Warwick Thornton’s “Sweet Country” emerged as an early favorite in the Asia Pacific Screen Awards. The Australian race tension drama received nominations on Friday in three APSA categories, including best film.

Two other films collected three nominations — Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “The Third Murder” and Georgian director Sashishi Deda’s “Scary Mother” – though neither is in contention as best feature.

Nominations for the 11th edition of the awards spanned 41 films from 21 countries and include a first -time nod towards a film from Bhutan. Winners will be announced at a ceremony on Nov. 23, in Brisbane, Australia.

Competing for best feature are: Vivien Qu’s “Angels Wear White” (China, France), Samuel Maoz’s “Foxtrot” (Israel, Germany, France, Switzerland), Sergei Loznitsa’s “A Gentle Creature” (France, Germany, Lithuania, Netherlands), Mohammad Rasoulof’s “A Man of Integrity” (Iran) and Thornton’s “Sweet Country.”

The APSAs noted that 26% of films in competition this year were directed by women and 51% were directed by first or second time filmmakers.

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“There are not only a great number of newer filmmakers, but also a large number of filmmakers who are already a part of the growing Asia Pacific Screen Academy, which was created precisely to encompass and connect the large body of talented filmmakers in the Asia Pacific Region,” said Michael Hawkins, chair of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards and its Academy.

Winners in the main awards sections will be determined by the APSA International Jury, headed in 2017 by Australian film editor Jill Bilcock. Winners in the three other categories, best youth feature film, best documentary feature film and best animation feature film are judged by a second jury involving Haifaa Al Mansour (Saudi Arabia) and Melanie Coombs (Australia), and British producer Steve Abbott.