Helmer Warwick Thornton accepted the kudo, which was the first time an Aussie pic had been nommed in APSA’s top category.
The indigenous love story — already feted at Cannes and Oz’s Inside Film Awards — faced off against pics from China — Chen Kaige’s “Mei Lanfang” and Lu Chuan’s “Nanjing! Nanjing!” (City of Life and Death); Iran — Asghar Farhadi’s “Darbareye Elly”; and a Palestinian co-production — Elia Suleiman’s “The Time That Remains.”
Lu took the achievement in directing kudo for his story about the Nanjing massacre by Japanese troops in 1937. The top acting kudo was won by Japan’s Masahiro Motoki for “Okuribito” (Departures) and the top actress honor went to Korea’s Kim Hye-ja for “Madeo” (Mother).
Awards are decided by a jury that was led by Chinese helmer and producer Huang Jianxin and which also included Korea’s Gina Kim and actor Aden Young and film historian Andrew Pike from Down Under.
Thirty-seven films repping 16 countries and territories in the Asia-Pacific region were finalists in the awards.