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Asian World Film Festival Announces New Chairman Shukhrat Ibragimov and 2020 AWFF Dates

1982 (Lebanon), The Sun Above Me Never Sets (Yakutia, Russia); Hava, Maryam, Ayesha (Afghanistan, Iran); Aurora (Kyrgyzstan) & Shindisi (Georgia) Among 2019 AWFF Winners

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 21, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- As the 5th ANNUAL ASIAN WORLD FILM FESTIVAL (AWFF) comes to a successful conclusion, the festival is announcing its new chairman Shukhrat Ibragimov, who succeeds founder/chairman Sadyk Sher-Niyaz. Dates for next year's 2020 AWFF were also announced and will take place November 4 -12, 2020 returning to the ArcLight Cinemas - Culver City and the Culver Hotel.

Shukhrat Ibragimov grew up in Kazakhstan and later studied in London where he graduated with a degree in Business Management and Economics. He is fluent in Russian, English, French and Turkish and is currently head of business development for a leading mining company operating in Kazakhstan, Africa and Latin America.  AWFF founder and former chairman Sadyk Sher-Niyaz, will continue to serve in a senior advisory role, as honorary president.

Speaking at the 2019 AWFF Shukhrat said, "We are really proud of the journey the Festival has undertaken and it is in a great position for further success. I am looking forward to working closely with our dedicated team to create a great experience and expand the AWFF community for attendees, filmmakers and our sponsors." 

Almost 70 feature films from 50 participating countries were presented during the nine-day festival that included 25 foreign language Oscar® Best International Feature Film submissions and Golden Globe® submitted films. Among the films screened were Aurora from Kyrgyzstan and The Golden Throne from Kazakhstan. For a complete schedule and listing of the winners: asianworldfilmfest.org

The 2019 AWFF Winners are the following.
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Snow Leopard Audience Award1982 (Lebanon).

Snow Leopard Best Actress Award: Arezoo Ariapoor, Fereshta Afshar, Hasiba Ebrahimi, Hava, Maryam, Ayesha (Afghanistan, Iran).

Snow Leopard Best Actor Award: Stepan Petrov in The Sun Above Me Never Sets (Yakutia, Russian Federation).

Snow Leopard Jury Award: - Best Director: Dito Tsintsadze for Shindisi (Georgia).

Snow Leopard Special Jury AwardAurora (Kyrgyzstan).

Snow Leopard Best Film Award: The Sun Above Me Never Sets (Yakutia, Russian Federation).

The Murray Weissman Poster Art Award was given to the film Meiduo (China).

Previously announced honorees were Nancy Kwan (Flower Drum Song), who received the AWFF Lifetime Achievement Award; actor Hiroyuki Sanada with the Snow Leopard Outstanding Cinematic Achievement Award, actress Tiffany Chu for the 2019 Snow Leopard Rising Star Award, and Lena Khan, film director, recipient of the AWFF American Red Cross/Tiffany Circle Courage to Dream Award.

In addition, the winner of the first Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) Snow Leopard Scholarship 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. The other shorts were Air (Kazakhstan), Aizhana Kassymbek; Asiya (Bashkortostan/Russia), Dinara Abdrashitova; Barakat (Lebanon), Manon Nammour; Detour (USA), Juefang Zhang; Give Up the Ghost/Salam (Jordan), Zain Durai; Kaaway (USA), Wester Demandante; Passage (Iran), Kimia Hendi; Refugee (Georgia), Irakli Solomonashvili;Tea (Uzbekistan), Shokir Kholikov; Tropical Dreams (Cyprus), Vaggelio Soumel and Wellspring Of Happiness (China), Yu Binhui.

The 2019 AWFF Jury included: Jury President Meryem Uzerli (Actress, Germany/Turkey), Guka Omarova  (Director, Kazakhstan), Kieu Chinh (Actress/Producer/Writer from  USA/Vietnam), Sarah Finn (Casting Director, USA), Jeremy Kagan, (Emmy®-winning Director, USA), Wenting "Ting Ting" Xu (HFPA) and Iris Yamashita (Oscar®-nominated Screenwriter).

During the festival a 'Wild for Life Day' was held in collaboration with the United Nations Environmental Program, the Snow Leopard Trust, the Wild for Life Campaign and other partners to raise crucial awareness of the protection of wildlife on a global scale. The event showcased various documentaries with a strong Asian connection, featuring both aquatic and terrestrial species and the various challenges they are confronted with, such as climate change and illicit trafficking. One of the highlights of the day was Richard Ladkani's award-winning documentary Sea of Shadows, produced and narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio.

Present during the festival were Georges N. Chamchoum, Executive and Programing Director, and Asel Sherniyazova, Co-Founder and Managing Director.

Chamchoum described this year's festival as "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. We look forward to continuing to present films which are exciting, original, exceptional and inspiring."

ABOUT THE ASIAN WORLD FILM FESTIVAL
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: www.asianworldfilmfest.org

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