'Secret Sunshine' takes top prize

The Korean film industry claimed victory at the inaugural Asia-Pacific Screen Awards with helmer Lee Chang-dong’s “Secret Sunshine” winning for best movie and actress (Jeon Do-yeon.)

Other prizes at the awards, held in Australia’s Gold Coast beach resort, were evenly spread around the massive region, which extends from Turkey in the West to Oz’s Cook Islands in the East.

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

Presentation was light on stars but slickly stage-managed, borrowing CNN presenters and breezing along through the dozen prizes. Made-for-TV ceremony avoided lengthy speeches and eliminated clips of nominee movies except in the film category. There were few moments of controversy. Omar Sharif, in a taped greeting, said Egyptian cinema had “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 the 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, Iranian helmer Jafar Panahi, who fought for a special prize for Israeli pic “The Band’s Visit,” warned of the side-effects of festivals and prizes.

“In Iran it is not just a money question it’s 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 South Korea’s Pusan Film Festival, and Panahi.

Event was backed by Queensland Events in collaboration with CNN Intl., Unesco and international film producers’ federation FIAPF.

ASIA PACIFIC SCREEN AWARDS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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