2nd Academy of Asia-Pacific Screen Award
The second edition of Academy of Asia-Pacific Screen Award introduced its winners in nine sections on November 11, 2008, with representatives of the Iranian cinema winning two awards. Behnam Behzadi’s We Only Live Twice was nominated for the best screenplay; Alireza Aghakhani; actor of Behzadi’s film, and Reza Naji, actor of Song of the Sparrows, were nominated for the best performance by an actor; and Mehdi Moniri’s Tinar was nominated for the best documentary feature film. Finally, Reza Naji won an award for the best performance by an actor and Mehdi Moniri’s beautiful documentary, Tinar, won UNESCO Award. Last year, Iranian cinema was nominated in eight sections with Kioumars Pourahmad winning Jury Grand Prize, Houman Behmanesh winning a prize for the best cinematography, and Rakhshan Bani-Etemad along with Mohsen Abdolvahhab winning an award for achievement in directing.
Academy of Asia-Pacific Screen Award (APSA) drew considerable attention from filmmakers and media in its second edition, so that, more than 190 movies from 43 countries in Asia and Pacific were sent to secretariat of the award. This year, the same 10-member selection board reviewed movies to introduce nominees for the best film, best directing, best cinematography, best screenplay, best actress, best actor, best documentary, best animation, and best children’s feature. They went to Brisbane, Australia on September 20 to review films for a whole week. In view of high number of participating films, a preview copy of about 80 films had been sent to selection board two months earlier. This year, like the preceding year, board members were allowed to introduce four films although APSA officials had emphasized that they should not come from a single country, especially the country with a member on the board. Major cinema organizations of every country had been permitted to bring two films which was half the last year’s quota due to high number of participating movies. A group of experts on documentaries and animations was also established to introduce a maximum of 20 films. The films were reviewed in a week: 8-10 films per day.
The beautiful Gold Coast city was host to nominees from November 11. Reza Naji, Alireza Aqakhani, and Mehdi Moniri from Iran were present. After deliberations, Three Monkeys won the best directing award; Lemon Tree won the best screenplay award; Reza Naji won the best actor award; Hiam Abbass, the famous Palestinian actress won the best actress award for her role in Lemon Tree; The Good, The Bad, the Weird from South Korea won the best cinematography award; The Black Balloon from Australia won the best children’s feature film award; Waltz with Bashir won the best animation award; 63 Years on from South Korea won the best documentary award; The Red Awn from China and The Prisoner from India won Jury Grand Prize; Yash Chopra, the Indian producer, won FIAPF award; and finally, Tinar won UNESCO Award for outstanding contribution to the promotion and preservation of cultural diversity through film.