Aus films Blueback and Scarygirl vying for Best Film at Asia Pacific Screen Awards

Scarygirl is up for Best Animated Film, and Blueback contends for Best Youth Film at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards this November.

Australian films Scarygirl and Blueback will compete for Best Film in their categories (Animated Film and Youth Film) at the biggest international film awards to be held in Australia. 

The winners of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards will be announced on 3 November at Gold Coast’s HOTA (Home of the Arts).

The APSA awards celebrate the screen storytelling and cultural diversity of the region’s 78 countries and areas, representing a third of the earth and half the world’s film.

Read: SPA: Ones to Watch confirmed for 2023

Scarygirl goes for Best Animated Film

Scarygirl is an animation feature about a young girl, Arkie, with one tentacle arm, who must leave the safety of her home to travel to a mysterious city of light to save her Octopus father from a powerful scientist, and prevent the destruction of her planet. Many Australian and New Zealand actors leant their voices to film, including Jillian Nguyen, Sam Neill, Tim Minchin, Dylan Alcott and Deborah Mailman.

Based on Australian artist Nathan Jurevicius’ graphic novels, Scarygirl is directed by Ricard Cussó, co-directed by Tania Vincent and produced by Sophie Byrne, Kristen Souvlis, Nadine Bates and Ryan Greaves. 

Scarygirl is up against Deep Sea (Shen hai, People’s Republic of China), The First Slam Dunk(Japan), The Siren (La Sirène; France, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium) and Suzume (Suzume no Tojimari, Japan).

‘What an honour it is to have our film recognised by the prestigious Asia Pacific Screen Awards, and to be selected from a large pool of world class animated feature films,’ said Scarygirl producer Sophie Byrne.

Scarygirl is the product of years of dedication from a small team of like-minded creatives and individuals:  From my co-producers at Like A Photon Creative, our directors, our talented diverse voice cast, all crew, distributors, financiers and ultimately Scarygirl’s creator and production designer, Nathan Jurevicius, whose distinct and unique vision has resulted in the creation of a truly ‘one of a kind’ Australian animated feature film.’

Blueback up for Best Youth Film

Released in Australia earlier this year, Blueback is based on the novel by Tim Winton and stars Mia Wasikowska, Radha Mitchell, Eric BanaBlueback was filmed in Western Australia’s Bremer Bay and the Ningaloo Reef.

Blueback competes with the following nominees: Bauryna Salu (Kazakhstan), A House in Jerusalem(Palestine, United Kingdom, Qatar, Netherlands, Germany), Monster (Kaibutsu, Japan) and Tiger Stripes (Malaysia, Taiwan, Singapore, France, Germany, Netherlands, Indonesia, Qatar). 

The film is produced by James Grandison, Robert Connolly and Liz Kearney, and directed by Robert Connolly. This marks Connolly’s second APSA nomination, the first being for his 2013 film The Turning. It’s also the second nomination for Liz Kearney who was nominated in the same category last year with Sweet As.

‘We are delighted to be nominated by the APSA Awards for Blueback, excited to be part of the community of films and filmmakers that the awards continue to champion throughout the Asia Pacific, and looking forward to joining this important celebration of diverse storytelling and cinema,’ said Connolly.

Read: Sweet As review: uniquely Australian coming-of-age tale

Best Film

The five films in the running for the APSA Best Film Award are two Japanese films: Evil Does Not Exist (Aku Wa Sonzai Shinai) and Perfect Days, Chinese film Snow Leopard (Xue bao), the Georgian story Citizen Saint (Mokalake Tsmindani) and Qas from Kazakhstan.

Evil Does Not Exist (Aku Wa Sonzai Shinai) has earned the most nominations for the 16th Asia Pacific Screen Awards, with a total of four: Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Cinematography (Yoshio Kitagawa). The film comes from from Japanese writer-director and previous APSA Best Film winner Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Drive My Car)

‘APSA would like to congratulate the first winners and all nominees for the 16th edition of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards,’ said Chair of the Asia Pacific Screen Academy Tracey Vieira.

‘As the region’s film industry flourishes, it is significant that almost half of the nominations this year go to first or second time filmmakers, who are vying for the awards alongside some of the most celebrated filmmakers of our time.’

Running from 1-4 November, the 5th Asia Pacific Screen Forum features in-conversations, workshops, panel discussions and intimate roundtables with a public programme of screenings and Q&As. 

As part of the forum, the 16th Asia Pacific Screen Awards Red Carpet and Ceremony will take place Friday 3 November at Home of the Arts (HOTA).

Scarygirl releases nationally in Australia on October 26 through Madman Films. 

Tickets are on sale for the full Forum and the 16th Asia Pacific Screen Awards ceremony.

Silvi Vann-Wall is a journalist, podcaster, and filmmaker. They joined ScreenHub as Film Content Lead in 2022. Twitter: @SilviReports