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9th Annual Asian World Film Festival Announces Winners at Closing Night Gala

Hanging Gardens Poster

“Hanging Gardens” (Iraq) Takes Home AWFF Snow Leopard for Best Film

AWFF Winners Composite

L- John Milius accepts Snow Leopard Lifetime Achievement Award at 9th Asian World Film Festival. R- Director Atul Sabharwal winner of AWFF New Horizon Award for Berlin. (Credit: Greg Doherty/Getty)

AWFF poster 3

9th Annual AWFF Film Festival Official poster

John Milius Receives Lifetime Achievement Award at AWFF Film Fest. “Hanging Gardens” (Iraq) Wins Best Film Award. Michael Goorjian & Mouna Hawa Win Best Actors

The spirit of our 9th Year was 'Discovery' and we delivered a broad range of remarkable Asian films, engaging audience experiences, and broke our records for movies with 23 Oscar submissions.”
— Georges Chamchoum, AWFF executive director.

ENCINO, CA, UNITED STATES, November 20, 2023 /EINPresswire.com/ -- The ninth annual Asian World Film Festival (AWFF) announced its competition winners at a star-studded event on November 17 at the Culver Theater. The Hanging Gardens (Iraq) directed by Ahmed Al-Daradji, won the Snow Leopard Award for Best Film, presented by Vietnamese actress Kieu Chinh (The Joy Luck Club). Michael A. Goorjian garnered the Snow Leopard for Best Actor in Amerikatsi (Armenia). The Snow Leopard for Best Actress went to Mouna Hawa for Inshallah a Boy (Jordan). The Snow Leopard Lifetime Achievement Award, which was given to John Milius, Oscar• nominated screenwriter, film director, and producer celebrating his legendary career including Apocalypse Now, Dirty Harry, and Conan the Barbarian, was presented by actor Martin Kove (Karate Kid, Rambo).

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The 10-day AWFF offered a wide range of more than 50 feature films and special screening programs including 23 Academy Award® and Golden Globe® submissions for Best International Feature Film and Best Motion Picture, Non-English Language respectively from Asia. Several films honored by the AWFF are the official submissions of their respective countries: Armenia – Amerikatsi, Georgia – Citizen Saint, Iran – The Night Guardian, Iraq – The Hanging Gardens, Jordan – Inshallah a Boy, Taiwan- Marry My Dead Body.

The AWFF presented a series of exclusive Snow Leopard Film Awards with the assistance of Jury President Jon Amiel. The Panavision Award for Best Cinematography ($60,000 Camera Grant Package) was presented to Krum Rodriguez for Citizen Saint (Georgia) by Pitof, visual effects producer, director (Catwoman, Alien: Resurrection). The Special Jury Award went to The Night Guardian by Reza Mirkarimi (Iran), presented by actress Mai Thu Huyen (Kieu). The Audience Award went to Marry My Dead Body (Taiwan), directed by Cheng Wei Hao.

The Snow Leopard honorary awards included the Outstanding Cinematic Achievement Award given to Peter Kwong (Big Trouble in Little China), presented by actress Nancy Kwan (The World of Susie Wong). The Rising Star Award was presented to Anirudh Pisharody (Big Sky, Never Have I Ever, 9-1-1), by Breydan Maniago (Dahmer).

Additional AWFF honors were presented. The Winn Slavin Humanitarian Award was given to Le Ly Hayslip, honoring her dedicated efforts to humanitarian relief, education, and development to help rebuild Vietnam by providing basic needs, presented by fine art dealer and entrepreneur Randall Slavin. The Bruce Lee Award was presented to Tony Jaa, legendary Thai martial arts actor, stuntman, and action director, presented by actor Andy Cheng (Rush Hour, Shanghai Noon). AWFF New Horizon Best Film Award was given to Berlin, directed by Atul Sabharwal (India), and presented by Michelle Sugihara, Executive Director of CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment).

"The spirit of our 9th Year was Discovery and we delivered on a broad range of remarkable Asian films and engaging audience experiences,” stated Georges Chamchoum, AWFF executive director. “With our return to Culver City, we broke our records for movies with 23 Oscar submissions, the filmmakers in attendance, and our loyal audience. We are already back to work on the 10th Anniversary of the AWFF with our dedicated team that we are so grateful to have.”

A jury composed of filmmakers and industry professionals from the U.S. and abroad, announced award winners for the Short Films Awards, the 12 finalists selected from over 200 entries. The Grand Prize for Best Film ($2,000 Winn Slavin Fine Art Gallery Award) went to The Old Young Crow by Liam LoPinto (Japan). The Runner-Up Award (Panavision Award of $15,000 Camera Package) went to Our Males and Females by Ahmad Alyaseer (Jordan). A Special Mention was given to Witness by Aida Tebianian (Iran).

The competition awards were delivered during a music-filled ceremony hosted by Mark LaBella (SWAT) and Charlene Shen (Sky Link TV). Among the evening’s internationally recognized performers were a Muy Thai martial arts exhibition, and an amazing performance from Kyrgystan dance ensemble ADEM Show. In addition, Vietnamese singer Nguyen Hong Nhung gave a riveting performance followed by the colorful finale of Hung Gar Kung Fu and the Lion Dance Academy.

SNOW LEOPARD COMPETITION AWARDEES
• Best Picture: Hanging Gardens directed by Ahmed Al-Daradji (Iraq)
• Best Actor: Michael A. Goorjian in Amerikatsi (Armenia)
• Best Actress: Mouna Hawa in Inshallah a Boy (Jordan)
• Panavision Best Cinematography: Krum Rodriguez for Citizen Saint (Georgia)
• Special Jury Prize: The Night Guardian by Reza Mirkarimi (Iran)
• Audience Award: Marry My Dead Body (Taiwan) by Director Cheng Wei Hao

SNOW LEOPARD HONORARY AWARDS
• Lifetime Achievement Award – JOHN MILIUS
• Outstanding Cinematic Achievement – PETER KWONG
• Rising Star Award – ANIRUDH PISHARODY

ADDITIONAL AWARDS
• The AWFF Bruce Lee Award, in partnership with the Bruce Lee Foundation - TONY JAA
• AWFF New Horizon Award: BERLIN by Atul Sabharwal (India)
• Winn Slavin Humanitarian Award - LE LY HAYSLIP

SHORT FILM FINALISTS
• Best Film (Winn Slavin Prize): The Old Young Crow by Liam LoPinto (Japan)
• Runner Up (Panavision grant): Our Males and Females by Ahmad Alyaseer (Jordan)
• Special Mention: Witness by Aida Tebianian (Iran)

The AWFF series of Snow Leopard Awards is bestowed in partnership with The Snow Leopard Trust to raise awareness for the endangered snow leopard and their Asian ecosystem.

The AWFF is proudly sponsored by Presenting Partner: Winn Slavin; Additional Sponsors: Bruce Lee Foundation, Tincom Media, Dr J’s, Korean Cultural Center - Los Angeles (KCCLA), Dutcher Crossing, Panavision, Pechanga, Taiwan Academy, Taiwan Creative Content Agency (TAICCA), Fifth Atrium, Copacetic, BARCO, Emporium Thai, HC Foods, Hollywood Arab Film Association, Vivenu, DTLA Ayce Korean BBQ and The Dive Oyster Bar, among others.

ABOUT ASIAN WORLD FILM FESTIVAL (AWFF). www.asianworldfilmfest.org
The Asian World Film Festival (AWFF), founded by Kyrgyz public figure Sadyk Sher-Niyaz, brings the best of a broad selection of Asian world cinema to Los Angeles to draw greater recognition to the region's wealth of filmmakers and to strengthen ties between the Asian and Hollywood film industries.AWFF is a non-profit organization under Aitysh, USA.
Follow AWFF on: Facebook, Instagram, X (formally Twitter), and YouTube

Rick Markovitz
Weissman Markovitz Communications
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