Aparna Sen nominated to Asia Pacific Screen Awards jury

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By Neena Bhandari

Sydney, Oct 24 (IANS) Acclaimed Indian director and actress Aparna Sen has been nominated to the international jury for the second annual Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA), which will be announced Nov 11 at the popular Australian tourist destination Gold Coast.

"I am very familiar with Aparna's work and I am thrilled to have a filmmaker of her stature joining me on the Jury," APSA Jury President, Oscar nominated director Bruce Beresford told IANS.

Sen made her debut as an actress in 1961 in Satyajit Ray's "Two Daughters" and has since acted in films of several noted film directors including Mrinal Sen, James Ivory, Tapan Sinha and Hrishikesh Mukherjee.

She has directed award winning films like "36 Chowringhee Lane", "Mr. and Mrs. Iyer", and has just finished her latest production, "The Japanese Wife".

A recipient of the prestigious Padmashree Award for her contribution to cinema, Sen has served on several film juries including the international film festivals of India, Moscow and Hawaii.

The other members on the jury include American producer Richard Rothschild, whose production credits include "Tender Mercies" and "The Truman Show", Chinese director and professor of the prestigious Beijing Film Academy Zheng Dongtian, and Hanna Lee, producer of the 2007 APSA Best Feature Film "Miryang" (Secret Sunshine), from the Republic of Korea.

The inaugural 2007 APSA jury was headed by acclaimed actress and activist Shabana Azmi.

"The Jury's task is formidable - they must determine winners from 33 films representing 17 countries of the Asia-Pacific region to have been nominated in this year's APSAs," Des Power, APSA Chairman, said.

Indian films vying for the highest film accolade in the region include Aamir Khan's critically acclaimed "Taare Zameen Par" and Ashutosh Gowariker's historical romance "Jodhaa Akbar". The other Indian entries include "Colours of Passion" by director 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 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.

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.

In 2008, 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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