Wim Wenders’ Perfect Days took the best film prize at the 16th Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) today (November 3), while Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Evil Does Not Exist won the jury grand prize.
The two Japanese films were honoured in a ceremony held for 250 people from 20 countries at the Home of the Arts on Queensland’s Gold Coast.
Perfect Days, which debuted in competition at Cannes this year, is Japan’s submission to the 2024 Academy Awards. The film, about finding beauty in the everyday world around us, centres on a cleaner of toilets in Tokyo.
Scroll down for full list of winners
Wenders and Takuma Takasaki wrote the script, and both produced with Koji Yanai, initiator of the real-life Tokyo Toilet Project.
“In many ways (it was) a dream come true for all of us, especially the fact that nobody less than the great Koji Yakusho played the leading role, the humble public servant Hirayama,” said German director Wenders, accepting the prize for Perfect Days via video.
Producer Satoshi Takata attended the ceremony to accept the jury prize for Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s father-daughter tale Evil Does Not Exist, which world premiered in competition at Venice.
South Korea’s Celine Song won the best director prize for her acclaimed romantic drama Past Lives, while best writer went to fellow South Korean director Anthony Shim for coming-of-age drama Riceboy Sleeps which debuted at Toronto in 2022.
Past Lives, which world premiered at Sundance, had not previously won a major award from the region. Said Song via video: “It is very special to receive this for my very first film and my very personal film, and it is also so meaningful to receive it from my own community.”
Films from eight countries were honoured at the awards. APSA encompasses 78 countries which it says are responsible for about half the world’s film output.
Kazakhstan writer/director Askhat Kuchinchirekov’s debut film Bauryna Salu, which premiered at San Sebastian and explores the tradition of children being adopted by their grandparents, won best youth film.
Kuchinchirekov produced the film with Anna Katchko, who was on hand to remind attendees that Kuchinchirekov was an actor in Tulpan, the best film winner at the second APSA ceremony in 2008.
“Now after so many years he has made this film, so I am very happy for him, I am very happy for Kazakhstan, and I am also happy to be his producer.”
Three Kazakhstan films in all attracted awards. Writer/director Sarvnik Kaur’s Against the Tide, which she produced with Koval Bhatia, won best documentary. Against The Tide is an exploration of environmental degradation through the eyes of two friends, one of whom fishes using traditional methods and one of whom has “modernised”. Azamat Dulatov won the cinematography prize for Qas.
Four days of discussions, presentations and other events were held before and after the ceremony.
Four recipients were announced for APSA’s US$25,000 development grants: Ahmed Yassin Al-Daradji (Iraq), Tamar Shavgulidze (Georgia), Anthony Chen (Singapore) and Rima Das (India).
Three participants were both chosen and announced for APSA’s year long development lab: Shadi Jamil Habib Allah (Israel) for Morning Thread, Haziqah Binti Azemi (Malaysia) for Garek, and Bavaneedha Loganathan (Sri Lanka) for 46 Mondays. One-third of the 30 submissions were women, the highest number yet, and two women were chosen.
Asia Pacific Screen Awards 2023 winners
Perfect Days (Jap)
Jury Grand Prize
Evil Does Not Exist (Jap)
Best Youth Film
Bauryna Salu (Kazak)
Best Animated Film
The Siren (Fr-Ger-Lux-Bel)
Best Documentary Film
Against the Tide (India-Fr)
Celine Song, Past Lives (Kor-US)
Anthony Shim, Riceboy Sleeps (Can-Kor)
Azamat Dulatov, Qas (Kazak)
Special Mention: Krum Rodriguez, Citizen Saint (Geo-Fr-Bul)
Mouna Hawa, Inshallah a Boy (Jor-Fr-Saudi-Qatar)
Best New Performer
Aibar Saly and Alisher Ismailov, Brothers (Kazak)
FIAPF Award for Outstanding Contribution to Asia Pacific Cinema
Jeremy Chua, Singapore
– Armessa Movie News