Creative Industries

Brisbane at the epicentre of Asia Pacific screen creativity 

TONIGHT BRISBANE is the epicentre for the world’s movie-making creativity and talent as the city hosts the Asia Pacific Screen Awards, the culmination of a week of screenings, workshops and forums.

Celebrated Australian star of stage and screen Deborah Mailman will join media personality and actor Sofie Formica to host the 13th Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) at Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre (November 21). A total of 37 films from 22 countries and areas of the Asia Pacific region achieved nominations for the prestigious awards, drawn from the 289 films entered in the APSA competition. 

Deborah Mailman is a popular choice to co-host the awards, renowned for having blazed a trail for Aboriginal actresses by becoming the first to win the AFI for Best Actress in 1998 and in 2017 she was made a Member of the Order of Australia for Services to the Arts and as a role model for Indigenous performers. This year she was appointed to the Board of Screen Australia and is currently on Australian screens in ABC TV’s Total Control. Originally from Mount Isa in north-west Queensland, she is a multiple Logie, AACTA, Helpmanm and Deadly Award winner. Her films include The Sapphires, Paper Planes, Bran Nue Dae, Rabbit Proof Fence, Radiance, and television performances in Total Control, Mystery Road, Offspring, Cleverman, Redfern Now, Playschool, Black Comedy and The Secret Life of U.

The 2019 awards mark Sophie Formica’s fourth time hosting APSA, with previous co-hosts including internationally acclaimed New Zealand actor Cliff Curtis (2018), multi-award-winning Singaporean director Anthony Chen (2015) and leading presenter of China’s International Channel Shanghai, Lei Chen (2013). Previous hosts have also included Australian actors David Wenham and Aaron Pedersen. She began her television career at the age of 14 in children’s programming and here  resume boasts appearances on WombatSaturday DisneyJust Kidding and on Now You See It as Australia’s first female game show host. During a stint in Los Angeles, Formica worked as a reporter on Extra, a national entertainment magazine show, interviewing many Hollywood actors. She also acted in Dwayne ‘the Rock’ Johnson’s Queensland-located blockbuster San Andreas (2015).

Host city Brisbane’s Lord Mayor, Adrian Schrinner said the Asia Pacific Screen Awards ceremony honoured cinematic excellence and celebrated both local and international filmmakers from more than 70 countries and areas. APSA is an international cultural program supported by Brisbane City Council and organised through Brisbane Marketing. APSA is endorsed by foundation partners UNESCO and FIAPF-International Federation of Film Producers Associations. The awards ceremony is an exclusive presentation now unique to Brisbane. 

Walking the red carpet tonight will be a who’s who of contemporary Asia Pacific cinema. Among them will be:

  • Iconic Australian actor and APSA Academy president Jack Thompson AM;
  • Renowned Australian film and TV actor David Wenham;
  • APSA patron and Busan Film Festival founder Kim Dong-ho;
  • Producer of Bong Joon-ho’s ParasiteJang Young Hwan;
  • Popular international actresses Samal Yeslyamova(Kazakhstan), Max Eigenmann (Philippines) and Nina Mazodier (Georgia);
  • Popular international actors Manoj Bajpayee (India),Navid Mohammadzadeh (Iran) and Nuttawat Attasawat (Thailand);
  • Writer and director of Australia’s official Oscar submission BuoyancyRodd Rathjen;
  • Producer ofThe Australian Dream, Nick Batzias;
  • Screen Queensland CEO Kylie Munnich;
  • Kazakstan writer/director Adilkhan Yerzhanovand producer Olga Khlasheva;
  • People’s Republic of China, nominated screenwriter A Mei, producer Liang Ying and cinematographer Deng Xu;
  • Korean cinematographer Kim Hyunseok;
  • New Zealand animator Kirby Atkins;
  • Korean-born, New Zealand raised producer/editor/director Zoe Sua Cho (House of Hummingbird);
  • Bhutan director/producer Tashi Gyeltshenand producer Ram Krishna Pokharel (The Red Phallus);
  • Russian director Liubov Borisovaand producer Sardana Savvina from the remote Yakutsk region of Russia, 450km south of the Arctic Circle;
  • Fresh Indian cinematic voice Ridham Janve, nominated for Best Feature Film;
  • Iranian animator Behzad Nalbandi, documentary maker Farzad Khoshdast andscreenwriters Mohsen Gharaei and Mohammad Davoodi;
  • Representing Made in Bangladesh’sCultural Diversity nomination, producer Ashique Mostafa;
  • and Philippe Bellaïche, director and producer of documentary Advocate, which just won Best Documentary at the Antenna awards.

Also at tonight’s awards will be the APSA Youth, Animation, Documentary International Jury chair, Indonesian auteur, Garin Nugroho, and jury member, Animal Logic CEO, Zareh Nalbandian. 

Probably the hardest-working people leading up to right’s gala ceremony have been the APSA International Jury members including: Asia Pacific selector for Cannes and Venice Paolo Bertolin; deputy chair of the European Film Academy, prolific producer and activist Mike Downey; producer of 2017 APSA Best Feature Film Sweet Country, Greer Simpkin and Oh Jung-mi, the APSA-winning co-writer of Lee Chang-dong’s Burning.

“Brisbane is now seen as a world-class venue for national and international events such as the Asia Pacific Screen Awards,” Lord Mayor Shrinner said. “Major events such as these awards contribute $150 million into the Brisbane economy and support thousands of local jobs.

“Over 50 local businesses have been engaged through this year’s awards and we’ll see many more indirectly benefitting, such as tourism operators, restaurants and retail stores.

“This year, we are thrilled to have Australian stars, Deborah Mailman and Sofie Formica co-host the Asia Pacific Screen Awards. Both are highly-regarded industry representatives.”

Tonight’s awards ceremony will open with a Welcome to Country by the Nunukul Yuggera Aboriginal Dance Company. 

About the APSA juries

THE 13th Asia Pacific Screen Awards’ three juries are drawn from the industry talent pools of 10 countries: the APSA International Jury, the APSA Cultural Diversity International Jury, and the APSA Youth, Animation, Documentary International Jury.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said, “The talented and diverse people who form the three APSA Juries bring a wealth of experience to the roles.

“This year, the calibre of films nominated from all over the region is outstanding, and I wish the juries every success as they undertake the difficult task of deciding the 2019 winners.”

President of the APSA International Jury is multi-award-winning Singaporean filmmaker Eric Khoo, whose films have been selected for Cannes, Venice, Busan, Berlin, Toronto and Telluride.

Mr Khoo is joined on the five-member International Jury by globally acclaimed filmmakers from Australia, Italy, Republic of Korea and the UK.

They are Australian film and television producer Greer Simpkin (APSA Best Feature Film winner Sweet Country), Cannes and Venice Film Festival selector Paolo Bertolin, Korean screenwriter, theatre actor and Russian literature specialist Oh Jung-mi (APSA Jury Grand Prize winner Burning) and deputy chair of the European Film Academy, UK film producer, journalist and activist Mike Downey (APSA Cultural Diversity Award winner Dede).

The APSA Cultural Diversity International Jury determines the winner of the prestigious Cultural Diversity Award under the patronage of UNESCO. The jury represents APSA’s founding partnership with UNESCO, and the shared goals of the two organisations in the protection and preservation of cultural identity.

APSA Cultural Diversity International Jury chair is Palestinian filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad (APSA Cultural Diversity Award winner The Idol), documentary-maker, actress and founder of the NGO Catharsis-Lebanese Center for Drama Therapy from Lebanon Zeina Daccache, and Dương Bích Hạnh, head of the Culture Unit at the UNESCO Bangkok Office, an anthropologist with a strong commitment to gender equality, cultural diversity and human rights.

The APSA Youth, Animation, Documentary International Jury is chaired by Indonesian auteur Garin Nugroho; joined by Berlin-based award-winning Syrian film director and co-founder of Syria’s DOX BOX International Documentary Film Festival, Diana El Jeiroudi; and world leader in the fields of animation, VFX, film development and production co-founder and CEO of Animal Logic Zareh Nalbandian.

The Asia Pacific Screen Awards ceremony tonight is the culmination of an action-packed week of events for the industry and public in Brisbane presented by the Asia Pacific Screen Forum.

Chair of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards, Michael Hawkins said APSA brought together “… some of the most significant screen storytellers and key industry figures” and included “special appearances from some of our Jury members at events, and on panels including the Brunch to explore cultural diversity and freedom of expression in Asia Pacific, and the Meet the Programmers session.”


Aussie movies Buoyancy and The Australian Dream nominated for AsiaPac Screen Awards

THE FOOTBALL CHAMPION Adam Goodes documentary, The Australian Dream, and Australia’s official submission for the Academy Awards, Buoyancy, have been nominated for the 13th Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA).

There are among the 37 films from 22 countries and areas of the Asia Pacific that have achieved nominations, drawn from the 289 films in the APSA competition.

Films from India, People’s Republic of China, Republic of Korea and Russian Federation will vie for the coveted Best Feature Film prize. 

The awards will be staged alongside the Asia Pacific Screen Forum in Brisbane from November 18 in an exciting program of public and industry events.

Brisbane’s big week of Asia Pacific screen events will culminate in a glittering awards ceremony on November 21 at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Competing for Best Feature Film are So Long, My Son, which grapples with China’s controversial one-child policy; Balloon, a poetic rumination of life on the Tibetan grasslands;

Russia’s official Academy Awards submission and post-World War II Leningrad tale, Beanpole; The Gold-Laden Sheep and The Sacred Mountain, which follows two shepherds searching for a downed aircraft in the remote Himalayas; and Korea’s critical and box office smash hit Parasite, which won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival this year.


Brisbane Lord Mayor, Adrian Schrinner said the Asia Pacific Screen Awards continues to grow in reputation as an event that brings together the many cultures and voices of the region.

“For the local and global screen industry, Brisbane is becoming a hub for screen business each November,” Cr Schrinner said.

“The Asia Pacific Screen Awards is an important week in Brisbane’s cultural calendar, and this year we are thrilled to present free events to the public.”

The program includes free screenings of the APSA-nominated animation films at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), and a special National Film and Sound Archive screening of the iconic Sunday Too Far Away, followed by a rare panel discussion between screen legend Jack Thompson and iconic Australian actor David Wenham.

For industry, the Asia Pacific Screen Forum will present a program of events and opportunities to cement ties between the filmmakers and screen industries of the region, unlocking opportunities for the local industry to connect and collaborate.  


APSA also continues to be a drawcard for screen-based conferences and events, with this year, the region’s leading computer animation festival SIGGRAPH Asia confirmed for Brisbane, presenting yet more opportunities for industry.

Chair of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards and its Academy, Michael Hawkins congratulated the nominees.

“APSA ignites and honours cinematic excellence, across the vast region of Asia Pacific,” Mr Hawkins said.

“The spread of nominees encompasses some of the region’s most acclaimed auteurs and outstanding emerging voices and APSA is proud to foster their development and opportunities through the Asia Pacific Screen Forum and their induction to the Asia Pacific Screen Academy.”

APSA represents the 70 countries and areas of Asia Pacific, covering one third of the earth, and encompassing 4.5 billion people and half the world’s film production.

APSA is an international cultural program supported by Brisbane City Council and driven by Brisbane Marketing. APSA is endorsed by foundation partners UNESCO and FIAPF-International Federation of Film Producers Associations. The awards ceremony is an exclusive presentation unique to Brisbane. 


Copytrack keeps photographers in the financial picture

By Leon Gettler >>

COPYTRACK, one of the world’s leading image rights enforcement services, is a service that makes sure photographers get paid for their pictures.

This is a lot more critical now as photos are easier to steal, through the internet. With digital images, the moment they are published, they immediately go world-wide. It’s a completely different proposition to the time when photographers still kept the originals.

Copytrack is a platform for photographers, image agencies, e-commerce companies and publishers. They upload the images and Copytrack will find all the ‘hits’ on them worldwide.

Copyright owners can then look at the ‘hits’ and decide whether it’s legal, or otherwise, and if necessary, take action. The aim is to ensure photographers control their rights and users are not stealing images. 

Speaking from Berlin, Marcus Schmitt, the CEO and founder of Copytrack, said the firm manages this complex challenge through its technology.

“Eighty percent of these hits are (often proved) illegal, so they can click on it and submit a claim to us,” Mr Schmitt told Talking Business.


Copytrack has developed a ‘crawler’ bot that wanders over millions of websites.

“We have a certain technology that allows us to do it very quickly so we don’t have to move big data,” Mr Schmitt said. “We extract certain criteria of an image and compare those. It’s quite smart and a very powerful engine.”

Some of the crawlers look at websites all over the world and other crawlers are directed to certain servers.

“For example, if we have a client who wants to check whether his clients licensed all the images used, then we can point it to certain servers,” he said.

The infringing party is then asked to pay a “very reasonable fee” through a post-licensing process.


The photographer gets 70 percent of the fee, and Copytrack clips the ticket and gets the balance. The post-licensing system works in every country around the world.

“If we have to go further and take some legal steps, then currently they get 50 percent of the revenue,” Mr Schmitt said.

He said Copytrack was constantly taking infringers to court.

“We maintain a network of lawyers worldwide,” Mr Scmitt said. “Depending on the countries, sometimes we are very successful with a pre-court settlement.”

The top countries for copyright infringement are the United States, China and Germany.

Prime examples of copyright theft include Rab Lewin, a photographer who captured iconic images of Kurt Cobain and Nirvana and then found they had been stolen; and the case of a hotel chain which took an image and distributed it to all travel agencies to use on their websites.

Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at  


Ocre becomes Australia’s global ‘laid-back luxury’ brand

FROM ORIGINAL works of art through to textiles and fashion accessories, Tarn Mclean’s works are a study in natural beauty, the fluidity of art and a demonstration of her phenomenal talent.

A doctor of philosophy, majoring in painting, Dr McLean’s new collection under her lifestyle brand Ocre – which officially launched in May in Sydney – features 12 stunning original works of art, a derivative collection of fabric and wallpaper designs and a curated collection of handbags with luxurious finishes in 22 carat gold, opal stone and pearl. 

While each of the components work independently, they all derive inspiration from the one source – the floral zodiac – with the 12 evocative works of art each representing a floral emblem of the 12 star signs that form the basis of the collection.

“Inspiration came to me two years ago on my birthday,” Dr McLean said. “I’m a Capricorn and as my birthday is in January I was planning my creative year ahead and wondered what my zodiac flower was. If I had one then everyone had one. The rest, as they say, is history.

“We all know our birth month gem stone but what about our flowers? I thought if I could paint them then I could gift everyone who has ever wondered what their flowers are, in the most beautiful way I could,” she said.

The wallpapers and fabrics, meanwhile, “are a representation of the paintings, but in a more democratic way,” Dr McLean said.

“Not everyone can afford to purchase the original oil paintings, so I use them as a point of departure for making beautiful homewares and accessories. A truthful testament to our dedication of turning art into beautiful designs to wear and live with.”

Currently manufactured in Australia and the UK, Ocre’s fabrics and wallpaper collections are printed to order on the finest Belgian linen and Australian cotton. 

The collection is available, at this stage through Sydney based boutique agency Inge Holst, with expansion plans set to move into global markets including both the UK and the US.

Dr McLean’s passion is for what is known as ‘non-objective painting’ – which is derived from the early 20th Century movement, Russian Constructivism.

“Russian Constructivism has a focus on human behaviour where our understanding and knowledge of the world around us is transferred into experiencing the world,” Dr McLean said. “This is why, in the commercial arena, I have an interest in providing art as turned into beautiful designs for my gorgeous clients to use, wear and live with.

“It is important that both my interests hold a story and if I design a textile or handbag they have heritage and history. The heritage is held in my ancestral line being my great, great grandfather Adam Forster, who was a botanical artist in the early 20th Century and whose works are now held in the Australian National Library, Canberra.”

Dr McLean’s handbags add a fashionable touch to the collection. The embodiment of Ocre’s ‘laid-back Australian luxury’ aesthetic, the bags are all made of the finest materials and are hand-constructed in Australia.

While each design features luxury natural embellishments such as pearl shell, opal boulder rock and 22 carat fittings, they are also all lined with the zodiac fabrics – creating a neat tie-in with the new collection. 

“Luxury handbags have long been an obsession of mine and after studying fine art I realised I wanted to share my knowledge and skills with my friends, but in such a way that they could wear and use my art,” Dr McLean said. “Handbags were the most obvious choice.

“Finding the finest craftsmen on shore here in Australia has been a challenge, but I believed from the beginning, if Italy can have Louis Vuitton and Ferragamo, then Australia can have its own: Ocre.

“And while we’re at it, magnify our beautiful resources – and a culture of laid back luxury.”


Booktopia is all about You-topia

By Leon Gettler >>

IT IS hard to believe but Booktopia, now the biggest selling book outlet in Australia, started 15 years ago with a $10-a-day budget.

Co-founder Tony Nash said that was on the instructions of his brother, Simon.

“He’s very generous, my brother,” Tony Nash told Talking Business.

He said he and his team started the venture when they saw a gap in the market after working for Angus & Robertson and saw the retailer wasn’t interested in building an online business.

“With a very small budget, it just kept getting bigger and bigger,” Mr Nash said.

He said Booktopia today remains very focused on customer engagement.

“We asked ourselves the same question and have done so for the past 15 years and that is, what do our customers want, and by asking ourselves that question and answering that question, you’re on a voyage of discovery,” Mr Nash said. 

He said they found customers wanted stock, they wanted the website to be a certain way, they wanted a bookseller that was Australian and supported Australian literacy programs, sponsoring writers’ festivals and readers’ conferences.


Booktopia also found customers wanted faster delivery and wanted books delivered via the Australia Post network.

As a result, the business shifted next to the Australia Post hub in Sydney.

He said Amazon has not made that big an impact on the business.

“We’ve gone from $80 million to $130 million since they announced their arrival,” Mr Nash said.

He does not regard Amazon as a threat because it is everything to everyone, whereas Booktopia is in the business of books.

“It you’re everything to everyone, you can’t be one thing to a vertical market,” Mr Nash said.


He said his research found that companies that did well in an Amazon mature market were those that focused on doing one thing really well.

“That way people know who you are and they keep coming to you,” Mr Nash said.

He said this was particularly important when the shop front is a website.

He said when the business was established, people said bookshops were dying, it was the end of the physical book and that Amazon would annihilate the business.

None of that was true, he said, but the key to success was connecting with the customer. 

“It’s not just about having books on your shelf and having people come in, it’s really connecting with the customer in your store,” he said.

Mr Nash said Booktopia tries to do that online with book experts, and interviewing authors and creating unique content.

Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at

'Fair play' called for Australia's music artists from APRA

THE Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell has called for more transparency in the collection and distribution of royalties to musicians through the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) before it is re-issued its five-year licence to operate.

“We have asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to take into account a number of conditions that would give Australian small business artists their fair due and make APRA’s reporting obligations more transparent,” Ms Carnell said.

“APRA has a near monopoly on the collection of fees from businesses that play music and the royalties are distributed to artists based upon what is played on commercial radio. 

“This means emerging Australian artists whose airplay is mostly through community radio, background music, internet radio and other broadcasters do not get paid the royalties they otherwise should," she said.

“This approach makes it difficult for home-grown emerging artists to get their fair share of royalties.

“A number of Australian small businesses and industry associations have also raised concerns about how APRA determines its fees for small businesses based on maximum capacity instead of opening times and the actual capacity during those times.

“For example, venues are charged based upon their total capacity rather than the area of the venue that is being used at any point," Ms Carnell said.

“These, and a number of other issues in our submission to the ACCC are critical to the future of Australian small businesses and must be addressed before the APRA licence is re-issued."


Nobody was anti ANTI at Creative3

QUEENSLAND-BASED startup ANTI took home the title of Australia’s Emerging Creative Startup for 2018 at the recent Creative3 event hosted by QUT Creative Enterprise Australia (CEA) in Brisbane.

Creative3 is an annual competition CEA runs to recognise Australia’s most creative startups. 

ANTI is developing a beanie style helmet designed not only for protection but to be both fashionable and comfortable. 

ANTI co-founder Robert Johnson said the ANTI team did not think it was right that in 2018 helmets still do not fit many people correctly – “and many find them so uncomfortable and cumbersome that they choose to not wear one”

“Helmets are life saving devices,” Mr Johnson said. “Nobody drives without seat belts, so why do people shred without helmets? ANTI believes that the answer to this lies in comfort, ease of use and fit.”

As the Creative3 2018 winner, ANTI will participate in the exclusive Virgin StartUp (VSU) mini accelerator, StepUp, in London. 

Following their week-long intensive, the startup team members will travel to Copenhagen to represent Australia as part of the global initiative for creative entrepreneurship and innovation at the Global Creative Business Cup finals (CBC).

“Being Australia’s Emerging Creative Startup for 2018 is an incredible recognition,” Mr Johnson said. “It gives us credibility in the market. A lot of people don’t believe we make soft helmets as safe as anything else. It shows that we can actually do it and be a real company.

“It’s a fantastic recognition for all the work we’ve put in and we’re really proud to have gone against the other teams and to have gone really well in front of all these people.” 

Creative Enterprise Australia CEO Mark Gustowski, said ANTI took home the award because they came up with an elegant solution that solves problems for a lot of people. 

“They have developed a beanie style helmet that is a protective, fashionable and wearable clothing,” Mr Gustowski said.

“Initially marketed to skiers and snowboarders, it actually has applications for bikers, kids and the disabled, and it touches so many people. They won the crowd because of the impact they can have globally.”


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