March 2, 2024

Two films from Japan, Wim Wenders’ “Perfect Days” and Hamaguchi Ryusuke’s “Evil Does Not Exist,” won the top prizes at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards on Friday. Multiple other honors went to films from Korea and Kazakhstan.

The 16th edition of the APSA Awards was held on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia and recognized films from eight countries.

“Perfect Days,” a gentle comedy drama about a toilet cleaner in Tokyo finding happiness in the everyday, premiered in Cannes and more recently was selected as Japan’s Oscar contender and as the opening title of the Tokyo International Film Festival. Its producer Yanai Koji initiated the real-life Tokyo Toilet Project that features throughout film.

Two part-autobiographical Korean diaspora stories have taken home awards in 2023. Celine Song won the APSA for best director for her nuanced story of romance and emigration “Past Lives.” Anthony Shim was awarded the APSA for best screenplay for “Riceboy Sleeps,” a story of a single mother raising a son in Canada in the 1990s. Their lives are changed when they travel back to South Korea and reconnect with family.

Three awards went to films from Kazakhstan. The award for best cinematography went to Azamat Dulatov for Kazakh film “Qas.” The prize for best youth film went to “Bauryna Salu” by Askhat Kuchinchirekov. The film explores the tradition of children being adopted by their grandparents while their parents are still alive.

Actors Aibar Saly and Alisher Ismailov were jointly awarded the APSA for best new performer, for a first- or second-time lead performance, for their roles as orphans searching for their father in Darkhan Tulegenov’s “Brothers” (aka “Bratya”).

Asia Pacific Screen Awards 2023 Winners

Best Film
“Perfect Days” (Japan) Dir. Wim Wenders. Prod. Wim Wenders, Takuma Takasaki, Koji Yanai.

Jury Grand Prize
“Evil Does Not Exist” (“Aku Wa Sonzai Shinai”) (Japan) Dir. Hamaguchi Ryusuke.
Prod. Takata Satoshi

Best Youth Film
“Bauryna Salu” (Kazakhstan) Dir. Askhat Kuchinchirekov. Prod. Askhat Kuchinchirekov, Anna Katchko.

Best Animated Film
“The Siren” (La Sirene) (France, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium) Dir. Sepideh Farsi. Prod. Sébastien Onomo.

Best Documentary Film
“Against the Tide” (India, France) Dir. Sarvnik Kaur. Prod. Koval Bhatia, Sarvnik Kaur.

Best Director
Celine Song for “Past Lives” (Korea, U.S).

Best Screenplay
Anthony Shim for “Riceboy Sleeps” (Canada, Korea).

Best Cinematography
Azamat Dulatov for “Qas” (Kazakhstan).

Special Mention for Cinematography
Krum Rodriguez for “Citizen Saint” (“Mokalake Tsmindani”) (Georgia, France, Bulgaria).

Best Performance
Mouna Hawa for “Inshallah a Boy” (“Inshallah Walad”) (Jordan, France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar).

Best New Performer
Aibar Saly and Alisher Ismailov for “Brothers” (“Bratya”) (Kazakhstan).      

Cultural Diversity Award
“Rapture” (“Rimdogittanga”) (India, China, Qatar, Switzerland, Netherlands) Dir. Dominic Megam Sangma. Prod. Xu Jianshang, Eva Gunme R Marak, Anu Rangachar, Sun Li, Harsh Agarwal, Aditya Grover, Stephen Zacharias.

Young Cinema Award (with NETPAC and Griffith Film School)
Pham Thien An for “Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell” (Ben Trong Vo Ken Vang) (Vietnam, Singapore, France, Spain).

FIAPF AWARD for Outstanding Contribution to Asia Pacific Cinema
Jeremy Chua (Singapore)

MPA APSA Academy Film Fund (4 x $25,000 grants)
Ahmed Yassin Al-Daradji (Iraq) – screenwriter, director for “Madness and Honey Days”
Rima Das (India) – screenwriter, director, producer for “Malati, My Love”
Tamar Shavgulidze (Georgia) – screenwriter, director for “Vika”
Anthony Chen (Singapore) – screenwriter, director, producer for “We Are All Strangers”.

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