India shines at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards

Tesjaswini   Pandit,   who has been nominated for Best Performance by an Actress. She delivers a deeply moving performance in the Marathi language film I am Sindhutai Sakpal

By Neeru Saluja

The Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) has entered its fourth year and Indian films have received five nominations. As an initiative of the Queensland Government, in collaboration with UNESCO and FIAPF-International Federation of Film Producers Associations, films from 70 countries from nearly one third of the earth and comprising half the world’s film output are represented.   The films are judged on cinematic excellence and the way in which they attest to their cultural origins.

Besides five nominations, actress Tannishtha Chatterjee has been appointed to the International Jury of the fourth annual Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA).   She follows in the footsteps of her fellow Indian filmmakers, Shabana Azmi, Aparna Sen and Pryas Gupta who have all served on previous APSA juries.

Tannishtha Chatterjee is an Indian actress and accomplished singer best known outside of  India for her performance in the British film Brick Lane (2007), the film adaptation of Monica Ali’s bestselling novel of the same name. She was nominated for the British Independent Film Awards as the best actress for the role alongside fellow nominees Dame Judi Dench and Anne Hathaway.

Chatterjee has finished filming Ravi Kumar’s upcoming film, Bhopal: Prayer for Rain in which she works alongside Martin Sheen. She has starred in ”˜Road’ with Abhay Deol and she is working with Lucy Liu in a film based on the book Half the Sky. Known as the Princess of Parallel Cinema, she is also a trained Hindustani classical vocalist and has performed for film soundtracks and at the Royal Opera House in  London  with well known British composer Jocelyn Pook.

The first nomination goes to Tesjaswini Pandit who has been nominated for ”˜Best Performance by an Actress’. She delivers a deeply moving performance in the Marathi language film I am Sindhutai Sakpal. APSA Nominations Council member Maithili Rao, speaking of Tesjaswini Pandit’s performance in the film, said: “Tesjaswini Pandit holds the film together with a very strong and sincere performance.”

Atul Kulkarni has been nominated for ”˜Best Performance by an Actor’ for Natarang, in which he plays a village laborer who overcomes gender politics to achieve his dream of becoming a theatre performer. “It’s a virtuoso performance that shows a magical transformation…it’s startling,” said APSA Nominations Council member and Variety critic, Russell Edwards of Atul Kulkarni’s performance in Natarang.

Udaan has been nominated in the Best Children’s Feature Film category. Nominated Producers are Sanjay Singh, Anurag Kashyap and Ronnie Screwvala and Co-Producers are Aarti Bajaj, Zarina Mehta, Deven Khote and Siddarth Roy Kapur.

Two films have received Best Achievement in Cinematography nominations. Sudhir Palsane has been nominated for Vihir (The Well) and Santosh Sivan and V. Manikandan for Raavan. Santosh Sivan’s earlier film Tahaan was nominated in the 2009 Asia Pacific Screen Awards for Best Children’s Feature Film, receiving a High Commendation. The Well, directed by Umesh Kulkarni, has been feted globally following its World Premiere at the 2010 Berlinale.

A total of 31 films from 15 countries and areas across Asia-Pacific have been recognised in 2010 with APSA Nominations. Films from the People’s Republic of China, including one from Hong Kong, received total of 12 nominations in the Awards; films from the Republic of Korea received six nominations; Indian films received five; Japanese films received four; Israeli, Taiwanese, and Turkish films received three; and Australian and New Zealand films received two. Films from the Islamic Republic of Iran, Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories, the Russian Federation and Cambodia each received one nomination.

The 2010 Nominees are automatically inducted into the Academy of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards making them eligible to apply for the MPA APSA Academy Film Fund, a new US$100,000 script development fund supported by the Motion Picture Association (MPA) and available exclusively to Academy members. The film fund submission period closes on October 29 and the fund’s inaugural recipients will be announced at the APSA Ceremony on December 2. Led by Patron Jack Thompson, the Academy is a growing body of the region’s most influential names in films including past APSA Nominees, International Jury and Nominations Council members.

The International Jury headed by Lord David Puttnam will assemble on Australia’s Gold Coast in late November ahead of the APSA Ceremony on December 2. The Awards Ceremony will be webcast live through

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