China's 'Aftershock' Leads APSA Nominations

Feng Xiaogang's Earthquake Thriller Gets Record Six Nods

SYDNEY -- China’s biggest domestic box office earner ever, “Aftershock," received a record six nominations at the 2010 Asia Pacific Screen Awards unveiled here Monday, with nominations for best feature, best director for Feng Xiaogang, best cinematography, best screenplay, best actor for Chen Daoming and best actress for Xu Fan.

Now set as the favorite for the awards, the APSA Nominations Council unanimously praised “Aftershock” for its ability to “deftly balance a large scale epic story with the intimate drama of one family dealing with the aftermath of the devastating 1976 Tangshan earthquake that took the lives of 240,000 people."

Close behind “Aftershock” was Lee Chang-dong's “Poetry," with four nominations for best feature, best screenplay, best director and best actress for Yun Jung- Hee. “Poetry” was written and directed by Lee Chang-dong, who won the best screenplay award for the film at the Cannes Film festival this year, and whose feature “Secret Sunshine” was the inaugural APSA best feature winner.

A total of 31 features from 15 countries and regions, roughly bordering the Pacific, received nominations in the APSAs' fourth year. Films from China, including one from Hong Kong, received a total of 12 nominations; films from the Republic of Korea received six; Indian films received five; Japanese films received four; Israeli, Taiwan, and Turkish films received three each; and Australian and New Zealand films received two nominations apiece. Films from the Islamic Republic of Iran, Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories, the Russian Federation and Cambodia each received one nomination.

Also nominated in the best feature category are Taiwan gangster film, “Monga” and Turkey’s Golden Bear winner from Berlinale 2010, “Honey”, both of which received three nominations each. The final best feature nominee “Pajo,” from Korea, was also nominated for best actress for Seo Woo.

A win at the APSAs could also provide an indicator in the Oscar race for the best foreign language category in 2011. “Echoes of the Rainbow” of Hong Kong, “The Human Resources Manager” from Israel, “Monga," “Honey” and “Aftershock” are all entered for the Academy Awards.

Zack Snyder, Warner Bros. and Animal Logic also jointly managed a nomination: Snyder’s first 3D animation “Legends of the Guardians – the Owls of Ga’hoole,” was Australia’s entry in the best animated feature category. 

Best actress nominations went to Xu Fan from "Aftershock"; Tejaswini Pandit from India for “I Am Sindhutai Sakpal; Seo Woo for “Paju” from (Korea), Yun Jung-hee for “Poetry”; and Yu Nan for “Weaving Girl,” from China.

In the best actor category, nominations went to Chen Daoming for "Aftershock"; Tony Barry for “Home by Christmas” of New Zealand; Sergei Puskepalis for “How I Ended This Summer” from Russia; Mark Ivanir for “The Human Resources Manager," a co-production from Israel / Germany / France / Romania, and Atul Kulkarni for “Natarang” from India.

“As the Asia Pacific Screen Awards grow in stature and recognition across our vast region, we are delighted to have in the competition some of the most high profile films and filmmakers of contemporary cinema. We are proud too of our role in discovering extraordinary new talent from the region,” APSA chairman Des Power said. .

The final APSA winners will be chosen by an international jury headed by Academy Award-winning producer Lord David Puttnam and announced at a ceremony on Australia’s Gold Coast on December 2.