By Neena Bhandari
Gold Coast (Australia), Nov 13 (IANS) "Gandhi, My Father" has won the Best Screenplay category award at the inaugural Asia Pacific Screen Awards, the region's highest accolade in film in 2007, being held on Queenland's Gold Coast.
Critically acclaimed Feroze Abbas Khan's film was in the fray with "Lucky Miles"(Australia), "Night Bus" (Iran), "Secret Sunshine" (Republic of Korea), and "Takva: A Man's fear of God" (Turkey).
Receiving the award, Khan said, "I dedicate this award to the memory of the man who provided an alternative path of struggle to the world, non-violence. It is great for my country."An international jury, headed by actress and activist Shabana Azmi, determined the winners in each category, which were announced at a high profile function attended by the who's who in the film industry from the Asia Pacific region and film industry luminaries from the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and the United States.
There were 34 films from 19 countries nominated for the various categories of APSA. Besides India, films from Korea, Indonesia, Japan, Lebanon, Iran, Turkey and Israel received the awards.
At the ritzy Sheraton Mirage overlooking the Pacific Ocean, people dressed in black tie and national dress raised a toast to the diversity of culture manifested through cinema.
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said, "Australia is one of the most multicultural countries in the world. These awards are central to what our state is and hosting this event on the Gold Coast gives a push to make Queensland a hub for filmmakers."
"Gandhi, My Father" is a very different film to the common perception, of kitsch romances with so called song and dance sequences that most Australians have of Indian cinema.
Adrienne McKibbins, executive officer of the film critics circle of Australia, "It is so good to see Gandhi win in its category. Feroze is obviously an extremely talented writer who knew a lot about his subject and the award is well deserved. I hope we see his name on more Hindi films both as a writer and a director."
Asia Pacific Screen Awards Chairman Des Power thanked Shabana Azmi and her Jury colleagues, founding Director of South Korea's Pusan International Film Festival Kim Dong-ho, Iranian director Jafar Panahi, UK producer Nik Powell and Chinese filmmaker Tian Zhuangzhuang for their deliberations over the past week.
"I congratulate the winners of the inaugural Asia Pacific Screen Awards announced tonight who also inspire with their courage and creative brilliance." Power said.
APSA is an initiative of the Queensland Government in collaboration with CNN International, UNESCO and FIAPF (The International Federation of Film Producers Associations), whose shared vision has made the Asia Pacific Screen Awards possible. The Awards honour the works of filmmakers across a region covering more than 70 countries, one third of the earth and half the world's film output.