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MPAA Chairman Chris Dodd will deliver keynote at Asia Pacific Screen Awards

Senator Chris Dodd, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) delivered the keynote address at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA), 2011 held today.

Senator Dodd addressed an audience of diplomats, state government ministers, APSA filmmakers, and business leaders at Queensland's Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane, Australia.

Introducing Senator Dodd, US Ambassador to Australia Jeffrey Bleich, said: "Commercial achievement is a worthy objective, but what film can do is promote our differences in entertaining and informative ways; it can educate us about our origins, our cultural heritage; it can be a bridge between business, government and communities. We can certainly learn about one another and I would hope in ways that improve the passage toward peace, understanding and tolerance."

Senator Dodd reiterated that film remains a powerful economic force even in times of global uncertainty. "I am proud to report that the film industry remains a key driver of economic growth around the globe.  Make no mistake: These are not easy times for anyone.  But the film industry remains strong and resilient."

He cautioned that while the film business was currently going through an evolutionary stage of digital innovation - and delivering exciting new ways of seeing films to audiences, content theft remained a serious threat: "But in the midst of this time of remarkable change, our industry is also facing new challenges. Among the most imposing of them is the persistent, pernicious and widening threat of content theft."

While recognising that the APSAs should be a time to celebrate artistic achievement, Senator Dodd counseled, "This region's film industry cannot grow when its first promising fruits are stolen."

Senator Dodd suggested that film offers a great way to experience shared values and the dreams of others. He welcomed how the APSAs have become an important forum for recognising the work of Asia Pacific filmmakers and promoting their work to a wider audience.

"And for filmmakers in Hollywood or Shanghai or Tehran or Brisbane, the fundamentals of what makes our industry work are the same. A good story, well-told, can always find an audience. The films we're honoring this week are examples of what this diverse region can produce."

APSA Chairman Des Power said: "APSA is honoured to have Chris Dodd attend this year's Awards ceremony and deliver such a timely and thought-provoking keynote address. The Asia Pacific film industry is making a strong impression globally and has an abundance of stories to tell about its history, its cultures and current issues. I am delighted that a man of Chris Dodd's standing and experience is here with us in Queensland to meet with many of the leading filmmakers from this increasingly influential region."

In 2010, the MPA and APSA launched the MPA APSA Academy Film Fund - a $100,000 development fund exclusive to filmmakers in the Asia Pacific Screen Academy, supported wholly by the Motion Picture Association (MPA).  At the 2010 APSA ceremony, four grants of $25,000 each were announced. Jodaeiye Nader az Simin (A Separation), the first completed project funded by the MPA APSA Academy Film Fund, written and directed by Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi, went on to win the Golden Bear, Best Actress and Best Actor awards at the 2011 Berlin Film Festival, as well as the Sydney Film Prize at this year's Sydney Film Festival.  The film is also in competition at this year's APSAs.

Senator Dodd and the Film Fund Selection Panelists will announce the four successful recipients for 2011 at the Awards Ceremony to be held on the Gold Coast on November 24.

The four successful recipients for 2011 will be announced at the Awards Ceremony to be held on the Gold Coast on November 24.

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