Japanese social drama “Shoplifters” was named best film at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards on Thursday. Directed by Kore-eda Hirokazu, the film previously won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in May.
“’Shoplifters’ turns an intimate story about an unusual family into a metaphorical social analysis that is relevant not only for Japan, but everywhere,” said “Leviathan” producer Alexander Rodnyansky, who headed the main prize jury.
The Jury Grand Prize, or second place award, went to “Burning,” by South Korea’s Lee Chang-dong. The best director prize went to Nadine Labaki for “Capernaum” (Lebanon).
The prizes were presented at a ceremony at the Exhibition & Convention Centre in Brisbane, Australia. Winners each receive a stunning glass ornament made by Brisbane artist Joanna Bone.
Those treading the red carpet included MPA chief Charles Rivkin, popular Australian actor Jack Thompson, British filmmaker and educationalist David Puttnam, Singaporean director Anthony Chen, Australian producers Sue Milliken and David Jowsey, festival programmers Kiki Fung and Shozo Ichiyama, and Indian actress Nandita Das.
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Das, recipient of a FIAPF-APSA achievement award, gave heartfelt thanks. “This was much needed…I often wonder why I do what I do,” she said.
Puttnam used his time at the microphone to call for long-term support for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. “Cultural diversity is a wonderful thing to reach for and incredibly difficult to find in our own communities. So try to imagine how hard it is for UNESCO to do that among all countries in the world,” Puttnam said, adding that UNESCO “is very easy to criticize, but very difficult to replicate.”
The acting prizes went to India’s Nawazuddin Siddiqui for “Manto” and to China’s Zhao Tao for “Ash Is Purest White.” Zhao was passed over in the same category at last week’s Golden Horse Awards in Taiwan. In a video message, she said: “I was lucky to become an actress and have the opportunity to play different roles of ordinary Chinese women on screen, to express their difficulties and emotions in a country of radical changes.”
The inaugural best original score award went to the celebrated composers Hildur Gudnadottir and the late Johann Johannsson for Australian director Garth Davis’ “Mary Magdalene.” The jury was headed by Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, who described the film’s soundtrack as “a meticulous work of art….The quality of craftsmanship and the depth of emotions are overwhelming.”
APSA uses a definition of Asia-Pacific that comprises 70 countries and areas, 4.5 billion people and is responsible for half of the world’s film output. In 2018, 46 films from 22 territories received APSA nominations.
Best Feature Film
Kore-eda Hirokazu, Matsuzaki Kaoru, Yose Akihiko, Taguchi Hijiri
Jury Grand Prize
“Burning” (South Korea)
Lee Joon-dong, Lee Chang-dong
Cultural Diversity Award Under The Patronage Of UNESCO
“Memories of My Body” (Kucumbu Tubuh Indahku) (Indonesia) Garin Nugroho, Ifa Isfansyah
Achievement In Directing
Nadine Labaki for “Capernaum” (Lebanon)
Special Mention For Achievement In Directing
Ivan Ayr for “Soni” (India)
Dan Kleinman, Sameh Zoabi for “Tel Aviv on Fire” (Israel, Belgium, France, Luxembourg)
Achievement In Cinematography
Hideho Urata for “A Land Imagined” (Singapore, France, Netherlands)
Best Performance By An Actor
Nawazuddin Siddiqui for “Manto” (India)
Best Performance By An Actress
Zhao Tao for “Ash Is Purest White” (China, France)
Best Original Score
Hildur Gudnadottir, Johann Johannsson for “Mary Magdalene” (Australia, U.K.)
Best Youth Feature Film
“The Pigeon” Banu Savici, Mesut Ulutas (Turkey)
Best Animated Feature Film
“Rezo” (Russia) Leo Gabriadze, Timur Bekmambetov
Best Documentary Feature Film
“Gurrumul” (Australia) Paul Damien Williams, Shannon Swan
Young Cinema Award
Yeo Siew Hua for “A Land Imagined” (Singapore, France, Netherlands)
FIAPF Award for Achievement in Film in the Asia Pacific Region
Nandita Das (India)
MPA APSA Academy Film Fund Recipients
- Producer Ifa Isfansyah, director Kamila Andini (Indonesia) for “Yuni”
- Producer Olga Khlasheva, director Adilkhan Yerzhanov (Kazakhstan) for “Hell is Empty and All The Devils Are Here”
- Producer Mai Meksawan, director Uruphong Raksasad (Thailand) for “Worship”
- Director, producer, screenwriter Semih Kaplanoglu (Turkey) for “Asli”
APSA Academy Bo Ai Film Fund recipient
Director Feras Fayyad (Syria) for feature documentary “The Cave”
Asia Pacific Screen Lab Recipients
Sherwan Haki (Syria)
Taro Imai (Japan)
Khanjan Kishore Nath (India)