Australia lauds pan-Asian cinema

Asia Pacific Screen Awards set for November

SYDNEY — The government-backed Queensland Events Corp. is ramping up a pan-Asian awards night celebrating pics from more than 60 countries.

The inaugural Asia Pacific Screen Awards on Queensland’s Gold Coast will take place Nov. 13, in conjunction with the Screen Producers Assn. of Australia conference, which is book-ended by the Oz industry’s IF Awards.

An international launch will take place at the Cannes Film Festival, with long-term plans to host the Unesco-endorsed event in Queensland for three years before moving it to another country.

English-language kudos, featuring live entertainment from the region, will be recorded for global broadcast by CNN and packaged as one of three program specials celebrating pics produced by the region over the previous year.

Queensland Premier Peter Beattie said, “The Australian film industry will benefit greatly from the international exposure this initiative provides and the relationships that will develop between filmmakers of the region.”

Challenge for organizers will be grappling with the disparate cultures and languages, and balancing the massive film production might of India, Japan and China with Turkey and smaller Pacific nations.

An expert council will establish a short-list of films eligible for one of three nomination slots in each of 11 categories. A three-person international jury will then determine nominees and winners.

Shah Rukh Khan may be famous in India, Andy Lau in Hong Kong and Hiroshi Abe in Japan, but these celebrities would walk a red carpet on the Gold Coast virtually unrecognized.

“This is not about red carpet, this is not about razzle-dazzle, this is about the cinematic art, about films that reflect their cultural origins,” said Des Power, chairman of Queensland Events.

“There are some wonderful films being made by Vietnam and Iraq and (we will) give these filmmakers a wonderful opportunity to get their films seen by a bigger audience.”

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