Aditya Dhar’s debut “Uri: The Surgical Strike”, Rima Das’s “Village Rockstars” and Vasan Bala-directed action-comedy “The Man Who Feels No Pain” (“Mard Ko Dard Nahin Hota”) have been picked up by the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) to compete for the final nomination list for the Best Asian Film Award 2019.
The nominations were announced at a gala dinner in Shanghai recently, where AACTA was also hosting a China Australia film forum and panel discussion as part of its ongoing Asia International Engagement Program.
The AACTA Best Asian Film award has been designed to honour the finest films of the past year from 19 Asian regions, reflecting the popularity and importance of Asian films in Australia. ”It’s a great thrill to be picked up by Australia’s highest screen accolade, the AACTA Awards which is like the Australian equivalent of the Oscars. I am so honoured and delighted to see my film in this competition,” Dhar said.
Over 300 guests attended the gala dinner at Wanda Reign on the Bund where AACTA announced the list of films competing for this year’s AACTA Award for Best Asian Film presented by Eureka International Group (EIG). Films from China, Japan and Korea also made it to the list.
Among the Chinese-language films in competition is Australian-Chinese co-production “The Whistleblower”, which was shot in Victoria late last year. It will go up against the second highest-grossing film of all time in China, Frant Gwo sci-fi “The Wandering Earth”; Han Han comedy “Pegasus” ; Stephen Chow’s comedy-drama “The New King of Comedy”; and Ji Zhao and Jiakang Huang’s animated fantasy “White Snake”.
Other films from the China region competing for a nomination are China’s Best Foreign Language Film Oscar entry, action-comedy “Hidden Man”; Zhang Yimou’s period film “Shadow” ; Diao Yinan’s crime drama “The Wild Goose Lake”; action film “Project Gutenberg”; dark comedy “A Cool Fish”; mystery drama “Headlines” and Renny Harlin’s crime thriller “Bodies at Rest”. Also in competition is the Palme d’Or winner, dark comedy “Parasite” from Korean director Bong Joon-ho; South Korea’s Best Foreign Language Film Oscar entry, Lee Chang-dong’s psychological drama mystery “Burning”; Byung-heon Lee action comedy “Extreme Job”; Sundance and Berlinale Award-winning Japanese drama “We Are Little Zombies” from Makoto Nagahisa and Japanese animation “Weathering With You” from filmmaker Makoto Shinkai.
Five nominations will be announced in early October this year which will be determined by preliminary selection committees. The winner of the Best Asian Film Award will be announced on December 4 this year by the 2019 Best Asian Film Grand Jury, led by actor Russell Crowe, and actress Chloe Maayan and Shaw Brothers executive director Virginia Lok.
In the past, Indian films like “Dangal”, “Pink” , “Kaasav:Turtle”, “Gali Guleiyan”, “Newton” and “Sanju” have made it to the nomination list of the AACTA’s Best Asian Film category while among the jurors from India have been the prolific Indian actor Anupam Kher and Shabana Azmi.