The Asia Pacific Screen Awards and CNN presented the power and reach of Asia-Pacific film through a jointly-produced television series broadcast throughout October and November 2008 on CNN International in the lead up to the 2008 Awards.
Titled Scene by Scene – Films of Asia Pacific, each episode aired to 249 million households and hotel rooms around the world in more than 200 countries and territories. This continues a journey to promote the films and filmmakers of Asia-Pacific to a global audience; to realise the objectives of UNESCO to promote and preserve our respective cultures through the influential medium of film.
The 2008 Awards Ceremony was also feature in a special edition of CNN International’s monthly entertainment program, The Screening Room, hosted by Myleene Klass.
Episode One: New Zealand / Pakistan / Thailand
Scene By Scene gets a rare tour of what’s become known as ‘Wellywood’—the state-of-the-art filmmaking empire established in the New Zealand capital, Wellington, by Academy Award winner, Peter Jackson, and business partner, Richard Taylor. The best example of Weta Workshop may be Gollum from Lord of the Rings, but Taylor says the movie world is about to be stunned by James Cameron’s Avatar and Steven Spielberg and Jackson’s Tintin which are both in production in Weta. The Australian film Son of a Lion, filmed in Pakistan, tells the story of a young boy born into a family of gun manufacturers in remote Pakistan who prefers school. It’s a significant achievement for director, Benjamin Gilmour, an Australian paramedic who ventured into the remote and dangerous Pashtun area of North West Pakistan to make the film. Scene By Scene goes on location with Thailand’s royal filmmaker, Prince Chatrichalerm Yukol, as he shoots an epic period story involving thousands of extras and over 200 elephants. One of the best known and most successful Thai film directors, Chatri’s film Suriyothai became the country’s highest grossing film earning more than $18 million at the box office.
Episode Two: Russia / Jordan / Palestinian Territories
From just $65 million ticket sales in 2001 to $500 million in 2007, Scene By Scene takes an inside look at the world’s fastest growing film industry, interviewing the renowned producer, Alexander Rodnyansky. He talks candidly about his fears of a return to authoritarianism and has been told personally by Russian Presidents, Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev, that there are limits to what filmmakers can do. Scene By Scene travels to Palestinian Territories and interviews two wellknown filmmakers. Having produced a number of award-winning documentaries including ljtiyah (Invasion), Live from Palestine and Tahadi (Challenge), director/producer, Raed Andoni is currently producing Fix Me, a personal journey into the political and cultural environment of Palestinian Territories. Scene By Scene also talks to filmmaker/poet, Annemarie Jacir, who was named one of Filmmaker magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Cinema, but has been denied entry to the Palestinian Territories. Scene By Scene examines how Jordan’s new film industry is by royal command. Her Royal Highness, Princess Rym Ali, a board member of the Royal Film Commission, lays out the Royal Family’s vision to make Jordan a powerhouse of Middle Eastern cinema by attracting filmmakers from all over the region. Jordanian director, Amin Matalqa, also talks on his decision to return from Los Angeles to direct an award winning film, Captain Abu Raed.
Episode Three: Israel / India
Even bigger and more popular than Bollywood, Scene By Scene focuses on the Telugu cinema in southern India, known as Tollywood and interviews one of Bollywood’s biggest stars, actor and director, Ashutosh Gowariker, whose film Lagaan was nominated for an Oscar in 2001. He shares with Scene By Scene his latest directorial work, Jodhaa Akbar, a period movie starring Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai. Scene By Scene talks to Eran Riklis, one of Israel’s leading filmmakers. Growing up in Israel, and having lived in the USA and Brazil, Riklis directed numerous TV dramas and documentaries for Israeli television. His best known film Syrian Bride won the top award at Montreal Film Festival and the most recent film Lemon Tree entered in this year’s Asia Pacific Screen Awards.
Episode Four: China / Australia
Director Baz Luhrmann, whose highly original cinematic eye has aken him to the heights of his profession with smash hits such as Strictly Ballroom, Romeo & Juliet and Moulin Rouge, has now overseen one of the most expensive and ambitious films ever shot in Australia, an epic period drama to compare with Gone With The Wind, starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman. Scene By Scene goes behind the scenes of Australia and chats with the director about his latest production. Scene By Scene visits the set of Mao’s Last Dancer, the newest film of Academy Award nominated director and Asia Pacific Screen Awards Jury President, Bruce Beresford, which tells the true story of Li Cunxin, a boy from a poverty stricken home in rural China who becomes one of the world’s most celebrated ballet dancers. Scene By Scene also hears from the movie’s leading actor, Chi Cao.