‘Sweet Country’ earns three Asia Pacific Screen Awards nominations

‘Sweet Country.’

Warwick Thornton’s Sweet Country has received three nominations for the Asia Pacific Screen Awards, the most nominations ever received by an Australian film.

In addition to a nomination for Best Feature Film, Sweet Country – which won the Venice Film Festival’s Special Jury Prize and the TIFF Platform prize – has also earned nods for Achievement in Cinematography and Best Screenplay.

Thornton’s first film, Samson and Delilah, won the APSA Award for Best Feature Film in 2009; the only Australian film to ever win in this category.

Talking to IF, the director said it was exciting and an honour for Sweet Country to be nominated, noting the importance of this kind of recognition for smaller films.

“It so helps with these small films that we make [in Australia] where we don’t have $20 million dollars to promote it on buses and in the sky and on commercial television,” said Thornton.

“These small gestures of recognition that the film gets – whether it’s a festival or it’s an award – they help so much.”

In a statement, producer Greer Simpkin agreed it was an honour: “Sweet Country is a film about a specific place and culture in Australia but has been warmly embraced by international audiences. So for us, it’s a great joy to have Sweet Country now nominated in the Asia Pacific Screen Awards here in Australia, along with brilliant films from around world.”

Besides Sweet Country, only two other are up for three awards: Hirokazu Kore-eda’s sci-fi The Third Murder (Sandome no Satsujin, Japan) and Scary Mother (Sashishi Deda; Georgia, Estonia).

Overall, Australian films have earned six nominations in total, equal to both China and Japan, making Oz a frontrunner for the first time in the 11 year history of the event.

Rachel Perkin’s Jasper Jones and The Seen Unseen, a co-production between Australia, Indonesia, the Netherlands and Qatar, are both nominated for Best Youth Feature Film, while Hollie Fifer’s The Opposition is up for Best Documentary Feature Film.

Besides Sweet Country, the other films nominated for Best Feature Film include Angels Wear White (China, France), Foxtrot (Israel, Germany, France, Switzerland), A Gentle Creature (France, Germany, Lithuania, Netherlands) and A Man of Integrity (Iran).

Overall, 41 films from 25 countries in the Asia Pacific region have received nominations, drawn from 298 films in competition.  This year’s jury is headed by veteran Australian editor Jill Billock (Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge!, Elizabeth, Muriel’s Wedding, Red Dog, The Dressmaker), alongside Filipino writer-director Adolfo Alix Jr, Chinese actress He Saifei, Tokyo Film Festival Programmer Yoshi Yatabe and Kazakh writer, director and cinematographer Adilkhan Yerzhanov.

The Best Youth Feature Film, Best Documentary Feature Film and Best Animation Feature Film are judged by a second jury comprised of APSA Academy members Haifaa Al Mansour (Saudi Arabia) and Melanie Coombs (Australia), as well as British producer Steve Abbott representing APSA’s Academy Alliance with the European Film Academy (EFA).

This year’s event will also feature two new awards, the APSA Young Cinema Award and the FIAPF-International Federation of Film Producers Associations Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film.

Chair of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards and its Academy Michael Hawkins said: “As APSA forges into its 11th year, it is significant to note that amongst the nominees there are not only a great number of newer filmmakers, but also a large number of filmmakers who are already a part of the growing Asia Pacific Screen Academy, which was created precisely to encompass and connect the large body of talented filmmakers in the Asia Pacific Region. Significantly, this year there are APSA Academy members nominated across almost all categories, and we look forward to welcoming all of the nominees both to Brisbane as well as into the growing Academy”.

The 11th Asia Pacific Screen Awards will be held November 23, Brisbane.

Full list of nominations: 


Angels Wear White (Jia Nian Hua)


A Gentle Creature (Krotkaya)

A Man of Integrity (Lerd)

Sweet Country


Big Big World (Koca Dünya)

Jasper Jones

The Seen and Unseen (Sekala Niskala)

The Skier (Ski-Baz)

The Summer is Gone (Ba Yue)


Have a Nice Day (Hao ji le)

Saving Sally

A Silent Voice (Koe no Katachi)

Window Horses: The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming

your name. (Kimi no na wa)



Kim Dotcom: Caught in the Web

Last Men in Aleppo

The Opposition

Taste of Cement

A Yangtze Landscape (Changjiang)


Ana URUSHADZE for Scary Mother (Sashishi Deda)

Andrey ZVYAGINTSEV for Loveless (Nelyubov)

KORE-EDA Hirokazu for The Third Murder (Sandome no Satsujin)

Mouly SURYA for Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts (Marlina si Pembunuh dalam Empat Babak)

Sanal KUMAR SASIDHARAN for Sexy Durga


Amit V MASURKAR, Mayank TEWARI for Newton

Boris KHLEBNIKOV, Natalia MESHCHANINOVA for Arrhythmia (Aritmiya)

Dastan ZHAPAR UULU, Bakyt MUKUL for A Father’s Will (Atanyn Kereezi)

David TRANTER, Steven MCGREGOR for Sweet Country

KORE-EDA Hirokazu for The Third Murder (Sandome no Satsujin)


LYU Songye for Ghost in the Mountains (Kong Shan Yi Ke)

Mindia ESADZE for Scary Mother (Sashishi Deda)

Pyotr DUKHOVSKOY, Timofey LOBOV for The Bottomless Bag (Meshok Bez Dna)

Shehnad JALAL for Lady of the Lake (Loktak Lairembee)

Warwick THORNTON, Dylan RIVER for Sweet Country


Cut MINI for Emma’ (Mother) (Athirah)

Ecem UZUN for Clair Obscur (Tereddüt)

NA Moon-hee for I Can Speak

Nata MURVANIDZE for Scary Mother (Sashishi Deda)

ZHOU Xun for Our Time Will Come (Ming Yue Ji Shi You)


Navid MOHAMMADZADEH for No Date, No Signature (Bedoune Tarikh, Bedoune Emza)

Paolo BALLESTEROS for Die Beautiful

KOJI Yakusho for The Third Murder (Sandome no Satsujin)

Rajkummar RAO for Newton

Mohammad BAKRI, Saleh BAKRI for Wajib (Duty)




Die Beautiful

Honeygiver Among the Dogs (Munmo Tashi Khyidron)                 

Lady of the Lake (Loktak Lairembee)