Wim Wenders a winner as ‘Perfect Days’ named Best Film at Asia Pacific Screen Awards

Koji Yakusho in 'Perfect Days'.

Japanese films have taken top honours at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) on the Gold Coast, with Wim Wenders’ Perfect Days and Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Evil Does Not Exist awarded Best Film and the Jury Grand Prize, respectively.

Wenders’ comedy-drama stars Kōji Yakusho as a toilet cleaner in Tokyo who finds happiness both in and outside of his work, which he balances with his passion for books and music.

The German-Japanese co-production opened Tokyo International Film Festival last week and is also Japan’s submission to the 2024 Academy Awards in the Best International Feature category.

In accepting the award via a video message, Wenders, who produced Perfect Days with Takuma Takasaki and Koji Yanai, said it was with “great pleasure and pride” that he received the accolade.

“Wow, what an honour, especially for a German director,” he said.

“The film was, in many ways, a dream come true for all of us, especially the fact that nobody less than the great Koji Yakusho played the leading role, the humble public servant, Hirayama.”

In Evil Does Not Exist, a talent company proposes to develop a glamping site near a small Japanese village, threatening nature and the community.

It’s the second time in three years Hamaguchi has been recognised at the awards, following a Best Film win in 2021 for Drive My Car. Evil Does Not Exist producer and APSA Academy member Satoshi Takata was on hand to accept the Grand Jury Prize on the film’s behalf.

Outside of Japan, the Republic of Korea was also well represented on the winners’ list, with Celine Song named Best Director for her story of romance and emigration Past Lives, while Anthony Shim received Best Screenplay for Canada-Republic of Korea co-production Riceboy Sleeps, about a single mother raising a son in Canada in the ’90s, whose lives are changed when they travel back to South Korea and reconnect with family.

The APSA for Best Performance went to Palestinian performer Mouna Hawa for her role as the mother of a young daughter whose life is upturned by harsh local inheritance laws in the Jordanian film Inshallah a Boy (Inshallah Walad), the debut feature from Amjad Al Rasheed.

In a video message, Hawa thanked Rasheed for trusting her to “life the Nawal he has been dreaming of for years”.

Inshallah a Boy raises moral questions by telling a story of a woman who fights for her basic human rights, not being displaced, not being separated from her own child, demanding recognition, seeking justice and liberation,” she said.

Ryô Nishikawa in ‘Evil Does Not Exist’

“In these times, a film like Inshallah a Boy that dares to question our entire reality is essential not only for educating people and making them think, but also for giving us a voice in times when we simply can’t speak. Thank you.”

Rounding out the awards determined by the international jury was Best Cinematography, which went to Azamat Dulatov for Kazakh film Qas, with the jury adding a Special Mention for Krum Rodriguez for Georgian film Citizen Saint (Mokalake Tsmindani).

Unfortunately, there was no joy for the Australian nominees this year, with Richard Cussó and Tania Vincent’s animated fantasy feature Scarygirl losing out to Sepideh Farsi’s The Siren in the Best Animated Film category, while Robert Connolly’s Blueback was beaten by Askhat Kuchinchirekov’s Bauryna Salu for Best Youth Film.

Speaking about this year’s winners, APSA international jury president Clara Law said the cultural diversity in this year’s short-listed selections was “truly amazing”.

“I fervently hope that this will inspire upcoming and younger filmmakers to be brave, to not be afraid to break new ground in their pursuits so that the art and cultural diversity of our region will reverberate in many beautiful films in the years to come,” she said.

The full list of APSA winners is below:


Perfect Days
Directed by Wim Wenders
Produced by Wim Wenders, Takuma Takasaki, Koji Yanai


Evil Does Not Exist (Aku Wa Sonzai Shinai)
Directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi
Produced by Satoshi Takata


Bauryna Salu
Directed by Askhat Kuchinchirekov
Produced by Askhat Kuchinchirekov, Anna Katchko


The Siren (La Sirène)
France, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium
Directed by Sepideh Farsi
Produced by Sébastien Onomo


Against the Tide
India, France
Directed by Sarvnik Kaur
Produced by Koval Bhatia, Sarvnik Kaur


Celine Song for Past Lives
Republic of Korea, United States


Anthony Shim for Riceboy Sleeps
Canada, Republic of Korea


Azamat Dulatov for Qas

Special Mention for Cinematography 

Krum Rodriguez for Citizen Saint (Mokalake

Georgia, France, Bulgaria


Mouna Hawa for Inshallah a Boy (Inshallah Walad)
Jordan, France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar


Aibar Saly and Alisher Ismailov for Brothers (Bratya)


Rapture (Rimdogittanga)
India, People’s Republic of China, Qatar, Switzerland, Netherlands
Directed by Dominic Megam Sangma
Produced by Xu Jianshang, Eva Gunme R Marak, Anu Rangachar, Sun Li, Harsh Agarwal, Aditya Grover, Stephen Zacharias


Phạm Thiên Ân for Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Bên Trong Vỏ Kén Vàng)
Vietnam, Singapore, France, Spain

FIAPF AWARD for Outstanding Contribution to Asia Pacific Cinema

Jeremy Chua