FESTIVALS: Ito wins Grand Prix at Osaka Asian Film Festival

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Japanese comedy drama Ito, directed by Satoko Yokohama, won the Grand Prix best picture award at this year’s Osaka Asian Film Festival (March 5-14), which took place as a physical event. 

Starring Ren Komai, the film follows a girl who is a talented musician, but finds it difficult to express herself through speech due to her shyness. She takes a job in a maid café, much to her father’s consternation, but finds her confidence starts to grow. 

The film also took the festival’s audience award (full list of winners below). Yokohama is known for her award-winning 2012 film, The Actor. Both she and the film’s lead actress Komai come from Japan’s Aomori Prefecture, the setting of the film.

Osaka Asian Film Festival wrapped its physical edition on March 14 with the awards ceremony and a screening of Yuya Ishii’s The Asian Angel, which was filmed in Korea and produced by Korean director Park Jung-bom. The festival’s online presence, which is streaming seven films from past editions and a selection of Taiwanese classics, will continue to run until March 20. 

Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021 Award Winners:

Grand Prix (Best Picture Award): Ito (Japan), directed by Satoko Yokohama

Most Promising Talent Award: Choi Jin-young (Korea), The Slug

ABC TV Award: Sister Sister (Vietnam), directed by Kathy Uyen

Yakushi Pearl Award: Lily Lee (Taiwan), Born To Be Human

Japan Cuts Award: B/B (Japan), directed by Kosuke Nakahama 

Japan Cuts Award Special Mention: Among Four Of Us, directed by Mayu Nakamura

Housen Short Film Award: In-young’s Camcorder (Korea), directed by Oh Jeong-seon

Audience Award: Ito (Japan), directed by Satoko Yokohama