On November 10th, the Motion Picture Association joined with the Australian Embassy in Washington to celebrate the Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) with a screening of Iraqi Kurdish filmmaker Shawkat Amin Korki’s powerful feature film, “Memories on Stone.” The filmmaker himself made the trip to Washington to join MPAA Chairman and CEO Senator Chris Dodd, Australian Ambassador Kim Beazley, APSA Executive Chairman Michael Hawkins, representatives and guests of the Australian Embassy, and representatives from the DC film community and film students to be part of the evening’s celebrations.
Since it was created in 2007, the Asia Pacific Screen Awards, an international cultural initiative of the Brisbane City Council in Australia, has been honoring, supporting and promoting the work of filmmakers throughout the Asia Pacific region. And over the past five years, the Motion Picture Association has been proud to join with APSA to support the development of the region’s talented filmmakers through the MPA APSA Academy Film Fund. Through this fund, four projects from the region are chosen to receive a $25,000 development grant. “Memories on Stone” began as one of these winners back in 2011. Telling a powerful story of friendship and filmmaking in one of the world’s most troubled regions, “Memories on Stone,” has been described byVariety as “A dark tale of an inescapable past, told with dollops of absurdist humour.” Since its completion the film has had phenomenal success, winning the APSA International Jury chosen 2014 APSA UNESCO Award for the preservation of cultural diversity through film along with more than a dozen international awards. This past June, the film had an official screening at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, during UNESCO’s 2015 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Express and is now Iraq’s official submission for the 88th Academy Awards® for the Best Foreign-Language Film.
Before the screening began, Senator Dodd welcomed the evening’s guests by talking about the success of the MPA APSA Academy Film Fund, saying the fund “helps ensure that all types of stories from every part of the Asia Pacific are able to find their way to the screen.” And APSA Executive Chairman Michael Hawkins said that “Memories on Stone,” like most recipient projects, would have struggled to exist without the support of the film fund. To date, more than 300 projects have been submitted to the fund for consideration, with 20 of them having received grants to help them in their development, and four having premiered internationally. Later this month, four more projects, chosen from submissions from 28 Asia Pacific countries and areas, will be awarded grants during the annual APSA Ceremony in Brisbane, Australia, bringing the total number of fund recipient projects to twenty four. Those four will follow in the footsteps of past recipients whose films have become incredible global success stories, including Asghar Farhadi’s Oscar winning drama “A Separation,” and Maryam Ebrahimi’s “No Burqas Behind Bars,” which won the documentary International Emmy. A full list of this year’s nominees can be found here.