11 Indian entries for Asia Pacific Screen Awards

Sydney, Sep 23 (IANS) "Taare Zameen Par" and "Jodhaa Akbar" are among 11 Indian films entered for the 2008 Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA), the highest accolade for movies in the region.

The award ceremony will take place at the popular tourist destination of Gold Coast in Queensland this November.

The awards have attracted entries from over 180 films from 43 countries, showcasing the talent and cinematic diversity of a region covering one-third of the earth's surface and 60 percent of its population.

"In just its second year, APSA has been embraced by the burgeoning film industries of Asia-Pacific. The region's filmmakers welcome the unprecedented opportunity APSA offers to acclaim their work and promote it to an international audience," says APSA Chairman Des Power.

Besides Aamir Khan's critically acclaimed directorial debut "Taare Zameen Par" and Ashutosh Gowariker's blockbuster "Jodhaa Akbar", the other Indian entries include "Colours of Passion" by Ketan Mehta, Nandita Das's directorial debut "Firaaq", "Return of Hanuman" by Anurag Kashyap, "Goddesses" by Leena Manimekalai, "Mahek" by K. Kanade and "The Prisoner" by Pryas Gupta.

The much-talked about documentary based on India's first woman IPS officer Kiran Bedi, "Yes Madam, Sir" directed by Megan Doneman, "A Jihad for Love" by Parvez Sharma and "Lakshmi and Me" by Nishtha Jain are the other entries.

"With the subcontinent being at the geographical heart of the awards, it is pleasing to see linguistic and cinematic diversity so widely reflected by the Indian films in contention," Russell Edwards, Sydney-based film critic for the international trade paper Variety and member of the APSA Nominations Council, told IANS.

APSA brings together different genres from the multifaceted industries of India, to the stylised horror genres of Japan, to the allegorical tragedies and comedies of Korea, the extraordinary tapestry of Chinese cinema, the poetry and reality of Persian cinema and visionary narratives of the Middle East.

APSA is an initiative of the Queensland Government in collaboration with CNN International, Unesco and FIAPF (The International Federation of Film Producers Associations) to acclaim films that best reflect their cultural origins and cinematic excellence.

"Asia Pacific Screen Awards is an idea whose time has come, both politically and culturally. It is only fair that Asian cinema, which comprises nearly three-fourths of the world cinema, is properly recognised and represented," actress and activist Shabana Azmi, who was the president of the inaugural 2007 Awards, had told IANS.

The finalists for nine out of the 12 APSA award categories will be announced Oct 1, with the Awards ceremony to be held Nov 11.

This year, awards will be presented for Best Feature Film, Best Animated Film, Best Documentary, Best Children's Film, Achievement in Directing, Best Screenplay, Achievement in Cinematography, Performance by an Actress, Performance by an Actor.

Two additional awards will be presented for outstanding achievement: The International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF) Award for outstanding achievement in film in the Asia-Pacific region and the Unesco Award for outstanding contribution to the promotion and preservation of cultural diversity through film.

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