Second Asia Pacific Screen Awards grows

Queensland event draws 180 film entries from 43 countries

SYDNEY -- The second annual Asia Pacific Screen Awards attracted more than 180 films from 43 countries, twice the number of entries the event drew for its debut last year, APSA organizers said Thursday.

APSA entries for 2008 include films by Aamir Khan (India), Johnnie To (Hong Kong) and Majid Majidi (Iran) and Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Japan).

Reviewing the entries for eligibility are Asian film scholar Konrad Ng of the University of Hawaii, Australian film critic Peter Thompson and film critic and historian Adrienne McKibbins.

Entries also include films from Ashutosh Gowariker (India), Mai Masri (Lebanon), Ari Folman (Israel), Aditya Assarat (Thailand), Annemarie Jacir (Palestine), Benjamin Gilmour (Australia), Anna Melikyan (Russian Federation) and Vincent Ward (New Zealand).

Queensland government-backed APSA also received entries from the Marshall Islands, Pakistan, Iraq, Georgia, Indonesia and Afghanistan.

The APSA nominations council will announce finalists towards the end of September. The awards will be presented at a ceremony on the Gold Coast, Queensland, on Nov. 11, ahead of the annual Screen Producers Association of Australia conference.

Awards will be handed out in nine categories, including best feature film, best animated feature, best documentary feature, best children's feature, achievement in directing, best screenplay, achievement in cinematography, best performance by an actress and best performance by an actor.

Three other awards will honor outstanding achievement, including the FIAPF Award, the UNESCO Award for outstanding contribution to the promotion and preservation of cultural diversity through film, and the Jury Grand Prize, which in 2007 went to the Iranian film "Night Bus," directed by Kiumars Pourahmad.