Johnnie To's 'Sparrow' tops Asia Pacific noms

Receives four noms; 'Three Monkeys' follows with three

SYDNEY -- "The Sparrow," a crime adventure from Hong Kong director Johnnie To, led the way at the second Asia Pacific Screen Awards with four nominations Tuesday.

Turkish film "Three Monkeys," directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan and screening in the Pusan International Film Festival's World Cinema section, received three noms.

The films are in the running for best feature film alongside "Om Shanti Om" (India), "The Red Awn" (China) and "Tulpan" (Kazakhstan).

Six of the nominated films, including "Monkeys," "Tulpan" and the animated feature "Waltz With Bashir" (Israel), are co-productions with European countries, indicating the international flavor of the awards.

"Sparrow" also picked up nominations for directing, cinematography and acting (Simon Yam), while "Monkeys" also received nods in the director and cinematography categories.

"Once again, the nominees represent the creativity and breadth of talent that exists in the burgeoning film industries of our region," APSA chairman Des Power said.

Australia and New Zealand are represented for the first time at the awards with Elissa Down's "The Black Balloon" (Australia) nominated in the children's feature category and Vincent Ward's "Rain of the Children" (New Zealand) competing in the documentary feature category.

Thirty-seven films from 17 countries will compete in nine categories, with the winners to be announced Nov. 11 during a ceremony on Queensland's Gold Coast.

A list of nominees follows:

Best feature film
"The Red Awn" (Hong Se Kang Bai Yin), China
"Sparrow" (Men Jeuk), Hong Kong
"Om Shanti Om," India
"Tulpan," Kazakhstan/Russia/Switzerland/Poland/Germany
"Three Monkeys" (Uc maymun), Turkey/France/Italy

Best animated feature film
"If You Were Me: Anima Vision 2" (Byul-byul Yi-ya-gi 2: Yeo-seot-bit-ggal Mu-ji-gae), Korea
"Sword of the Stranger" (Stranger Mukoh Hadan), Japan
"Waltz With Bashir" (Vals im Bashir), Israel/France/Germany

Best documentary feature film
"33 Days" (33 Yaoum), Lebanon/Qatar
"63 Years On" (Ggeutnaji Anhmeun Jeon Jaeng), Korea
"Kantata Takwa," Indonesia
"Rain of the Children," New Zealand
"Tinar," Iran

Best children's feature film
"The Black Balloon," Australia
"Mahek," India
"Pisay" (Philippine Science), the Philippines
"Siri Raja Siri" (King Siri), Sri Lanka
"Stars on Earth" (Taare Zameen Par), India

Achievement in directing
"The Good, the Bad, the Weird," Kim Jee-woon (Korea)
"Sparrow" (Men Jeuk), Johnnie To (Hong Kong)
"Tokyo Sonata," Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Japan/The Netherlands/Hong Kong)
"Tulpan," Sergey Dvortsevoy (Kazakhstan/Russia/Switzerland-Poland-Germany)
"Three Monkeys" (Uc maymun), Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Turkey/France/Italy)

Best screenplay
"Night and Day" (Bam guan at), Hong Sang-soo (Korea)
"Lemon Tree" (Etz Limon), Suha Arraf and Eran Riklis (Israel/France/Germany)
"Dot" (Nokta), Dervis Zaim (Turkey)
"Before the Burial" (Tanha do bar zendegui mikonim), Behnam Behzadi (Islamic Republic of Iran)
"Tokyo Sonata," Max Mannix, Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Sachiko Tanaka (Japan/The Netherlands/Hong Kong)

Achievement in cinematography
"The Good, the Bad, the Weird," Lee Mogae (Korea)
"Jodhaa Akbar," Kiiran Deohans (India)
"Sparrow," Cheng Siu-keung (Hong Kong)
"Mermaid" (Rusalka), Oleg Kirichenko (Russia)
"Three Monkeys" (Uc maymun), Gokhan Tiryaki (Turkey/France/Italy)

Best performance by an actress
Omarbekova Nesipkul, "Baksy"
Hiam Abbass, "Lemon Tree"
Akie Namiki, "Jitsuroku Rengo Sekigun: Asama Sanso Eno Michi"
Miao Pu, "Cherries" (Ying Tao)
Daria Moroz, "Live and Remember" (Zhivi I pomni)

Best performance by an actor
Reza Naji, "The Song of Sparrows" (Avaze Gonjeshk-ha)
Kim Yoon-suk, "The Chaser" (Chugyeogja)
Simon Yam, "Sparrow"
Rajat Kapoor, "The Prisoner"
Alireza Aghakhani, "Before the Burial"