Winners in the Asia Pacific Screen Awards are determined by an International Jury of renowned filmmakers. The Jury meets ahead of the Awards Ceremony to watch the nominated films and deliberate on the winners.
Shyam Benegal, Jury President (India)
Shyam Benegal has made 26 feature films, several documentaries and television series including, notably, a 53-hour TV series on the History of India. He has won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi seven times, first in 1975 and as recently as 2000, and has won 28 in other categories.
His debut feature Ankur in 1974 confirmed Mr Benegal as a member of India’s New Wave Cinema. Nominated for the Golden Bear at the 24th Berlinale, Ankur was India’s Official Entry for the Academy Awards®, received the three National Film Awards and introduced actress Shabana Azmi (APSA Jury President 2007) to the screen.
Among his many national and international awards are two of the Government of India’s most prestigious awards. In1976 he received the Padma Shri, awarded in recognition of distinguished contribution of a citizen of India in various spheres of activity including the Arts, and in 1991 he received the even more prestigious Padma Bhushan, awarded to recognise distinguished service of a high order to the nation, in any field.
Shyam Benegal is also the recipient of the Indira Gandhi National Integration Award, 2004, and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for Lifetime Achievement 2005. In 2007, he was awarded the honorary title of Doctor of Letters from the Jamia Millia University, New Delhi and also from University of Calcutta in 2011.
Shyam Benegal was a Homi Bhabha fellow (1970-72) during which time he studied Children’s Television with CTW in New York and worked as Associate Producer with WGBH, Boston. He has lectured at many institutions in India and abroad and has participated in seminars on subjects dealing with Cinema, Television, Information Technology and aspects of social and cultural change.
Shyam Benegal runs a film production company in Mumbai and was a Member of the Indian Parliament’s Upper House, Rajya Sabha, from 2006 to 2012.
He is currently working on an important television production Samvidhaan (Constitution) on the establishment of the Indian constitution in 1950 when India officially became the modern and contemporary Republic of India. It will premiere to Indian audiences early 2014.
Hon Dr Malani Fonseka (sri Lanka)
The Hon. Dr. (Ms) Malani Fonseka, is widely regarded as the “Queen of Sri Lankan Cinema” and in 2010 she was appointed as a Member of the Sri Lankan Parliament. This year she is celebrating 50 years of her acting career in theatre and cinema.
Starting out in stage productions, Dr. Fonseka made her feature film debut with Tissa Liyansuriya’s Punchi Baba (The Little Baby, 1968). She has acted in more than 150 feature films to date, not including her many television and stage appearances.
In 1985 she was conferred with the Kala Suri, the national honour for special contributions to the development of the arts by the Sri Lankan President. Then in 1996 the Sri Lankan President awarded her the Wishwa Prasadini Appreciation award for services rendered to the Sri Lankan cinema industry. Dr. Fonseka received the Presidential Awards for Best Actress for her roles in Bambaru Avith (The Wasps Are Here, 1978), Wasanthaye Dawasak (One Day in the Spring, 1979) and Aradhana (Invitation, 1981).
Dr. Fonseka has been awarded more than a dozen Signis (OCIC) Awards and Sarasaviya Film Awards, and many other national awards including an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Visual and Performing Arts, Colombo.
Having worked with Sri Lanka’s finest directors, she has won accolades both locally and internationally. For one of her most recent films, Akasa Kusum (Flowers of the Sky), she was awarded the Silver Peacock for Best Actress at the 39th International Film Festival of India, the Best Actress Award at Itay’s Levante International Film Festival, and nominated for Best Performance by an Actress at the 2009 Asia Pacific Screen Awards.
In addition to her acting career, Dr. Fonseka has also produced and directed three films including Sasara Chetana (1984), Ahinsa (1987) and Sthree (Woman, 1991). She was a member of the International Jury of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), 2012.
CNN named Dr. Fonseka as one of the Asia’s 25 great actresses of all time.
Kim Tae-yong (Republic of Korea)
Korean writer/director Kim Tae-yong studied filmmaking at the Korean Academy of Film Arts (KAFA) after majoring in political science in college. His feature film directorial debut was Memento Mori, a horror film set in an all girls high school, which he co-directed with fellow KAFA graduate Kyu-Dong Min. Together they were nominated for the Grand Prix at the Paris Film Festival and the Grand Jury Prize at the Slamdance Film Festival. Memento Mori was a widely influential film of its genre and is now considered a classic of its time.
His next feature film Family Ties, an examination of family relationships in three separate portraits, won Best Film at Thessaloniki International Film Festival and Republic of Korea’s Grand Bell Award for Best Film.
Late Autumn, starring internationally acclaimed actress Tang Wei (Lust, Caution) as a prisoner on leave to attend a funeral in Seattle, was a co-production Republic of Korea, Hong Kong PRC, People’s Republic of China and the United States of America. Late Autumn screened at the Toronto, Berlin and Busan International Film Festivals and became the highest grossing Korean film released in China. Wei Tang received four Best Actress awards for her role.
Kim’s recent short film You Are More Than Beautiful was commissioned as one of four shorts by different filmmakers commissioned for the micro-movie omnibus Beautiful, produced by the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society (HKIFFS) in its inaugural collaboration with China’s reputed Internet TV company Youku. Of the four films, You Are More Than Beautiful was selected to screen at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.
Kim is currently in production with his next feature film.
Tamer Levent (Turkey)
Levent starred in 2012 APSA Best Feature Film Tepenin Ardi (Beyond The Hill) gaining him an APSA nomination Best Performance by an Actor, and the Best Actor Award from both the 24th Ankara International Film Festival and the 3rd Malatya Film Festival in Turkey.
Born in 1950, Tamer Levent studied theatre at the Ankara State Conservatory. As a theatre director, several of his plays have been invited to festivals in Russia, Canada, Korea and Iran. He also has served as the general director of Turkish State Theatres, and is the president of Theatre, Opera and Ballet Members Foundation (TOBAV) and is leading a national campaign called ‘Yes To Art’.
A prolific and much-sought-after film actor, last year Tamer Levent starred in Hakan Kursan’s action thriller Ayaz, Kürşat Kızbaz’s Yunus Emre – the Sound of Love, a biopic of the Turkish Sufi and poet, has completed filming on Özcan Deniz’s romantic drama Su ve Ates and is currently in production for a role in Turkish auteur Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Kis uykusu (Winter Sleep).
Mr Levent is currently starring in Georgian filmmaker and APSA Academy member, George Ovashvili’s follow up film to Gagma napiri (The Other Bank). He is also currently performing in a weekly television historical series, while working on his most recent theatre production.
Christoph Schaub (Switzerland)
Renowned Swiss writer and director Christoph Schaub has directed eighteen feature films and documentaries, many of which have been invited to screen at festivals throughout the world. In his native Switzerland he has been nominated for the Swiss Film Prize no less than five times for the five successful features Happy New Year, Jeune Homme, Sternenberg, Still Life and Giulias Verschwinden (Julia’s Disappearance). Julia’s Disappearance, starring Bruno Ganz and Corinna Harfouch and based on the novel by best-selling Swiss writer Martin Suter, won the Audience Award at Switzerland’s prestigious Locarno International Film Festival in 2009. Schaub’s most recent feature film, thriller Nachtlärm (Lullaby Ride), is also adapted from a Martin Suter novel.
Schaub’s fascinating documentaries have a particular focus on architectural and urban themes. His feature documentary in the Asia Pacific region, Bird’s Nest – Herzog & De Meuron in China (2008), follows two Swiss star architects on two very different projects: the national stadium for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and an entire district in the provincial town of Jinhua, China. The documentary follows architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron who, with artist Ai Weiwei as their general adviser and as a so-called “cultural interpreter”, literally build bridges between two cultures, two architectural traditions, and two political systems. Schaub’s most recent documentary, Millions Can Walk, is the story of the 2012 month long walk across India by many of its poorest people. The Jansatyagraha, meaning March for Righteousness, began on the anniversary of Gandhi’s birthday, October 2 and the film will be released in Switzerland in January 2014.
As a member of the European Film Academy (EFA), Mr Schaub’s appointment to the Jury highlights the established coalition between the APSA Academy and the EFA.
Albert Lee (Hong Kong, PRC)
Albert Lee has been one of the most active and prolific film producers in Hong Kong and China for the last decade. As CEO of the Emperor Motion Pictures, he has produced more than twenty feature films across a range of genres, and as such, helped elevate the company to become one of the most prominent film sales and production companies in the region.
Lee became a member of the APSA Academy in 2011, for the action comedy Rang zidan fei (Let the Bullets Fly, People’s Republic of China [Mainland China / Hong Kong]), starring Chow Yun-Fat, which received APSA nominations for Best Feature Film and Achievement in Directing.
Both a critical and box office success, for a period Let the Bullets Fly became China’s highest grossing film of all time, and received many accolades including over 60 wins and nominations at the Asian Film Awards, Taiwan Golden Horse Awards, Hong Kong Film Awards and other film festivals/awards in China and around Asia Pacific region. Let the Bullets Fly was Mr Lee’s second successful collaboration with director Jiang Wen, the first being The Sun Also Rises, starring Joan Chen and Jiang Wen, which competed for the Golden Lion at the 2007 Venice Film Festival. Visually poetic, The Sun Also Rises earned an APSA nomination for Achievement in Cinematography for Mark Ping Bin Lee.
A long time industry stalwart, Lee is a member of the China Film Association, has served as board member of the Los Angeles-based Independent Film and Television Alliance (IFTA) and is also an active member of the Hong Kong film industry. He has at various times served as Council Member of the Hong Kong Film Development Council, and as advisor to Hong Kong International Film Festival, the Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF), and other industry bodies.