FESTIVALS: TIFF gives top awards to Grain, Crater

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Turkish filmmaker Semih Kaplanoglu’s Grain was awarded the Tokyo Grand Prix at the closing ceremony of the 30th Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF), while Italian drama Crater took the special jury prize.

Set in the near future, Grain follows a seed geneticist who lives in a city protected from immigrants by magnetic walls. US actor Tommy Lee Jones, who headed the TIFF competition jury, said: “We were impressed by this movie’s appreciation of the common understanding among all people through a shared mythic experience.”

Directed by Silvia Luzi and Luca Bellino, Crater revolves around a fairground vendor who attempts to turn his daughter into a pop star.

Malaysian filmmaker Edmund Yeo won best director for We The Dead (Aqerat), about the plight of Rohingya immigrants on the Malaysia-Thailand border.

Chinese filmmaker Dong Yue’s feature debut The Looming Storm picked up two awards – best actor for Duan Yihong’s performance and the award for Best Artistic Contribution. Best actress went to Adeline D’Hermy for French director Guillaume Gallienne’s Maryline.

The best screenplay award, presented by Japanese broadcaster WOWOW, went to Euthanizer, which was written and directed by Teemu Nikki. The Finnish filmmaker also worked as editor, production designer and costume designer on the film, about a man who puts pets to death as a second job.

In the Asian Future section, Japanese drama Passage Of Life won best film and also the Spirit of Asia Award presented by the Japan Foundation Asia Center. Directed by Akio Fujimoto, the film follows a Burmese family living in Japan. Chinese filmmaker Zhou Ziyang’s Old Beast was given a special mention.

Hikaru Toda’s Of Love & Law won best picture in the Japanese Cinema Splash section, which focuses on emerging talent and Japanese indie cinema. The film tells the story of an openly gay couple in Japan who want to become parents.

TIFF also introduced a new award this year – the Tokyo Gemstone Award – which is presented to a handful of up-and-coming actors “whose talent is deemed worthy of international recognition”. The first winners of the award are four actresses: Mayu Matsuoka (Tremble All You Want), Shizuka Ishibashi (The Tokyo Night Sky Is Always The Densest Shade Of Blue), Adeline D’Hermy (Maryline) and Daphne Low (We, The Dead).

In total, the festival screened 231 films, while audience numbers reached 63,679. The total number of visitors across all associated events, including contents market Japan Content Showcase, Arena events and red carpets, reached 188,195.


Tokyo Grand Prix / The Governor of Tokyo Award – Grain

Special Jury Prize – Crater

Award for Best Director – Edmund Yeo, We The Dead (Aqerat)

Award for Best Actress – Adeline D’Hermy, Maryline

Award for Best Actor – Duan Yihong, The Looming Storm

Award for Best Artistic Contribution – The Looming Storm

Best Screenplay Award by WOWOW – Euthanizer

Audience Award – Tremble All You Want

Best Asian Future Film Award – Passage Of Life

Asian Future Special Mention – Old Beast

The Spirit of Asia Award by the Japan Foundation Asia Center – Akio Fujimoto, Passage Of Life

Japanese Cinema Splash, Best Picture Award – Of Love & Law

Samurai Award – Ryuichi Sakamoto

Tokyo Gemstone Award – Mayu Matsuoka (Tremble All You Want), Shizuka Ishibashi (The Tokyo Night Sky Is Always The Densest Shade Of Blue), Adeline D’Hermy (Maryline) and Daphne Low (We, The Dead).