Nora Aunor and Brillante Mendoza won top honors at the prestigious 2012 Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) in Brisbane, Australia on Friday night.
The actress-director tandem behind the acclaimed film “Thy Womb” were informed of their twin triumphs while gracing the Philippine premiere of the film at the Sineng Pambansa Film Festival in Davao City.
Aunor won Best Performance by an Actress for her portrayal of a barren Badjao midwife who finds a young second wife for her husband.
Aunor bested four other nominees, namely South Korea’s Cho Min-Soo for “Pieta”, Russia’s Darya Ekamasova for “Zila bila odna baba” (“Once Upon a Time There Lived a Simple Woman”), Pakistan’s Humaima Malick for “Bol” and India’s Vidya Balan for “The Dirty Picture”.
The jury led by “The Piano” producer Jan Chapman chose Mendoza for the Achievement in Directing honors over India’s Anurag Kashyap (“Gangs of Wasseypur”), China’s Cheng Er (“Lethal Hostage”), Iran’s Khosro Masoumi (“Bear”), and Turkey’s Reis Çelik (“Night of Silence”).
“Thy Womb” has reaped glowing reviews from international critics since it premiered at the 69th Venice International Film Festival. It was screened to glowing reviews at the ongoing Brisbane International Film Festival just last Monday, which may have aided Mendoza’s and Aunor’s cause at APSA.
Earlier on Friday, APSA gave another Filipino filmmaker, Marlon Rivera the NETPAC Award for his directing debut, “Ang Babae sa Septic Tank”. The award — which is handed out at select international film festivals to promote Asian cinema — came with film development cash prize of $5,000.
The news was relayed by the movie’s screenwriter, Chris Martinez, who attended the APSA ceremony as a nominee. The Best Screenplay prize, however, went to Turkey’s Reis Çelik for “Night of Silence”.
In September, “Thy Womb” won three special awards in Venice: Bisato D’Oro for Aunor, and the La Navicella or Venezia Cinema prize and the P. Nazareno Taddei Award Special Mention for Mendoza.