Asia Pacific Screen Awards: Bong Joon Ho's 'Parasite' Wins Best Film

Parasite - Publicity Still 1- H 2019
Courtesy of Neon and CJ Entertainment

Makoto Shinkai’s 'Weathering With You,' Rodd Rathjen’s debut feature 'Buoyancy' and Elia Suleiman's 'It Must Be Heaven' were also among the winners.

Bong Joon Ho's international hit Parasite continues to gather plaudits, winning best film honors at the 13th Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA), which were held Thursday in Brisbane, Australia.

Parasite, which was awarded the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in May, marks the first win for Korea in the best film APSA category since Lee Changdong's Secret Sunshine took out the inaugural prize in 2007. 

Parasite was one of six APSA-winning films that are their countries' submissions for consideration in international feature film Oscar category. 

Other international feature film Oscar entries to earn APSA honors included Russia's Beanpole, which was the only film to take home two awards this year. The pic's Ksenia Sereda became the first female to win the APSA for best cinematography, and Kantemir Balagov and Alexander Terekhov won for best screenplay.

Rodd Rathjen's debut feature Buoyancy (Australia), which was shot in Cambodia, was tapped as best youth feature, while Japan's Weathering With You was named best animated feature, the second win in the awards category for director Makoto Shinkai.

Elia Suleiman, who wrote, directed, produced and starred in Palestine's Oscar entry It Must Be Heaven, was awarded a special Jury Grand Prize. He received the same honor in 2009 for The Time That Remains.

And Max Eigenmann was named best actress for her role as a woman fighting to free herself from domestic violence in the Philippine pic Verdict.

Outside the list of Oscar submissions, celebrated Indian actor Manoj Bajpayee took home the APSA for best actor for his role in Bhonsle. Bajpayee's win marks four years in a row that an Indian performer has prevailed in this category.

The APSA for best director was awarded to Adilkhan Yerzhanov for his Kazakh noir feature A Dark, Dark Man.

Best documentary honors went to the Israeli production Advocate, from directors Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaïche. It tells the story of Jewish-Israeli human rights lawyer Lea Tsemel, who has defended Palestinians in the Israeli courts for 50 years.

The prestigious Cultural Diversity Award under the patronage of UNESCO was presented to director Jamshid Mahmoudi for the Iran-Afghanistan co-production Rona, Azim's Mother. The film was Afghanistan's Oscar submission in 2018. 

The winner of the International Federation of Film Producers Associations Award for outstanding achievement in film was Katriel Schory, one of the most respected figures of Israeli cinema. Since the 1970s, Schory has produced more than 150 titles through his production company, Belfilms Ltd., but it was his 20-year tenure as executive director of Israel's main film-funding body that is credited with revitalizing the Israeli film industry with an emphasis on diversity and international co-production treaties.

The APSA Young Cinema Award went to emerging Indian filmmaker Ridham Janve, whose feature The Gold-Laden Sheep and the Sacred Mountain was also nominated for best film and best cinematography.

Also announced during the APSA ceremony were the four recipients of the 10th MPA APSA Academy Film Fund, which for the first time went to four women filmmakers: Delphine Garde-Mroueh & Nadia Eliewat (UAE/France) for The Station; Rachel Leah Jones (Israel/U.S.) for Reality Bites; Catherine Fitzgerald (New Zealand) for Sweet Lips; and Dechen Roder (Bhutan) for I, the Song. The fund, which was created to support the development of new feature film projects by APSA Academy members and their colleagues from the culturally diverse Asia Pacific region, awards four development grants of $25,000 annually and is supported by the MPA.