'Samson' shows strength at APSA
Local favorite wins best film; 'Nanjing' wins for Lu, CaoSURFERS PARADISE -- Local Aboriginal drama "Samson & Delilah" directed by Warwick Thornton was Thursday named best film at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards on Queensland's Gold Coast.
There were also multiple prizes for Chinese historic drama "Nanjing! Nanjing!" (City of Life and Death) and Iran's "Darbareye Elly" (About Elly).
Decision-making was a tough call for the jury headed by Chinese director and producer Huang Jianxin. On Wednesday they missed their scheduled lunchtime completion deadline, broke off to take part in an afternoon seminar, and then continued deliberating into the evening.
"Samson & Delilah has a very special something - the integrity of the filmmaker, the passion and the sincerity of it is really beyond comparison," said Korean juror Gina Kim.
It was the first time an Australian film had been nominated in the APSA best feature film category, though the film has been gathering awards steam ever since winning the Camera d'Or for best first film at Cannes. It won six major awards at last week's Inside Film Awards and has been nominated for 13 Australian Film Institute Awards.
"About Elly," and Elia Suleiman's picture "The Time That Remains" shared the Grand Jury prize, while "Elly" director Asghar Farhadi also collected the best screenplay award. "City of Life And Death," China’s saw Lu Chuan collect the prize for achievement in directing and Cao Yu win for its mixed color and monochrome cinematography.
The closeness of the jury's decision-making appears also to have been reflected by the naming of a quartet of "high commendations" in the acting, cinematography, children's film and documentary sections.
The awards ceremony was the culmination of the third three-day APSA event and was attended by some 800 filmmakers and executives.
Emotional high points included the performance by Japanese R&B star AI of the theme tune from Japan's foreign-language Oscar winner "Okuribito" (Departures), "Departures" star Masahiro Motoki collecting his best actor award.
There was more Japanese power on display with Isao Matsuoka, a 50-year producing veteran, receiving the FIAPF Award for outstanding achievement in film.
Earlier in the day APSA held a ceremony to induct some 40 nominees and jury members as new members of the APSA Academy. They were presented by Australia's senior actor Jack Thompson and Alicia Mayer Beverley, vice patron of the APSA Academy and a scion of the Louis B. Mayer and David O. Selznick families.
That pageant wrapped up with a moment of typically Australian warmth when the new academy members were presented with a Koala bear, named Rocky, that they had just jointly fostered.
The winners in the third annual Asia Pacific Screen Awards are:
BEST FEATURE FILM
"Samson & Delilah," Warwick Thornton, Australia
JURY GRAND PRIZE (shared)
"The Time That Remains," Elia Suleiman, Palestinian Territories-France-Italy-Belgium-UK
"Darbareye Elly" (About Elly), Asghar Farhadi, Iran
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR
Masahiro Motoki for "Okuribito" (Departures) Japan
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS
Kim Hye-ja for "Madeo" (Mother) South Korea
ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING
Lu Chuan for "Nanjing! Nanjing!" (City of Life and Death) China
ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY
Cao Yu for "Nanjing! Nanjing!" (City of Life and Death) China
Asghar Farhadi for "Darbareye Elly" (About Elly) Iran
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE FILM
"Hashmatsa" (Defamation) Yoav Shamir, Israel-Austria-Denmark-USA
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
"Mary and Max," Adam Elliot, Australia
BEST CHILDREN’S FEATURE FILM
"Ye Haeng Ja" (A Brand New Life), Ounie Lecomte, South Korea-France
"Sawan Baan Na" (Agrarian Utopia) Uruphong Raksasad,
FIAPF AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN FILM
High Commendation for Performance by an Actor
Yang Ik-june for "Ddongpari" (Breathless) South Korea
High Commendation for Cinematography
Alisher Khamidhodjaev and Maxim Drozdov for "Bumaznyj Soldat" (Paper Soldier) Russia
High Commendation in Children's Feature Film:
"Tahaan: A Boy with a Grenade," Santosh Sivan, India
High Commendation in Documentary Feature Film
"Gandhi's Children," David MacDougall, Australia