Asghar Farhadi’s 'A Separation' wins Asia Pacific Screen Awards Best Feature

Nader and Simin, A Separation Berlin 341x182

Turkey’s “Once Upon A Time In Anatolia” is also a big winner with 3 awards.

SYDNEY - Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation (Jodaeiye Nader az Simin) won the Best Feature Film at the fifth annual Asia Pacific Screen Awards on Thursday.

The APSA top prize adds to the Iranian films tally of international awards this year including the Golden Bear for best film at the Berlin Film Festival, the Sydney Film Prize at the Sydney Film Festival and multiple awards at the Fajr Film Festival. A Separation is Iran’s official entry on the best foreign language film Oscar race.

A Separation was the first film to have been funded by the MPA (Motion Picture Association) APSA Academy Film Fund, which provides $25,000 to four film makers each year for script development of new feature film projects

Another international festival favorite and Turkey’s official Oscar foreign language film entry, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (Bir Zamanlar Anadolu'da), took out three prizes including the Jury Grand Prize.  Writer director Nuri Bilge Ceylan won the achievement in directing and Gökhan Tiryaki won for best cinematography.

 “The films in the competition are all very, very wonderful films, but two films stood out to the Jury as outstanding in all aspects of their filmmaking – A Separation and Once Upon a Time in Anatolia. They are very different kinds of films, but both of them are the same in their excellence in every aspect of their filmmaking: from screenplay, to directing, to performances, to their technical craftsmanship such as cinematography and editing, everything,” 2011 APSA International Jury President, Nansun Shi said.

The jury also decided to award a high commendation for the Jury Grand Prize to the ensemble cast (actresses) of  Egyptian film Cairo678 - Nahed El Sebai, Bushra and Nelly Karim.

The APSA best actor and best actress awards went to Chinese actor Wang Baoqiang for  Mr Tree (Hello! Shu Xian Sheng) and Nadezhda Markina, from the Russian Federation, for Elena, respectively.

Russian writer Denis Osokin won the best screenplay award for Silent Souls, while a high commendation in the category was awarded to Korea’s Yoon Sung-hyun for Bleak Night.

Children’s feature Buta from producers Khamis Muradov and Ilgar Najaf became Azerbaijan’s first ever APSA winner, taking out the prize for best children’s film, while best animated feature award went to Leafie from Korea.

The best documentary feature was won by Maryam Ebrahimi for the Japanese, Swedish- U.S. co-production, I Was Worth 50 Sheep.

Each year UNESCO hands out an award for outstanding contribution to the promotion and preservation of cultural diversity through film, and the prize in 2011 went to Australian indigenous filmmaker Ivan Sen for his film, Toomelah.

As previously announced the FIAPF Award for outstanding achievement in film in the Asia-Pacific region was awarded to the Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou.

At the same time APSA Academy patron Jack Thompson announced a formal alliance with the APSA Academy and the European Film Academy to promote the films and film makers of both regions.

More than 550 Australian and international guests, including filmmakers from all 19 countries and territories represented in the Awards nominations attended the 2011 APSA ceremony on Queensland’s Gold Coast.