Bong Joon-ho’s ‘Parasite’ is among the films in competition for the AACTA Best Asian Film Award. 

The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) has unveiled some of the films that will compete for a nomination for the 2019 Best Asian Film award.

The selected films were announced at a gala dinner in Shanghai, where AACTA is also hosting an China | Australia film forum and panel discussion as part of its ongoing Asia International Engagement Program.

The Best Asian Film award is designed to honour the finest films of the past year from 19 Asian regions, reflecting the popularity and importance of Asian films in Australia.

Among the Chinese-language films in competition is Australian-Chinese co-production The Whistleblower, which 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, as well as three of the ten highest-grossing films of the year in China so far: 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, which premiered in competition at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival; action film Project Gutenberg; dark comedy A Cool Fish; mystery drama Headlines and Renny Harlin’s crime thriller Bodies at Rest, which opened the Hong Kong International Film Festival earlier this year.

Indian films competing for a nomination include: the highest-grossing Bollywood film of 2019, military action film Uri: The Surgical Strike; India’s Best Foreign Language Film entry, Kamrupi Assamese language coming-of-age film Village Rockstars; and Vasan Bala action comedy The Man Who Feels No Pain, which won the Midnight Madness People’s Choice Award at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival.

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, which is the second most-viewed film in South Korean history; Sundance and Berlinale Award-winning Japanese drama We Are Little Zombies from Makoto Nagahisa; and Japanese animation Weathering With You, from filmmaker Makoto Shinkai.

Nominees will be announced in early October and are determined by preliminary selection committees who determine the nominated films from their respective country/ies of expertise.

The winner of the Best Asian Film Award will be determined by the 2019 Best Asian Film Grand Jury, led by actor Russell Crowe, who will return as President. Joining him for the first time on the jury are actress Chloe Maayan and Shaw Brothers executive director Virginia Lok, while Renny Harlin and Australian producer Paul Currie will also return as grand jurors. The prize will be awarded at the AACTA Awards December 4.

AACTA’s China | Australia Film Forum and Networking Party will be held tonight in Shanghai and will cover insights into co-productions and collaborations between Australia and China from creative, cultural, business, and financial perspectives.

The panel will include Harlin and Currie; Chinese screenwriter Liu Yi (Wolf Warrior II); President and CEO of Perfect Village Entertainment Ellen Eliasoph (The Whistleblower, Shadow); CEO of China Film Assist Geng Ling (Mao’s Last Dancer); co-CEO of Harvest Pictures Group, producer David Redman (SPIN OUT, STRANGE BEDFELLOWS); and moderator Max Yang, producer and former Director of the Market Department at Shanghai International Film Festival.

“We are proud to return to Shanghai to launch the third year of our Asia International Engagement Program, and to continue encouraging, promoting and growing the opportunities for creative collaborations and meaningful pathways between our film industry and those of our Asian neighbours,” said AFI | AACTA CEO Damian Trewhella.

“We’re also thrilled to present tomorrow’s Film Forum, which will focus the importance of encouraging and fostering creative and cultural exchange between the Australian and Chinese film industries – an essential area of growth which has incredible potential to give our industries access to wider pools of talent, special skills, expertise, infrastructure, and funding, among other areas.”

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