Australian Academy launches 2019 Asia International Engagement Program

By Our Reporter
Still from 'Uri: The Surgical Strike'

Films in competition for 2019 Best Asian Film Award announced

The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) has launched the third year of their Asia International Engagement Program in Shanghai, holding an exciting China | Australia Film Forum and Panel Discussion and an exclusive gala dinner to celebrate the 2019 Program.

Over 300 guests attended the gala dinner at Wanda Reign on the Bund, which included a stand out performance from Chinese boy band WayV.

During the gala dinner, AACTA announced many of the films competing for a nomination for the 2019 AACTA Award for Best Asian Film presented by Eureka International Group (EIG), which honours the finest films of the past year from 19 Asian regions, reflecting the popularity and importance of Asian films in Australia.

Among the Indian films in competing for a nomination are: the highest-grossing Bollywood film of 2019, military action film Uri: the Surgical Strike; India’s Best Foreign Language Film entry for the 91st Oscars, Kamrupi Assamese language coming-of-age film Village Rockstars; and action comedy The Man Who Feels No Pain, which won the Midnight Madness People’s Choice Award at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival.

AACTA also announced a number of the films in competition from other regions. Chinese-language films in competition include the second highest-grossing film of all time in China and one of the top 20 highest-grossing science fiction films of all time worldwide, The Wandering Earth, as well as three of the ten highest-grossing films in China of 2019 so far: comedy Pegasus; Chinese-Hong Kong comedy-drama The New King Of Comedy; and animated fantasy film White Snake.

Still from ‘Village Rockstars’

Other films from the China region competing for a nomination are: The WhistleBlower, one of the biggest Chinese-Australian co-productions ever made; China’s Best Foreign Language Film Oscar entry, action comedy Hidden Man; Renny Harlin’s Bodies At Rest, which opened the Hong Kong International Film Festival earlier this year; and period film Shadow, which won four awards at the 55th Golden Horse Awards.

Also in competition are: the first Korean film to win the Palme d’Or, dark comedy Parasite; South Korea’s Best Foreign Language Film Oscar entry and the first Korean film to make the Oscars final nine-film shortlist, psychological drama mystery Burning; action comedy Extreme Job, which is the second most-viewed film in South Korean history; Sundance and Berlinale Award-winning Japanese drama We Are Little Zombies; and Japanese animation Weathering With You, from filmmaker Makoto Shinkai whose 2016 animation Your Name is the highest-grossing anime film of all time.

The winner of the Best Asian Film Award will be determined by the 2019 Best Asian Film Grand Jury, led by Oscar and multiple AFI and AACTA Award-winning actor Russell Crowe, who will return as President.

It was also announced at the event that Hong Kong Film Award-winning actress Chloe Maayan and Shaw Brothers Executive Director Virginia Lok will join Crowe on the 2019 Best Asian Film Grand Jury. Finnish director Renny Harlin and Australian producer Paul Currie will also return as Grand Jurors.

The AACTA Award for Best Asian Film presented by Eureka International Group will be presented at the 2019 AACTA Awards presented by Foxtel, held on Wednesday 4 December 2019 in Sydney at The Star Event Centre and telecast nationally on Channel 7, with encore screenings on Foxtel.

Still from ‘The Man Who Feels No Pain’

“We are proud to return to Shanghai to launch the third year of our Asia International Engagement Program, and to continue encouraging, promoting and growing the opportunities for creative collaborations and meaningful pathways between our film industry and those of our Asian neighbours,” said AFI | AACTA CEO Damian Trewhella. “We’re also thrilled to present tomorrow’s Film Forum, which will focus the importance of encouraging and fostering creative and cultural exchange between the Australian and Chinese film industries—an essential area of growth which has incredible potential to give our industries access to wider pools of talent, special skills, expertise, infrastructure, and funding, among other areas.”

Australian Chinese audiences have had a tremendous impact on the Australian film industry, and Matrix has been committed to the integration of Chinese and Western cultures to achieve further mutual understanding and cooperation,” said Sammy Shi, CEO of Organising Partner Matrix United Technology Pty Ltd. “By working with AACTA’s Asia International Engagement Program, Matrix hopes to effectively build a strong cooperation channel between Australia and China’s film and television industry, and to provide a stronger international stage for Chinese films and film producers.


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