Asia Pacific Screen Awards: Before Now and Then Best Film
Indonesian director Kamila Andini’s ‘Before Now and Then’ was named Best Picture at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards. The film’s lead actor, Happy Salma, was on hand to receive the award at a ceremony in Gold Coast, Australia on Friday.
The film tells the story of a young woman who escapes an anti-communist purge and leads a quiet life as the second wife of a wealthy man. But her past traumas resurface in her dreams.
Although the win is the first time an Indonesian title has been named Best APSA Film and the first time a woman has won the award, it is the third time Andini has won an APSA Feature Film. Previously, she won the best children’s film award with “The Mirror Never Lies” in 2012 and the youth feature award with “The Seen and Unseen” in 2017.
Other major awards were presented on Friday to Indonesian critic-turned-filmmaker Makbul Mubarak, who won the APSA for Best Screenplay for ‘Autobiography’; Niklas Lindschau who won the APSA for Best Cinematography for “The Stranger” (aka “Al Garib”) from Palestine; and Franco-Cambodian Davy Chou won Best Director for “Return to Seoul.”
The APSA Acting Awards have gone neutral this year. The new Best Performance award went to Korean actress Lee Jeong-eun (“Parasite,” “Okja”) for her role in “Tribute” (aka “Omaju”). The award for best new performer was also awarded to a Korean, Park Ji-min, in “Return to Seoul”, the only film to win several awards in the evening.
The APSA Jury’s Grand Prize went to “That’s What I Remember” (aka “Esimde”) by Kyrgyz director Aktan Arym Kubat.
The prize for best documentary went to “All That Breathes” from India. The APSA for Best Children’s Film went to “Farha” from Jordan, directed by Darin J Sallam. “Aurora’s Sunrise,” Armenia’s story of a forgotten genocide survivor turned Hollywood silent film star and philanthropist, won APSA for best animated film.
At the APSA ceremony, the four recipients of the MPA APSA Academy Film Fund 2022 grants, worth $25,000 each, were also announced. They are: Khadija Al Salami (Yemen/France) for “I Wish I Were a Girl”; Kirby Atkins (New Zealand) for “Levity Jones”; Anne Kohncke (Norway) for “A Disturbed Earth”; and Lai Weijie Lai (Singapore) for “The Sea Is Calm Tonight”.
After losing financial support from Brisbane during COVID, APSA events are in recovery mode. They moved from Brisbane to the Gold Coast, limited visitor numbers and used the new Home of the Arts complex which has been built since APSAs were established on the Gold Coast in their early days.
With continued support from bodies such as Screen Queensland, the Motion Picture Association and Griffith University, APSAs have nonetheless been able to maintain a series of multi-day screenings and a program of industry-focused seminars.
It was the first time in three years that the ceremony was held with nominees able to attend in person. Under COVID conditions, Queensland’s strict border policies meant even out-of-state Australians were unable to attend.
This time, in-person guests included: MPA Asia Pacific President and MD Belinda Lui; Filipino star actor John Lloyd Cruz; Kylie Bracknell, Australian film star and award-winning multidisciplinary artist; Australian filmmakers Todd Fellman, Chris Amos and Katrina Iriwati Graham; Tearepa Kahi, director of “Muru”, New Zealand Oscar nominee; Thai producer Mai Meksawan; and Korean director Shin Su-won.
While the event was able to celebrate a return to in-person activities, the awards dinner symbolically opened up an empty chair for the many Asia-Pacific filmmakers who are currently being aided by their governments. Of particular note is the Iranian Jafar Panahi, who was on the jury for the first APSA awards in 2007 and is currently in prison.
Previously announced APSA awards included: the Cultural Diversity Award under the patronage of UNESCO which was awarded to “Muru”; the TYoung Cinema Award in partnership with NETPAC and Griffith Film School, which was awarded to Saim Sadiq for Joyland (Pakistan); and the FIAPF prize awarded to Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki.