Produced by Kath Shelper

The Time That Remains, Palestinian Territories/France/Italy/Belgium/UK
Produced by Hani Farsi and Elia Suleiman. Co-Produced by Avi Kleinberger.

 

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
Perviy Otryad (First Squad: The Moment Of Truth), Russian Federation / Japan / Canada
Produced by Eiko Tanaka, Misha Sprits and Aljosha Klimov

Mary and Max, Australia
Produced by Melanie Coombs

Sukai Kurora (The Sky Crawlers), Japan
Produced by Tomohiko Ishii

Samâ Wôzu (Summer Wars), Japan
Produced by Nozomu Takahashi, Takuya Ito and Takashi Watanabe. Co-Produced by Yuichiro Saito.

Pro Fedota-Streltsa, Udalogo Molodtsa (The Tale Of Soldier Fedot, The Daring Fellow), Russian Federation, Produced by Alexander Boyarsky and Sergey Selyanov

 

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE FILM

Polamuang Juling (Citizen Juling), Thailand
Produced by Ing K, Manit Sriwanichpoom and Kraisak Choonhavan

Hashmatsa (Defamation), Israel / Austria / Denmark / USA
Produced by Knut Ogris, Karoline Leth, Sandra Itkoff and Philippa Kowarsky

Gandhi’s Children, Australia
Produced by David MacDougall

L’important, c’est de Rester Vivant (Survive, In the Heart of the Khmer Rouge Madness), Cambodia / France Produced by Gerard Lacroix, Leslie F. Grunberg, Gerard Pont
Co-Produced by Rosane Chan, Antoine Martin

Seishin (Mental), Japan / USA
Produced by Kazuhiro Soda

 

BEST CHILDREN’S FEATURE FILM

Mommo – Kizkardesim (The Bogeyman), Turkey
Produced by Atalay Tasdiken

Ye Haeng Ja (A Brand New Life), South Korea / France
Produced by Lee Chang-dong, Laurent Lavole and Lee Joon-dong

3 Doa 3 Cinta (Pesantren: 3 Wishes 3 Loves), Indonesia
Produced by Nan Achnas, Nurman Hakim and Adiyanto Sumarjono

The Strength Of Water, New Zealand / Germany
Produced by Fiona Copland, Co-produced by Karl Baumgartner and Raimond Goebel

Tahaan (Tahaan: A Boy With A Grenade), India
Produced by Shripal Morakhia and Mubina Rattonsey

 

ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING

Asghar Farhadi for Darbareye Elly (About Elly), Islamic Republic of Iran

Vimukthi Jayasundara for Ahasin Wetei (Between Two Worlds), Sri Lanka / France

Lu Chuan for Nanjing! Nanjing! (City of Life and Death), People’s Republic of China

Anurag Kashyap for Dev.D (India)

Sion Sono for Ai No Mukidashi (Love Exposure), Japan

 

BEST SCREENPLAY

Asghar Farhadi for Darbareye Elly (About Elly), Islamic Republic of Iran

Kundo Koyama for Okuribito (Departures), Japan

Baek Seung-bin for Jang-rye-sik-ui Member (Members of the Funeral), Republic of Korea

Bong Joon-ho and Park Eun-kyo for Madeo (Mother), Republic of Korea

Yogesh Vinayak Joshi and Upendra Sidhaye for Mumbai Meri Jaan (Mumbai My Life), India

 

ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY

Uruphong Raksasad for Sawan Baan Na (Agrarian Utopia), Thailand

Cao Yu for Nanjing! Nanjing! (City of Life and Death), People’s Republic of China

Ali Mohammad Ghasemi for Cheraghi Dar Meh (A Light in the Fog), Islamic Republic of Iran

Alisher Khamidhodjaev and Maxim Drozdov for Bumaznyj Soldat (Paper Soldier), Russian Federation

Alexei Arsentiev for Volchok (Wolfy), Russian Federation

 

BEST PERFORMANCE BY ACTRESS

Golshifteh Farahani for Darbareye Elly (About Elly), Islamic Republic of Iran

Zhou Xun for Li Mi De Caixiang (The Equation of Love and Death), People’s Republic of China (Mainland China / Hong Kong)

Malani Fonseka for Akasa Kusum (Flowers of the Sky), Sri Lanka / India

Kim Hye-ja for Madeo (Mother), Republic of Korea

Yana Troyanova for Volchok (Wolfy), Russian Federation

 

BEST PERFORMANCE BY ACTOR

Masahiro Motoki for Okuribito (Departures), Japan

Naseeruddin Shah for A Wednesday, India

Mohamed Bakri for Eid Mila Laila (Laila’s Birthday), Palestinian Territories / Tunisia / Netherlands

Yang Ik-june for Ddongpari (Breathless), Republic of Korea

Ge You for Fei Cheng Wu Rao (If You Are the One), People’s Republic of China (Mainland China / Hong Kong)

 

Three additional major awards will be presented for outstanding achievement:

1. FIAPF Award, FIAPF – International Federation of Film Producers Associations will determine the winner of the award for outstanding achievement in film in the Asia-Pacific region.

2. UNESCO Award* The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Award for outstanding contribution to the promotion and preservation of cultural diversity through film.

3. Jury Grand Prize* The Jury can, at its discretion, present a further award: the Jury Grand Prize.

*Nominees and nominated films from all award categories are eligible for these prizes to be decided by the APSA Jury.