The trauma of war underpins two major contenders at this year's Asia Pacific Film Awards.
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12 Oct 2012 - 10:14 AM  UPDATED 12 Oct 2012 - 10:14 AM

When the nominations for most film awards are revealed, it is usual that there are many pictures nominated for both best film and best director. This is not the case in this year's Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSAs), which are to be presented in Brisbane next month. Only Iran's Bear, which was recently awarded the Golden Goblet for the best feature at the Shanghai International Film Festival, appears in both categories.

These unique awards, the initiative of a previous Queensland Government, reward excellence but also take notice of how films have the power to change lives, bridge cultural divides and courageously tell stories that should be told. Director Khosro Masoumi's drama (pictured) sounds like one of those films: based on a true story, it is centred on an ordinary couple that suffers from the trauma of war and struggles to achieve a simple family life.

One of Bear's chief competitors, Beyond the Hill, is also a drama with a family at its heart and the emotional effects of war and military service underpinning the story. The joint venture between Turkey and Greece has three nominations, which means it has been named most often in the 10 categories. It too has a best film nomination and debut director Emin Alper is nominated for his screenplay. The film has also earned actor Tamer Levent a nomination.

Like Bear, Beyond the Hill (right) has already received critical acclaim – in this case substantial. It won the award for best Turkish film and several others at the Istanbul International Film Festival, the jury prize at Sarajevo and the Caligari Film Prize at Berlin, and more acknowledgements too.

Masoumi's competition in the directing category is Anurag Kashyap for Gangs of Wasseypur (India), Brillante Mendoza for Thy Womb (The Philippines), Cheng Er for Lethal Hostage (China) and Reis Çelik for Night of Silence (Turkey), which won the Crystal Bear for Best Film Generation 14plus at the 2012 Berlinale. Er and Çelik have also received nominations for their scripts.

Between 50 and 100 people are expected to fly in from across the region for the November 23 ceremony to be held at the Playhouse Theatre of the Queensland Performing Arts Complex. As organisers like to say, these awards encompass one-third of the Earth: 70 countries stretching from Egypt in the west to the Cook Islands in the east, from Russia in the north to New Zealand in the south. This year 34 films in all, from 18 countries, have been named in the 9 categories.

During the first five years of APSAs' life the ceremony has been held on Queensland's Gold Coast. This time it will take place while the Brisbane International Film Festival is underway; indeed, some of the films are going to be included in that program, which has not yet been announced in its entirety.

“We chose the Gold Coast because Queensland is meant to be big long golden beaches,” said APSA artistic director Maxine Williamson, “but we felt it was time for the people in the capital, including the arts community and our major stakeholders, have a chance to see the awards.”

Five pictures in all have a chance of winning best film, the others being the epic historical drama The Horde, the biggest production to emerge from Russia this year, Korean film Nameless Gangster: Rules Of The Time, in which a customs official joins forces with a very unsavory gangster, and the martial arts themed Wu Xia from Hong King/China. Wu Xia screened out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival.

All the best film nominees have two nominations each. Australians who get to see The Horde and Wu Xia (left) should prepare to be visually dazzled: both have been nominated for cinematography. The latter could be difficult to beat: Jake Pollock and Lai Yiu-fai have already been awarded for their double act at both the Asian Film Awards and the Hong Kong Film Awards.

Despite the Pakistani film industry suffering from the influence of Bollywood, a film from that country is in the awards. Shoaib Mansoor, one of the best-known figures on the showbiz scene there, directed Bol but it is for screenplay that he has been nominated. Humaima Malick has also been nominated for her performance. The drama is about a prisoner on death row who desperately wants to tell her story to the media and it set a new opening week record for a local film when it was released in cinemas in its own territory.

Several of the nominees have been submitted by their countries for consideration in the best foreign language film category in the Academy Awards including Footnote from Israel (left), Pieta from Korea and Bunohan: Return to Murder from Malaysia.

The region covered by the awards produces half the world's film: it would be impossible to know that from the inside of Australia's cinemas.

The nominations are:

BEST FEATURE FILM

Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time
(Republic of Korea)
Producers Park Shin-kyu, Han Jae-duk

Bear
(Islamic Republic of Iran),
Javad Norouzbeigi

The Horde
(Russian Federation)
Natalya Gostyushina, Sergei Kravets

Beyond the Hill
(Turkey, Greece)
Enis Köstepen, Seyfi Teoman, Emin Alper and co-producer Nikos Moutselos

Wu Xia
(Hong Kong, People's Republic of China),
Peter Ho-sun Chan, Jojo Hui Yuet-chun and co-producers Lu York, Dong Keyan, Hong Tao, Jiang Wenbo

BEST CHILDREN'S FEATURE FILM

My Australia
(Poland, Israel),
Producers Marek Rozenbaum, Itai Tamir, Dariusz Jablonski, Violetta Kaminska, Izabela Wojcikl

Gattu
(India)
Dr. Shravan Kumar, Children's Film Society of India.

I Wish
(Japan)
Kentaro Koike, Hijiri Taguchiand co-producer Satomi Odake

The Mirror Never Lies
(Indonesia)
Garin Nugroho, Nadine Chandrawinata

Off White Lies

(Israel)
Aurit Zamir, Yoav Roehand co-producer Janja Kralj

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE FILM

Five Broken Cameras
(Israel, Palestine, France)
Producers Christine Camdessus, Serge Gordey, Emad Burnat, Guy Davidi

In My Mother's Arms
(Iraq, UK, Netherlands)
Isabelle Stead, Atia Jabarah Al-Daradji, Mohamed Jabarah Al-Daradji

The Land Beneath the Fog
(Indonesia, Germany)
Shalahuddin Siregar

Planet of Snail
(Republic of Korea, Japan, Finland)
Kim Min-chul, Gary Kam and co-producers Janne Niskala, Imamura Ken-ichi

The Law in These Parts

(Israel, US, Germany)
Liran Atzmor and co-producers BZ Goldberg, Laura Poitras, Martin Hagemann

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

Happy Feet Two
(Australia, US)
Doug Mitchell, George Miller, Bill Miller and co-producer Martin Wood

From Up on Poppy Hill
(Japan)
Toshio Suzuki

A Letter to Momo
(Japan)
Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, Hiroyuki Ikeda, Shigeru Watanabe, Kazuya Hamana

Rainbow Fireflies

(Japan)
Atsutoshi Umezawa

Wolf Children
(Japan)
Yuichiro Saito, Takuya Ito, Takashi Watanabe

ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING

Anurag Kashyap for Gangs of Wasseypur
(India)

Brillante Ma. Mendoza for Thy Womb
(Philippines)

Cheng Er for Lethal Hostage
(People's Republic of China)

Khosro Masoumi for Bear
(Islamic Republic of Iran)

Reis Çelik for Night of Silence
(Turkey)

BEST SCREENPLAY

Cheng Er for Lethal Hostage
(People's Republic of China)

Chris Martinez for The Woman in the Septic Tank
(Philippines)

Emin Alper for Beyond the Hill
(Turkey, Greece)

Reis Çelik for Night of Silence
(Turkey)

Shoaib Mansoor for Bol
(Pakistan)

ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY

Charin Pengpanich for Bunohan: Return to Murder
(Malaysia)

Chin Ting-Chang for Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale
(Taiwan)

Jake Pollock and Lai Yiu-fai for Wu Xia
(Hong Kong, People's
Republic of China)

Touraj Aslani for Rhino Season
(Iraqi-Kurdistan,Turkey)

Yury Raysky for The Horde
(Russian Federation)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR

Choi Min-sik for Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time
(Republic of Korea)

Lior Ashkenazi for Footnote
(Israel)

Manoj Bajpayee for Gangs of Wasseypur
(India)

Tamer Levent for Beyond the Hill
(Turkey, Greece)

Wu Tianming for Full Circle
(People's Republic of China)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS

Cho Min-soo for Pieta
(Republic of Korea)

Darya Ekamasova for Once Upon a Time There Lived a Simple
Woman
(Russian Federation)

Humaima Malick for Bol
(Pakistan)

Nora Aunor for Thy Womb
(Philippines)

Vidya Balan
for The Dirty Picture (India)


The
APSA Awards take place November 23. For more information visit the official website.