Veteran Australian director Rolf de Heer was among the four winners of film development bursaries from the Motion Picture Association. They are given out annually as part of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards and are each worth $25,000.

The financing is available only to APSA Academy members, a group of roughly 1,000 film makers from the Asia Pacific region who have either won or been nominated for the APSA awards. By restricting the applications, the MPA seeks to reward the region’s top film makers and accelerate their progress.

De Heer and David Gulpilil win funding for “Mr Ward’s Incredible Journey,” a race relations story based on real events and involving the death of a man in the back of a police van. De Heer has twice been nominated for APSA awards, with feature film “Charlie’s Country,” and documentary “Another Country.”

The other winners were: South Korean producer Park Joo Young (“Juvenile Offender”) with Kan Yi-kwan-directed animation project “Morning Star,” about a man seeking to be reunited with his son across the border in North Korea; Saudi Arabia’s leading female director Haifaa Al Mansour (“Wadjda”) with animation project “Miss Camel;” and Kazakhstan’s Emir Baigazin (“Harmony Lessons”) with drama “The River” about the challenges posed by modernity to the paternalistic ways of life in a remote village.

The 10th APSA Awards were presented last week in Brisbane, Australia. Prior to the awards the MPA organised the second edition of the Australia-China Coproduction Forum. The one day event in Sydney is intended to foster cooperation between the two countries film industries. Speakers included Village Roadshow Pictures Asia’s Beijing-based CEO Ellen Eliasoph, Ausfilm CEO Debra Richards and CEO Jiang Yanming.