TIFF Winners

            Like the previous years, the last day of the festival still packed with some events. Along with the screening of anime blockbuster ‘Attack on Titan : the First Part’ and the launch of the 27th allied project ‘The World of Tim Burton’ with the special presentation of the director’s upcoming ‘Big Eyes’, the winners of the festival were announced in the Closing Ceremony, held at TOHO Cinemas Roppongi Hills and presented by Festival Muse Miki Nakatani.

Festival Muse_Miki Nakatani

            The newly established award outside the festival entry categories, the Samurai Award, was handed by Director General of TIFF, Yasushi Shiina to Takeshi Kitano and Tim Burton. Receiving the trophy, Kitano commented with his remarkable true Kitano style “I think I was in the first TIFF when it was still a small festival. Then the Green Carpet appeared that made us feel like grasshoppers. I understand there’s no prize money but a trophy made up of left over material from other nicer trophies. I didn’t want to receive the prize but when I heard Tim Burton was coming, I didn’t feel so ashamed. I wasn’t satisfied making TV and comedy shows but I finally feel like I’m casting off my skin. Not like a snake turning into a larger one, but more like a cicada turning into a dragonfly.”

TIFF Samurai Award

            Tim Burton also expressed his gratitude with a nods to this year’s special focus on animation, saying “Thank you for having me. Japan is one of my favorite countries, so it’s an honor to be here with all of you, with the great Takeshi Kitano, and with the Japanese monsters that I love.”

            Here are the compete list of winners of the 27th TIFF :

Japanese Cinema Splash Award

Best Picture Award : ‘100 YEN LOVE’, directed by Masaharu Take

TIFF 100 Yen Love 2

Jury Special Mention : ‘ECOTHERAPY GETAWAY HOLIDAY’, directed by Shuichi Okuta

TIFF Ecotherapy Getaway Holiday

            The award went to the film ‘100 Yen Love’ directed by Masaharu Take. Handed by the Deputy General Delegate at the Festival de Cannes, Christian Jeune with jury member Kazuyoshi Kumakiri, Take gave his winning speech telling the process on making the film, “This film started from a small scenario, but with the award we received, it’ll help us spread this movie to a larger audience.” Take also commented on how he hopes to see Tokyo promote TIFF further, that film festivals are a good platform for independent filmmakers, but it’s important to have an open mind, to want to promote your film worldwide.

TIFF 100 Yen Love

            About the judging process, jury member Tony Rayns gave his comment, “We saw all sorts of film like that was the homage to Federico Fellini, about a film that taught us the meaning of love, or one that none of us could understand. We were impressed enough by another film which we also thought deserved a special mention, which is ‘Ecotherapy Getaway Holiday’, directed by Shuichi Okita. We thought Sakura Ando in ‘100 Yen Love’ gave a heroic performance, we liked the music and we particularly liked how Take-san directed the film. I think he expressed the deep understanding of what it means to be defeated. I hope this film will be a great success.”


The Asian Future Film Award

The Spirit of Asia Award by The Japan Foundation Asia Center : ‘THE LAST REEL’, directed by Sotho Kulikar

TIFF The Last Reel

Best Asian Future Film Award : ‘BORDERLESS’, directed by Amirhossein Asgari

TIFF Borderless

            Gave his speech, director Sotho Kulikar said “This was my first film as a director and my first film to be in such a prestigious festival, so this award is very meaningful to my further career. I’m grateful to my mother who is my role model of my life. Without her, I wouldn’t be here today. My mother once told me that a few months before the civil war, my father was suggested by a friend that he should take us and leave for Europe until the country became stable. This was just before the collapse of Cambodia. But my mother said ‘why leave? There is only six months of sunshine in Europe’. This was her expression for her love for the country. I had a personal desire to tell a story to know about my family history. I was born two years before the civil war and grew up during the war. I don’t remember the genocide period and people didn’t want to talk about it. My generation grew up only knowing that Pol Pot regime destroyed our country. After working with people in the Khmer Rouge, I understood why Cambodians kept silent. I developed a desire to tell a story from a Cambodian perspective, and there is a large population of young Cambodians who aren’t interested in their heritage, rather they are ashamed of it. I wanted to communicate to people across generations to move on to the future. That’s why this trophy is for my country.”

TIFF Borderless 1

            For the winner of the Best Asian Future Film Award, ‘Borderless’, Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director at the Toronto International Film Festival described the film as follows. “Our jury was impressed by a film that tells its story of survival during the war with the purest of cinematic elements; image, gesture and time. The lead actor is a young boy and he does it without one word of dialogue.” Giving his response to this, director Amirhossein Asgari said “ I was speechless. I don’t know what to say and I’m overwhelmed. But I know I would like to dedicate this film to everyone who loves peace in this world. Also, I’d like to dedicate this trophy to my family, my crew and those who love peace. This is my first film and my first award. Thank you so much”


The Competition Section

WOWOW Viewer’s Choice Award : ‘TEST’ directed by Alexander Kott


            Being the first announced in the Competition section as the newly established award for this year’s festival, director Alexander Kott said, “This is a wonderful prize because it was chosen not by jury members who are experts of the industry but by viewers. So I am truly honored. This is similar to the Audience Award I received in the past. Arigato!”

TIFF Test Winner




The Audience Award : ‘PALE MOON’ directed by Daihachi Yoshida

TIFF Pale Moon 5

            With actress Rie Miyazawa also appeared on stage, Yoshida gave his speech “Thank you. This prize means that the audience voted for my film. I feel the weight of the award and it’s a great encouragement for my career.” Miyazawa followed, “Thank you very much. Before the release on November 15, it’s an honor to receive this prize. I was nervous about the release but now I can be proud and look forward to the opening day!”

Pale Moon Winner



Best Artistic Contribution : ‘TEST’, directed by Alexander Kott

TIFF Test 3

            As described by jury member Debbie McWilliams, “The film was beautiful, amusing, thought-provoking, and shocking. The design, the sound, the cinematography all contribute to this extraordinary experience.” Gave his second winning speech, director Kott said “Film is an art of imagery. Film is about the visual artistic technology. This award was presented to us because we were able to achieve that, and I can’t forget that my artistic muse is my wife!”


Best Actor : Robert Wieckiewicz in ‘THE MIGHTY ANGEL’

TIFF The Mighty Angel

            Announced by jury member Robert Luketic, he described the acting as a performer whose depiction was so committed to humanity that times we could almost feel and smell it. He said then,”This actor takes the audience through the agony and dehumanization of full-blown alcoholism. There is unrelenting and convincing pursuit of truth and performance.” Received the trophy on behalf of the actor was director Wojtek Smarzowski, saying “He is busy working on a film so he couldn’t come to Tokyo. I think Robert would have liked to thank the jury members and the actors in the film.”

TIFF Wickiewicz




Best Actress : Rie Miyazawa in ‘PALE MOON’


            Announced by jury member John H. Lee, he revealed that the choice was an unanimous vote. “Her acting was profound, so sensitive yet fragile. Her eyes has spoken everything. I thank her for her wonderfully artistic performance”, Lee said. Being first leading role for Miyazawa after seven years, the actress said, “I’m shaking. I was nervous after seven years, but Mr. Yoshida’s tenacity yet warm direction gave me power. If I could slice this trophy in half, I’d like to give the other half to him.”

Best Actress_Rie Miyazawa_Pale Moon


Best Director : Joshua Safdie and Benny Safdie in ‘HEAVEN KNOWS WHAT’

TIFF Joshua Benny Safdie


            Announced by jury member Eric Khoo, he described that the film was a tight street film filled with energy. Receiving the award, director Joshua Safdie described that Tokyo as having so much energy, and how the fanaticism of life in the city was so amazing. Benny Safdie commented, “This is all thanks to the leading actor and actress. It’s a true honor to receive a prize in city of movement and speed, which is also what we want in our movies.”


The Special Jury Prize  : ‘THE LESSON’, directed by Kristina Grozeva & Petar Valchanov

TIff The Lesson

            Presented by director Hiroshi Shinagawa, saying “It’s an honor to announce this prize. This film had us on the edge of our seats and we were stressed out in a good sense. The performance of the actress was great, and her presence was everything on the screen. Director Valchanov commented “I thank the co-director, my wife Kristina Grozeva!” Actress Marguita Gosheva also expressed her gratitude as well, saying “It’s our fourth prize but considering that this film was made with a ‘nano’ budget, we’ve come a long way. Arigato!”

TIFF The Lesson 2



The Tokyo Grand Prix : ‘HEAVEN KNOWS WHAT’, directed by Joshua Safdie and Benny Safdie

TIFF Heaven Knows What

            Presented the highest acknowledgement of the festival, James Gunn, President of Jury, enthusiastically explained why this was the winning film. Gunn said “This film bursts with life about people living on the brink of death. It’s about people who are desperate to become something more, and in the process of attempting to do so, become something less. The performances seem raw, natural and real, and it belies the craftmanship of those performances beneath that. The direction is exciting, turns the tragedy into humor and the music, in all the best ways, is disruptive and shameless.” Receiving the Tokyo Grand Prix, Joshua Safdie commented “Two is better than one I guess! I said earlier about praising extremism and this is rather extreme. I only met Arielle a year and a half ago and this has been quite a detour. Honestly, when we got selected for TIFF, it was the most exciting news because I thought this film would react well in Tokyo with people’s love for fanaticism and extremism.” Benny Safdie added “We got that second watch! It’s such an honor. So much sacrifice was made to make this film and for it to be recognized.” And the actress Arielle Holmes, the real character that inspired the story, was also lost for words by the jury’s choice. “I don’t know what to say… Thank you all so much! This is amazing because when I met Joshua, I was just a homeless girl in New York City.” The actor Caleb Landry-Jones from ‘X-Men : First Class’ and ‘Byzantium’ was thrilled as well, saying “Thank you very very very very much! This means a lot!”

Tokyo Grand Prix_Heaven Knows What




            After all the awards had been presented, James Gunn made an overall comment. “It was a great festival experience with amazing people and jury members. We got along very well despite our differences in opinions, but no one got angry and no ego. We ‘ve been on a trip around the globe, from Poland to the Phillipines to New York City and Iran and on and on! Through our travels, we’ve illuminated a lot of differences between our cultures but more importantly, we’ve illuminated how we are all the same. Each film is about how people want to love or be loved. We are all one human spirit, we merely have different ways of communicating that. Watching these films as a collections, I feel I know myself much better, and I’ve gotten to know the world a bit better. This festival is about experiencing our differences and our similarities through the joy and craftmanship of cinema. I am grateful to the volunteers, staff, fans, press and lastly to the city of Tokyo for its incredible hospitality. Thank you!”

TIFF Jury Members Closing

            With this year’s total 44.706 numbers of audience (200 films screened) and other official events that were attended by approximately 151.000 persons, TIFF’s Director General Yasushi Shiina then wrapped up the Closing Ceremony with his finale speech, “ I thank the sponsors, government sectors, ASEAN, local agencies and organizations all involved in TIFF. Also, thank the Festival Navigators, Azusa Okamoto and Harry Sugiyama and Festival Muse, Miki Nakatani. In closing, I would like to recall the words of Prime Minister Abe on the opening day of this festival, that we are a hub for intercultural exchange between filmmakers, culture and businesses alike. We established two new awards this year to nurture young creators. So I hope TIFF will serve as a foundation for such filmmakers to flourish in the world!”

See you in the 28th Tokyo International Film Festival!


~ by danieldokter on November 3, 2014.

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