Several films that have already won considerable acclaim this year on the world stage, including A Separation from Iran and Once Upon a Time in Anatolia from Turkey/Bosnia and Herzegovina, are among the best film nominees in the Asia Pacific Film Awards (APSAs).
A Separation (pictured) was written, directed and produced by Asghar Farhadia and is a drama about a husband and wife with divorce and moving abroad on their minds. It was the first Iranian film to win the Golden Bear for best film at Berlin and won the Sydney Film Prize at this year's Sydney Film Festival.
Anatolia was directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan and follows a group of men searching for a body on the Anatolian steppes. It was selected in competition in Cannes and shared the Grand Jury Prize with The Kid with a Bike.
Both films have the most APSA nominations, with four each, and both represent their countries in the race for the 2012 Academy Award for best foreign film.
Thirty-seven films from 19 countries have been nominated in the APSAs, which are judged on cinematic excellence and the way in which they attest to their cultural origins. Seventy countries and areas are eligible for APSAs from a region stretching from the middle east across to Japan and down to New Zealand and Australia.
The nominees were made public last night at the Pusan International Film Festival by 2011 international jury president, Hong Kong producer Nansun Shi.
The APSAs were conceived by APSA chair Des Power on behalf of the Queensland Government and this will be the fifth year that they have been held.
The other films with a chance of winning the top award at the November 24 presentation on the Gold Coast are Let the Bullets Fly, a 1920s story about a notorious bandit and the highest grossing home-grown film in Chinese film history, Indian picture Wedding Planners, about two rival wedding planners from India, and a second Iranian film, Goodbye, about a young Tehran-based lawyer seeking a visa.
All five best feature nominees, except Wedding Planners, are also nominated in the directing category. Actor-turned-director Jiang Wen directed Let the Bullets Fly and Mohammad Rasoulof has already won the award for his direction of Goodbye at Un Certain Regard in Cannes. The fifth nominee, alongside Farhadi and Ceylan, is Na Hong-jin who directed the Korean film The Yellow Sea.
Farhadi and Ceylan, along with Ceylan's co-writers Ercan Kesal and Ebru Ceylan, are also nominated in the screenplay category. The other nominees are Yoon Sung-hyun for Korean film Bleak Night, Denis Osokin for Russian film Silent Souls and Alexey Balabanov for Russian film A Stoker.
Australians Judy Davis and Daniel Connors are nominated for The Eye of the Storm and Toomelah in the acting categories, and another Australian film, Red Dog, has a nomination in the children's feature category. There are also categories for documentary, cinematography and animated features.
2011 APSA nominees:
Best Feature Film
A Separation (Islamic Republic of Iran)
Let the Bullets Fly (People's Republic of China – Mainland China / Hong Kong)
Goodbye (Islamic Republic of Iran)
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (Turkey / Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Wedding Planners (India)
Achievement in Directing
Asghar Farhadi A Separation
Nuri Bilge Ceylan Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
Mohammad Rasoulof Goodbye
Na Hong-jin The Yellow Sea
Jiang Wen Let the Bullets Fly
Best Performance by an Actress
Judy Davis The Eye of the Storm
Nahed El Sebai Cairo 678
Nadezhda Markina Elena
Shayesteh Irani Facing Mirrors
Leyla Zareh Goodbye
Best Performance by an Actor
Peyman Moadi A Separation
Wang Baoqiang Mr Tree
Sasson Gabay Restoration
Fa'afiaula Sagote The Orator
Daniel Connors Toomelah
Yoon Sung-hyun Bleak Night
Denis Osokin Silent Souls
Alexey Balabanov A Stoker
Asghar Farhadi A Separation
Ercan Kesal, Ebru Ceylan and Nuri Bilge Ceylan Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
Achievement in Cinematography
Vladimir Bashta Brest Fortress
Yuri Klimenko The Edge
Mark Lee Ping Bin Norwegian Wood
Sonthar Gyal Old Dog
Gökhan Tiryaki Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
Best Children's Feature Film Award
11 Flowers (People's Republic of China / France)
The Flood (Israel / France / Germany / Canada)
The Fourth Portrait (Taiwan)
Red Dog (Australia)
Wind and Fog (Islamic Republic of Iran)
Best Documentary Feature Film
Amin (Islamic Republic of Iran / Republic of Korea / Canada / Ukraine)
Bakhmaro (Georgia / Germany)
I Was Worth 50 Sheep (Sweden / Japan / USA)
Marathon Boy (India / UK)
Pink Saris (India / UK)
Best Animated Feature Film
Children Who Chase Lost Voices From Deep Below (Japan)
Leafie (Republic of Korea)
RPG Metanoia (Phillippines)
The Ugly Duckling (Russian Federation)
For more information visit www.asiapacificscreenacademy.com