The 5th ANNUAL ASIAN WORLD FILM FESTIVAL (AWFF) announced Festival award winners during the closing night ceremony, November 14, at the ArcLight in Culver City. Almost 70 feature films from 50 participating countries were presented during the nine-day festival that included 25 Oscar® Best International Featured Film submissions and/or Golden Globe® submitted films. The Awards ceremony, presented to a sold-out audience, was followed by a screening of Japan’s Weathering with You and a reception at the Fifty One Chinese Kitchen. The AWFF took place from November 6 - 14 at the ArcLight Culver City Theater. The evening was hosted by actress Nancy Yoon, Co-founder of Asians In LA.

Said Georges Chamchoum, Executive and Program Director of the AWFF: "This year’s Asian World Film Festival was a huge success and a celebration of the Asian & Asian-American Cinema. We had an enthusiastic response by filmmakers across Asia creating an international window into the talents and visions of Asian filmmakers. Tonight's awards represent the very best of the festival and we are proud to spotlight these talented filmmakers. We look forward to continuing to present films which are exciting, original, exceptional and inspiring."
AWFF once again partnered with The Snow Leopard Trust to raise awareness for the endangered snow leopard and its ecosystem in the high mountains of Asia. Snow Leopard Awards were presented by the 2019 AWFF Jury including Ms. Meryem Uzerli (Actress, Germany/Turkey), Jury President; Ms. Guka Omarova  (Director, Kazakhstan), Ms. Kieu Chinh (Actress/Producer/Writer from  USA/Vietnam), Ms. Sarah Finn (Casting Director, USA), Mr. Jeremy Kagan, (Emmy®-winning Director, USA), Ms. Wenting (Ting Ting) Xu (HFPA), Ms. Iris Yamashita (Oscar®-nominated Screenwriter).

The 2019 AWFF Award Winners are:

  • Snow Leopard Audience Award1982 (Lebanon), presented by Actress Tiffany Chu and accepted by Director Oualid Mouaness.
  • Snow Leopard Best Actress Award: Arezoo Ariapoor, Fereshta Afshar, Hasiba Ebrahimi HAVA, MARYAM, AESHA (Afghanistan, Iran), presented by “Ting Ting” Xu. who also accepted on behalf of the actresses.
  • Snow Leopard Best Actor Award: Stepan Petrov in The Sun Above Me Never Sets (Yakutia, Russia), presented by actor Kieu Chin and accepted by Irina Engelis, Executive Director of the Yakutsk International Film Festival.
  •  Snow Leopard Jury Award - Best DirectorDito Tsintsadze for Shindisi (Georgia), and accepted by Mr. Tsintsadze
  •  Snow Leopard Special Jury Award: Aurora (Kyrgyzstan), presented by Sarah Finn and accepted by Director Bekzat Pirmatov.
  •  Snow Leopard Best Film AwardThe Sun Above Me Never Sets (Yakutia, Russian Federation), presented by Jury President Meryem Uzerli and accepted by Irina Engelis , Executive Director of the Yakutsk International Film Festival.
  • The Murray Weissman Poster Art Award was given to the film Meiduo (China), presented by Peter Kwon and was accepted by Li Zhu.

As previously announced, the AWFF opened with a screening of the new Warner Bros. film JUST MERCY which followed an awards presentation ceremony honoring actress Nancy Kwan (Flower Drum Song/The World of Suzie Wong) with the AWFF Lifetime Achievement Award.  In addition, the AWFF American Red Cross/Tiffany Circle Courage to Dream Award was awarded to film director, Lena Kahn. Additional honors were bestowed upon actor Hiroyuki Sanda with the Snow Leopard Outstanding Cinematic Achievement Award, and Tiffany Chu for 2019 SNOW LEOPARD RISING STAR Award.

In addition, the winner of the first Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) Snow Leopard Short Film Award was Kyrgyzstan’s Suium Sulaimanova for her film My Friend – My Enemy. Her film was selected from a dozen shorts by new filmmakers from across Asia and she was presented with the $5,000 scholarship award.

Also, in attendance were AWFF’s Sadyk Sher-Niyaz (Founder/Chairman), Georges N. Chamchoum (Executive/Programing Director) Asel Sherniyazova (Co-Founder/ Managing Director), Jury President Meryem Uzerli, Tony Chan (Director, The Bravest), Said Faraj (Green Zone), Shun Oguri (Weathering with You), Tomer Oz (The Heart), Hiroki Shirota (The Outsider), Chen Tang (Mulan) Chris Tashima (Under the Blood-Red Sun), Toru Uchikado (Sea of Mirrors), Janet Wu (TV Personality), Takato Yonemoto (Naked Director), among others.

The Asian World Film Festival is proudly sponsored by Aitysh USA, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Arclight Cinemas, Culver Hotel, City Of Culver City, Communication University of Zhejiang (China), Snow Leopard Trust,  AKIpress, CJ Entertainment, Chosun Daily LA, Moredii, MDSUN, Novartizan, WECTAC, Korean Cultural Center LA, Beijing Genki Forest Beverage, Sakura Production USA, Cape,, Gaby's, Emporium Thai.

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 strengthen ties between the Asian and Hollywood film industries. Uniting through cross-cultural collaboration, the Festival champions films from over 50 countries across Asia, spanning from Turkey to Japan and from Russia to India and the Middle East.  All films that participate in the Festival will have a unique chance to be guided through the challenging awards season, and showcased for the Motion Picture Academy, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and all Guilds for enhanced exposure, media attention and awards consideration. AWFF is a non-profit organization under Aitysh USA: