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Asia Pacific Screen Awards fetes ‘Sunshine’

Film takes best movie prize

See Winners

GOLD COAST — The South Korean film industry claimed victory at the inaugural Asia Pacific Screen Awards with the Lee Chang-dong-helmed drama “Secret Sunshine” claiming the best movie prize. Pic’s star Jeon Do-yeon was named best actress.

Other prizes were more evenly spread around the massive region which according to UNESCO definition extends from Turkey in the West to the Cook Islands in the East.

Indian multi-hyphenate Feroz Abbas Khan won the best screenplay award for script of “Gandhi My Father,” while Iranian co-helmers Rakhshan Bani-Etemad and Mohsen Abdolvahab took home the directing prize with their “Mainline” (Khoonbazi.) Turkish thesp Erkan Can was named best actor for role in “Takva: A Man’s Fear of God.”

Presentation was light on stars. But it was a slickly stage-managed affair which borrowed CNN presenters and breezed along through the dozen prizes. Made-for-TV ceremony avoided lengthy speeches and eliminated clips of nominee movies except in the final, best film category. Ceremony was punctuated by a curious, but effective, musical interlude that paired the digeridoo with the clarinet. Winners each collected a stripy glass urn.

Whole event emphasized “culture” and “humanity” while avoiding more mercantile measures of success such as B.O., budgets raised or territories sold.

Moments of controversy were few and far between. Omar Sharif, in a taped greeting said that Egyptian cinema has “not improved” in the 50 years since he started his career.

Only in the post-ceremony press-conference did subjects catch light. APSA juror and U.K. producer Nik Powell raised issue of language and cross-border influence. “I’m all for internationalization as long as it doesn’t lead to blandness,” he said.

Fellow juror the Iranian helmer Jafar Panahi, who fought for special prize for Israeli-produced “The Band’s Visit” warned of the side-effects of festivals and prizes. “In Iran it is not just a money question its also a censorship question. My last three films were not shown (in Iran ,”) Panahi said. “Awards and festival prizes may even make things worse. After I won prizes in Cannes or Berlin newspapers wrote that festivals had given prizes to anti-Iranian movies.

APSA jury was headed by Indian actress Shabana Azmi alongside Kim Dong-ho, director of Korea ’s Pusan International Film Festival, Panahi, UNESCO and International film producers’ federation FIAPF was held in Australia ‘s Gold Coast.

Jeon picked up the same prize in Cannes where the film bowed and has twice been named in Variety’s “achievement” lists.

ASIA PACIFIC SCREEN AWARDS 2007 WINNERS LIST

BEST FEATURE FILM
“Secret Sunshine” (Miryang) Lee Chang-dong (South Korea.)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS
Jeon Do-yeon in “Secret Sunshine” (South Korea.)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR
Erkan Can in “Takva: A Man’s Fear of God” (Turkey)

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING
Rakhshan Bani-Etemad and Mohsen Abdolvahab for “Mainline” (Khoonbazi) (Iran)

BEST CHILDREN’S FEATURE FILM
“Denias, Singing on the Cloud” (Denias, Senandung di Atas Awan) (Indonesia)

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
“5 Centimeters per Second” (Byosoku 5 Centimeters) (Japan.)

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE FILM
“Beirut Diaries: Truth, Lies and Videos” Mai Masri (Lebanon.)

BEST SCREENPLAY
Feroz Abbas Khan for “Gandhi My Father” (India)

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY
Hooman Behmanesh for “Those Three” (An seh) (Iran)

THE FIAPF AWARD for outstanding achievement in film in the Asia-Pacific region
Dr George Miller

THE UNESCO AWARD for outstanding contribution to the promotion and preservation of cultural diversity through film
“The Band’s Visit” (Bikur Hatizmoret) (Israel)

JURY GRAND PRIZE
“Night Bus” (Autobus e Shab) Kiumars Pourahmad (Iran)

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