Asia Pacific Screen Awards: Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s 'Cemetery Of Splendor' Wins Best Feature

Palestine's 'The Idol' was another major winner at the Brisbane ceremony.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Cemetery of Splendor won best feature Thursday during the 9th annual Asia Pacific Screen Awards ceremony in Brisbane, Australia.

The legendary Thai director's latest film, which had its world premiere at Cannes, was one of the “best of the best,” according to jury president Kim Dong-Ho.

“The deliberating process was incredibly hard work, due to all the nominated films being outstanding, but we’ve done our best to select ‘the best of the best,' " said Kim. "I’d like to express my deep congratulations, not only to the winners, but also to all the nominees for their great achievement.”

The organization's other major prize, the APSA UNESCO Award for outstanding contribution to the promotion and preservation of cultural diversity through film, was awarded to Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad for The Idol, which focuses on Mohammed Assaf, the first Palestinian singer to win Arab Idol.

Idol was the opening-night pic of the Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival, which runs ahead of the APSAs and showcases many contenders.

“Giving us the UNESCO Award is a courageous decision at this time," Abu-Assad said from the set of his next film. "The world seems to lose hope in the future. The Idol is a film about hope, and our job as an artist is to keep believing in a better future. Our main job is to let people believe in making the world better, and to believe yourself that you can make a difference."

Films from Thailand, Russia, Turkey, China, Japan, Palestine, South Korea, Taiwan and Australia were among those to receive nods at the event.

Two films from China, River and The Chinese Mayor, were named best youth feature and best documentary feature, respectively, while Japan’s Miss Hokasui won animated feature honors.

Alexey German, Jr., son of Russian filmmaking legend Alexey German, was tapped as best director for Under Electric Clouds.

In the acting categories, An's Kirin Kiki took home Japan’s first-ever best actress APSA honor, while Korea’s Jung Jaeyong was named best actor for Right Now, Wrong Then, mirroring the prize he received at the Locarno International Film Festival in August.

Taiwanese master cinematographer Mark Lee Ping-bing nabbed the best cinematography award for Hsiao-hsien’s The Assassin, while the best screenplay trophy went to Turkish writer-director Senem Tüzen for Motherland.

Other honors included the FIAPF Award for outstanding achievement in film in the Asia Pacific region, which went to Egyptian screen icon Esaad Younis, and the previously announced APSA Academy NETPAC Development Prize, which was awarded to Kyrgyz actor-turned-director Mirlan Abdykalykov for his full-length helming debut Heavenly Nomadic. The award of $10,000 is supported by Griffith Film School, Griffith University and is given to a first- or second-time feature filmmaker.

The five feature craft awards and three special mentions were determined by the six-member international jury, which included Kim, co-founder and former chairman of the Busan International Film Festival; Iranian actress Negar Javaherian; award-winning Bangladesh writer-director Mostofa Sarwar Farooki; Chinese writer/director/curator/producer and Beijing Film Academy professor Zhang Xianmin;  Malaysian new-wave cinema figure U-Wei Bin HajiSaari; and Russian writer-director Alexei Popogrebsky, who represents APSA’s  alliance with the European Film Academy.

The full list of APSA winners and special mentions follows:

BEST FEATURE FILM

Cemetery of Splendour (Rak ti Khon Kaen), Thailand, Malaysia, France, Germany, United Kingdom

Produced by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Keith Griffiths, Simon Field, Charles de Meaux,

Michael Weber, Hans W. Geißendörfer

Co-produced by Viola Fügen, Najwa Abu Bakar, Moisés Cosio Espinosa, Eric Vogel, Ingunn

Sundelin, Joslyn Barnes, Caroleen Feeney, Danny Glover.

BEST YOUTH FEATURE FILM

River (Gtsngbo), People’s Republic of China

Produced by Sangye and Alexandra Sun

Co-Produced by Pema Tseden and Du Qingchun

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

Miss Hokusai (Sarusuberi: Miss Hokusai), Japan

Produced by Keiko Matsushita, Asako Nishikawa

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE FILM

The Chinese Mayor (Datong)

People's Republic of China

Produced by Zhao Qi

ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING

Alexey German, Jr. for Under Electric Clouds (Pod elektricheskimi oblakami)

Russian Federation, Ukraine, Poland

BEST SCREENPLAY

Senem Tüzen for Motherland (Ana Yurdu)

Turkey, Greece

ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY

Mark Lee Ping-bing for The Assassin (Nie Yinniang), Taiwan

Special Mention: Achievement in Cinematography

Lu Songye for Tharlo, People's Republic of China

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS

Kirin Kiki in An

Japan, France, Germany

Special Mention: Best Performance by an Actress

Fatemeh Motamed Arya in Avalanche (Bahman)

Islamic Republic of Iran

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR

Jung Jaeyoung in Right Now, Wrong Then (Jigeumeun Matgo Geuttaeneun Teullida)

Republic of Korea

APSA UNESCO AWARD

Hany Abu-Assad for The Idol (Ya Tayr El Tayer)

Palestine, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Netherlands

Special Mention: APSA UNESCO Award

Stephen Page for Spear

Australia

FIAPF AWARD for Outstanding Achievement in Film in the Asia Pacific region

Esaad Younis (Egypt)

APSA ACADEMY NETPAC DEVELOPMENT PRIZE

Mirlan Abdykalykov for Heavenly Nomadic (Sutak)

Kyrgyzstan

JURY GRAND PRIZE

Park Jungbum for writing/directing/acting in Alive (Sanda),

Republic of Korea

JURY GRAND PRIZE

Emin Alper for writing and directing Frenzy (Abluka)

Turkey, Qatar, France

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