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Campaign seeks re-establishment of Asia-Pacific Screen Academy

Philippine --The Asia Pacific Screen Academy (APSA), described as “one of the most prestigious award-giving bodies in the Asia-Pacific region” based in Brisbane, Australia, officially closed shop on Jan. 31 due to funding problems.

“There had been a change of government in the state of Queensland and there was concern ... (about) a large debt from the previous administration,” Des Power, APSA's founder and chair, told the Inquirer in an email interview. “Cuts are being made in many areas, including the arts.”

The academy's annual Asia Pacific Screen Awards has honored a slew of film artists over its seven-year history and, quite expectedly, an online campaign was started to work for its survival.

“Over 100 leading filmmakers and organizations have voiced out their support for APSA,” Power said. “This is greatly encouraging and demonstrates the academy's value and the esteem in which it is held.”

Filipino supporters lending their voices to the cause are Filipino filmmakers Brillante Ma. Mendoza and Sheron Dayoc.

Mendoza said APSA counts as members “artists from some 70 countries that produce half of the world's film output.”

Although APSA has folded up, organizers are still hoping to secure another source of funding-the federal government.

“We face our future optimistically,” Power said. “APSA is well-regarded by the federal government. It is undoubtedly the more logical source of funds in Australia. Discussion is underway ... at a very high level.”

In the meantime, it's “business as usual” in the academy, Power asserted. He said grant-recipients will continue to receive support and organizers are preparing for the 2013 awards “to be held later in the year.”

Butch Jimenez' company, 4 Boys Films, is the sole financial supporter of the APSA Children's Film Fund. Academy members can continue to tap the fund for script-development support every year.

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