'Aftershock' Wins APSA Best Feature, Best Actor

Courtesy of China Film Group

Zhang Jingchu stars in China’s highest-grossing domestic release of all time.


Korea's "Poetry" Wins Two Awards

SYDNEY -- Jury president Lord David Puttnam said the film has “everything,” and after becoming the top-grossing domestic film ever at the Chinese box office this year, Aftershock won best feature film at the fourth Asia Pacific Screen Awards, on Thursday on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

The most nominated film of this year’s awards, Aftershock was set against the Tangshan Earthquake in 1976 that took the lives of 240,000 people.

Its star, Chen Daoming, also took away the best actor award.

“It is as good a big movie as any I’ve seen from Hollywood in years. It doesn’t disappoint at any level. It has already attracted a huge audience and it has every chance of going on to capture a bigger international audience. It is incredibly moving and, at the same time, it is really an extraordinarily restrained film and it ends beautifully,” Puttnam said announcing Aftershock as the best feature winner.

Korean film Poetry was also a double award winner on the night. Lee Chang-dong, was named best director, with the best actress award going to the star of the film, Yun Jung-hee. Yun returned to film after an absence of more than 15 years to play the leading role.

Indeed Lee is becoming something of a fixture at the APSAs. In 2007, he won best feature film at the inaugural event for Secret Sunshine and in 2009, won best children’s feature for A Brand New Life.

Other APSA award winners included best screenplay, Samuel Maoz for Lebanon (Israel); achievement in cinematography, Sudhir Palsane for The Well, (India); best children’s feature, The Other, (Iran); best animated feature, Piercing (China), and best documentary feature, Last Train Home (China / Canada).

High Commendations were awarded to Australian actor Tony Barry for his performance in the New Zealand film Home By Christmas, and Australia’s first 3D animated feature Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole for outstanding technology and special effects.

The APSA International Jury this eyar included Indian actress Tannishtha Chatterjee, Indonesian writer, producer and director, Salman Aristo, Ming Zhenjiang, producer and first deputy president of the China Film Producers Association, Australian cinematographer Ellery Ryan, Kazakh writer/director Sergey Dvortsevoy and Turkish filmmaker and film academic Serdar Akar.

They decided this year to present two Jury Grand Prizes, which went to Japanese actress Shinobu Terajima for her performance in Caterpillar and to Israeli writer/director Samuel Moaz for Lebanon.

In the specialist categories, Semih Kaplano?lu’s Turkish film, Honey, received the UNESCO Award, determined by the International Jury and for outstanding contribution to the promotion and preservation of cultural diversity through film.

Christine Hakim, Indonesian actress turned producer was named the recipient of the FIAPF Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film.

A new joint initiative of the awards and the Motion Picture Association this year was the establishment of the MPA APSA Academy Film Fund. it was announced at the awards ceremony that four writer/directors -- Lee Chang-dong, Sergey Dvortsevoy, Asghar Farhadi and Peng Tao, will each receive $25,000 towards script development of new feature film projects from the fund.

A delayed telecast of the awards ceremony will air on pan Asian network, Australia Television and the International Channel Shanghai on January 9, while two specials under the banner Scene By Scene, on jury president David Puttnam and another about the awards, the films and the film makers, will be broadcast on January 26. The Scene by Scene programs will also be broadcast domestically in Australia on ABC1 on December 12 and through the ABC’s online channel, iView.