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AACTA launches 2019 Asia International Engagement Program in Shanghai

AACTA has launched the third year of the Asia International Engagement Program in Shanghai, holding an exciting China | Australia Film Forum and Networking Party and an exclusive gala dinner to celebrate the 2019 Program.

Over 300 guests attended the gala dinner at Wanda Reign on the Bund, which included a stand out performance from Chinese boy band WayV and saw AACTA announce many of the films competing for a nomination for the 2019 AACTA Award for Best Asian Film presented by Eureka International Group (EIG).


On Tuesday 18 June, AACTA held an exciting China | Australia Film Forum and Networking Party at Sky Banquet Show. The event gave those in attendance unique and informative insights into co-productions and collaborations between Australia and China from creative, cultural, business, and financial perspectives. 

The panel included some of the most experienced professionals involved in Chinese and Australian film collaboration:

  • Best Asian Film Grand Jurors Renny Harlin and Paul 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.


During the gala dinner in Shanghai, AACTA announced many of the films competing for a nomination for the 2019 AACTA Award for Best Asian Film presented by Eureka International Group (EIG). The Award honours 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 are the second highest-grossing film of all time in China and one of the top 20 highest-grossing science fiction films of all time worldwide, THE WANDERING EARTH, as well as three of the ten highest-grossing films in China of 2019 so far: comedy PEGASUS; Chinese-Hong Kong comedy-drama THE NEW KING OF COMEDY; and animated fantasy film WHITE SNAKE, whose executive producer Yu Zhou attended the gala dinner to introduce his film.

Also attending the gala dinner to introduce their competing films were: Renny Harlin, director of crime thriller BODIES AT REST which opened the Hong Kong International Film Festival earlier this year; and president and CEO of Perfect Village, Ellen Eliasoph, who introduced THE WHISTLEBLOWER, one of the biggest Chinese-Australian co-productions ever made.

Other films from the China region competing for a nomination are:

  • China’s Best Foreign Language Film Oscar® entry, action-comedy HIDDEN MAN;
  • Period film SHADOW, which won four awards at the 55th Golden Horse Awards;
  • Crime drama THE WILD GOOSE LAKE, which premiered in competition at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival;
  • Hong Kong Film Award-winning action film PROJECT GUTENBERG;
  • Dark comedy A COOL FISH; and
  • Mystery drama HEADLINES.

Also announced were a number of the films in competition from other regions. 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 for the 91st Oscars®, Kamrupi Assamese language coming-of-age film VILLAGE ROCKSTARS; and
  • 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 are:

  • The first Korean film to win the Palme d’Or, dark comedy PARASITE;
  • South Korea’s Best Foreign Language Film Oscar® entry and the first Korean film to make the Oscars® final nine-film shortlist, psychological drama mystery BURNING;
  • 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; and
  • Japanese animation WEATHERINGWITH YOU, from filmmaker Makoto Shinkai whose 2016 animation YOUR NAME is the highest-grossing anime film of all time.

The winner of the Best Asian Film Award will be determined by the 2019 Best Asian Film Grand Jury, led by Oscar® and multiple AFI and AACTA Award-winning actor Russell Crowe, who will return as President.

It was also announced at the event that Hong Kong Film Award-winning actress Chloe Maayan (THREE HUSBANDS, LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT) and Shaw Brothers Executive Director Virginia Lok will join Crowe on the 2019 Best Asian Film Grand Jury. Finnish director Renny Harlin (THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT, BODIES AT REST) and Australian producer Paul Currie (HACKSAW RIDGE, BLEEDING STEEL) will also return as Grand Jurors.

The AACTA Award for Best Asian Film presented by Eureka International Group will be presented at the 2019 AACTA Awards presented by Foxtel, held on Wednesday 4 December 2019 in Sydney at The Star Event Centre and telecast nationally on Channel 7, with encore screenings on Foxtel.


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