`The Lunchbox` selected for APSA awards

Melbourne: Director Ritesh Batra`s `The Lunchbox` is among the four Indian films that have been nominated in the Seventh Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) this year.

The awards will be held in Brisbane next month.

According APSA official statement, Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk announced the names of 39 films from 22 Asia Pacific countries vying for the region`s highest accolade in cinema.

This year for the first time nominations have gone to films from Bangladesh, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

The six films competing for the coveted Best Feature Film award are `Omar` (Palestine), Iran`s official entry for the Oscars `Le Passe` (The Past, France, Italy), `Soshite chichi ni naru` (Like Father, Like Son, Japan), Bangladesh`s first APSA nomination `Television`, anthology film `The Turning` (Australia), and `With You, Without You` (Sri Lanka).

"It is my absolute pleasure to see the 2013 nominations encompass more Asia Pacific countries and areas than ever before, making this year the most international event in APSA`s proud history. We look forward to once again hosting this internationally renowned event in Brisbane," Quirk said.

In the category of Best Screenplay alongside Asghar Farhadi `Le Passe` (The Past) and Mostofa Sarwar Farooki and Anisul Hoque for `Television` is U-Wei Bin Hajisaari for `Hanyut`, Almayer`s Folly, Malaysia, Ritesh Batra for `The Lunchbox` (India, Germany, France) and Denis Osokin for Nebesnye Zeny Lugovykh Mari (`Celestial Wives of the Meadow Mari, Russian Federation`), who won the APSA in this category in 2011 for Ovsyanki (`Silent Souls`).

Nominees for Best Performance by an Actress, in addition to Golshifteh Farahani `My Sweet Pepperland`, are fellow Iranian actress Negar Javaherian for `The Painting Pool` (Islamic Republic of Iran), as well as Zhang Ziyi for `The Grandmaster` (Hong Kong (PRC), People`s Republic of China), Whirimako Black for `Tuakiri Huna` (White Lies, New Zealand) and Kurdish actress Ay?a Damgaci for `Yozgat Blues` (Turkey, Germany).

Nominees for Best Performance by an Actor, in addition to Adam Bakri (`Omar`) and Yerbolat Toguzakov (`Shal/The Old Man`), are Lee Byung-hun for `Masquerade` (Republic of Korea), Tatsuya Nakadai for `Nippon no higeki` (Japan`s Tragedy, Japan) and Aaron Pedersen for `Mystery Road` (Australia).

`Monsoon Shootout` of Rajeev Ravi has been nominated for Achievement in Cinematography, together with Ehab Assal (`Omar`) and Murat Aliyev (`Shal - The Old Man`).

APSA Chairman Michael Hawkins said, "To see among the nominees first time feature filmmakers who are competing with some of the most established and renowned filmmakers in the region, and indeed the world, means the International Jury has a hard task ahead of them."

`Menstural Man` (Singapore, India) produced by Amit Virmani an `Seah kui Luan` figured in the best documentary feture film nominations. `Goopi Gawaiya Bagha` Bajaiya produced by India`s Children`s Film Society is competing in best animated feature film with four other foreign films.

Winners in the feature film categories will be determined by the 2013 APSA International Jury, headed by Indian director Shyam Benegal, who will lead a group of Jury members including Korean director Kim Tae-yong, `Queen of Sri Lankan Cinema` actress Malani Fonseka, Turkish actor Tamer Levent, Swiss director Christoph Schaub and Hong Kong producer Albert Lee.

There has been inclusion of two additional awards for outstanding achievments -- The UNESCO Award for outstanding contribution to the promotion and preservation of cultural diversity through film and FIAPF Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film.

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