The first Scene By Scene—Films of Asia Pacific, screened globally on November 10 2007. This unprecedented and extraordinary initiative, originating from Australia, began a campaign to promote the films, actors, directors and cultures of our region to a global audience, realising the objectives of UNESCO to promote and preserve our respective cultures through the valuable medium of film.
From high in the Himalayan mountains the Scene by Scene documentaries weave their way through the sub continent, central Asia and the Middle East, then on to North and South East Asia and Australia.
APSA, in association with CNN, presented the outstanding works of filmmakers across the Asia Pacific region in two documentaries titled Scene By Scene, broadcast globally on CNN International in November. In 2007, the formative year of the APSAs, stories in Scene By Scene came from film studios, festivals and film sets spanning Cairo, Istanbul, Ho Chi Minh City, Seoul, Tokyo, Singapore, New Zealand, Bhutan and Beijing.
Filmmakers from the region feature, including Hong Kong’s John Woo on the set of his new film The Battle of Red Cliff; Egyptian screen idol Omar Sharif, Indian superstar and APSA International Jury President Shabana Azmi, co-founder of Japan’s legendary anime house Studio Ghibli—Mamoru Oshii, and director of the Korean blockbuster The Host—Bong Joon-ho.
We shot over the shoulder of John Woo, best known to western audiences as director of Mission Impossible 2, as he directed The Battle of Red Cliff, the $65 million epic shot simultaneously at two locations in China. In stark contrast that of Che-Ring Wangyel from Bhutan, shooting his latest movie on video in the knowledge that there is only one cinema in Bhutan where his movie can be shown.
In Egypt, we meet filmmaker Wahid Hamed who explains the risks and controversy that have accompanied his latest production. Prominent Chinese director Chen Kaige (Farewell My Concubine), calls on the communist authorities in China to relax their censorship policies as they prepare to host the 2008 Olympic Games. While in Vietnam we gain exclusive access to the inner workings of the Chief Censor’s Office as he decides whether 85 million Vietnamese will be allowed to view Pirate’s of the Carribean: At World’s End.
Award-winning journalist Graham Davis interviews Singapore’s Royston Tan, who at just 30 years of age, caused uproar with his film 15. Indonesia’s foremost director Garin Nugroho talks candidly about the changes in his country and his hope for better times ahead. Iraqi Kurd Shawkat Amin Korki tells us he wanted to make a film about the capacity of humans for goodness, even in the most evil of circumstances. And we meet 2006 Pusan Festival major prize winner Huynh Luu, whose moving film The White Silk Dress was a big hit in Vietnam.