Veteran actors Anupam Kher and Shabana Azmi will serve as jury members on Australian Academy’s inaugural Best Asian Film Award. The celebrated actors will be joined by six other jurors on the panel, which will be headed by Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe. The jury will give away awards under the aegis of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) at its annual awards ceremony in Sydney in December.
Other jury members include Chinese director Lu Chuan, South Korean writer Kim Ki-Duk, Chinese actor Ye Liu, producer Gary Kurtz, British producer Adam Torel and Australian film critic Margaret Pomeranz, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
AACTA CEO, Damian Trewhella was quoted as saying “As the Asian screen industry continues to grow and the traditional borders to content distribution are breaking down, audiences across the world are discovering what other regions have to offer. There is strong audience demand for Asian cinema in Australia and an increase in co-productions between Western and Asian filmmakers. We want to continue to make more cultural and film industry connections between filmmakers and audiences,” in the same report.
“This is a moment to build that cultural process and provide a bridge. Students that are entering film schools now are much more diverse and want to tell different stories to those who were at film school in the 1990’s. Building relationships is critical,” added Rachel Griffiths who launched the program alongside actor Sam Neill in Shanghai.
The inaugural award, which was unveiled at the Shanghai International Film Festival on June 21, will serve as the center of attraction of the Academy’s new Asia International Engagement Program. Films from 19 countries across the region, including China, India, South Korea and Japan, will be eligible to compete.