2016.11.03 [Event Reports]
The Closing Ceremony – Announcement of Award Winners


©2016 TIFF

Thank you for your interest in the 29th Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF). Winners to the awards at the 29th TIFF were announced today. We ask all members of the media to help us share this exciting news with all film fans across the globe.
29th TIFF List of Winners
The ARIGATŌ Award is presented to express a heartfelt “Arigatō!” to filmmakers who have contributed immensely to the film industry and have shown something memorable and spectacular. The winners of this award were Actor Satoshi Tsumabuki for his outstanding versatility in the roles that he has played in; Actress Mitsuki Takahata for blooming as a nationwide actress this past year; Director Makoto Shinkai for his feature animation film that has created a whirlwind success in the Japanese film industry; and Godzilla which has made a long-awaited comeback to the big screens. The winners each spoke a few words upon receiving the award. Satoshi Tsumabuki said that the turning point in his acting career was with the film Water Boys. “I experienced the joy of creating a film and since then I have been in love with movies.” Actress Mitsuki Takahata shyly spoke into the microphone. “I began my career with musicals 10 years ago, so I never thought I’d receive a prize for films. I also never thought I’d be standing on the same stage as Godzilla!” Next, Director Makoto Shinkai expressed his honor in receiving this prize. “I am referred to as a new star in the world of animation, but I’ve been making animations for the past 10 years! So although I am not a “new” director, I’m glad that I was finally discovered. This prize also goes to my assistants, staff, and RADWIMPS, who sings the soundtrack.” Lastly, Producer Akihiro Yamauchi spoke on behalf of Godzilla. “Godzilla was born 62 years ago, and the last Godzilla film was 12 years ago. It is not easy to make a comeback but we were very fortunate. It is also a coincidence that today happens to be Godzilla Day—the first Godzilla film was released on November 3, so it is by chance that we receive this award today! Thank you.”
The announcement of the winners moved on to the Japanese Cinema Splash Best Picture Award which went to POOLSIDEMAN directed by Hirobumi Watanabe. Jury member and Artistic Director at the Edinburg International Film Festival, Mark Adams, provided an overall summary. “It’s been an insight into the exciting talent emerging from Japan, and we’d like to congratulate the program for their choices and the filmmakers for the films themselves. Each was distinctive and impressive in its own right.” Equally, Jury member Karel Och who is the Artistic Director at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival described POOLSIDEMAN as “a unique uncompromising, idiosyncratic, and charismatic film.” Director Watanabe was at a loss of words. “I have been involved with TIFF from my debut film and this festival and the audience have helped developed me as a director. I am truly honored to be chosen from among such great filmmakers participating at TIFF this year.”
Jury member of the Asian Future section, writer and director Ryosuke Hashiguchi said that the judges had heated discussions over the 10 films. “There were films with heavy themes and also refreshing ones. Asia is going through a revolutionary time and it is wonderful to see such filmmakers emerge.” The Best Asian Future Award went to the Philippine film, Birdshot directed by Mikhail Red. Red held the trophy high up and said, “I thank my producer, partner, and dedicated cast who have all been with me form the start. This award is for the people back home in the Philippines—for everyone who wanted to speak out but was silenced. I share this award with young struggling filmmakers. This award is for my country! Thank you!”
Jury member of the other Asian Future section award, The Spirit of Asia Award by the Japan Foundation Asia Center, Masamichi Matsumoto described the wining film as follows: “With its blend of comedy and serious drama, dreams and reality, truth and challenge, the film’s bold portrayal of such dualities mirror the double lives the female characters are forced to lead, and challenges viewers to enjoy their pain as well as suffer their joy.” With that said, Mr. Matsumoto announced The Spirit of Asia Award by the Japan Foundation Asia Center; Lipstick Under My Burkha directed by Alankrita Shrivastava. Ms. Shrivastava commented, “A big thank you to TIFF and to the producer of the film who believed in the subject and spirit of my movie. I believe that Asian women have the spirit to build peace across Asia regardless of differences. I hope they will come together to illuminate the world.”
The SAMURAI Award, which commends achievements of filmmakers who continue to create groundbreaking films that carve a path to a new era, went to Director Martin Scorsese, and Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa. Martin Scorsese expressed his honor in a video message: “I would like to thank the Tokyo International Film Festival for this award. I’m very sorry that was unable to remain in Japan I’m very sorry that was unable to remain in Japan and I would like to thank my esteemed colleague Kiyoshi Kurosawa for accepting on my behalf. I have always been an admirer of Kiyoshi’s work, so it’s particularly meaningful to me that he agreed to be there in my stead. And I congratulate you as well, for your own well-deserved recognition by the festival. The samurai award is for lifetime achievement. I do want to point out that my own lifetime is still underway, as is Kiyoshi’s. Nonetheless, I’m extremely moved by the recognition. I came to Japan and Japanese culture through your cinema, the films of Akira Kurosawa, and Mizoguchi, Ozu, Naruse, Shinoda, Kobayashi, Imamura, Oshima, Tsukamoto, and Kiyoshi, and so many others-that was my gateway. And the more I saw, the richer and more wondrous it became to me. When I came to Japan to act in Kurosawa’s Dreams, my sense of wonder and curiosity deepened. Along the way I came to Japanese literature, and eventually to the writings of Shusaku Endo, and to my newest picture, an adaptation of his novel Chinmoku, translated as Silence. My life has been made so much richer by my exposure to Japanese cinema and culture, by my visits to this remarkable country. Once again, I thank you for this award.” Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa was surprised to hear his name mentioned in Mr. Scorsese’s message. “It is surprising hearing him say my name, but receiving the same award as Mr. Scorsese is beyond my imagination! He has made great films such as Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, Departed, Shutter Island and does comedies and fantasies. It is filmmakers like him that have made films come to what they are today. I started in 8mm films shooting horror, suspense, family drama, all sorts of genres. I’ve been in filmmaking for 35 years but like Mr. Scorsese said, we are still alive and well so I will continue to make films.”
The first announcement of the winning film in the Competition section was the Audience Award—Die Beautiful. The winner was announced prior to the Closing Ceremony and Director Juan Robles Lana stood up and waved to the cheering audience.
The WOWOW Viewer’s Choice Award went to The Bloom of Yesterday, directed by Chris Kraus. The winning film was chosen by jury members selected from subscribers of the WOWOW channels. The award was presented by Nobuya Wazaki, Chairman of WOWOW Incorporated. Director Chris Kraus shared his joy. “Arigato to the viewers for choosing my film!” Producer Kathrin Lemme was equally excited. “This movie’s first screening was here at TIFF. When you produce a film and take it overseas, you’re not sure if people from other countries will understand, but this award proves that our film was understood.”
The film that won the Award for Best Artistic Contribution was a Chinese film, Mr. No Problem. Director Mei Feng commented, “I thank TIFF, my main cast, the Beijing Film Academy, and the studio staff. They put a lot of hard effort into making this film what it is. Thank you very much!”
The Award for Best Actor went to Paolo Ballesteros starring in the film Die Beautiful. Mabel Cheung, member of the International Competition Jury praised Paolo Ballesteros’ acting as “a performance so vividly delivered and the characterization so genuinely unfolded, that lead us onto a journey between fiction and reality. He has the ability to share with us his innermost secrets and vulnerability. He also has the magical ability to merge the boundaries between male and female, so much so that perhaps we should name the award Best Actress.” Paolo Ballesteros appeared on stage in a beautiful dress. “I thought today was going to be a red carpet so that’s why I wore a dress! I’d like to thank TIFF and members of the jury for praising our film. But I thought I was up for best actress! To director Juan Robles Lana and the staff, thank you for your professionalism and for the gift of friendship. To my family back home, my dogs and cats, this award is for you, too!”
The Best Actress Award went to Lene Cecilia Sparrok from the film Sami Blood. President of Jury, Jean-Jacques Beineix praised the winner. “One look at her and she immediately exists and captures our attention. We will never forget her—she is a natural. Through her, she defeats the stupidity and nonsense of apartheid and racism.” Lene Cecilia Sparrok’s voice shook as she stood in front of the microphone. “My heart is beating so fast. I’m speechless. I want to thank my litter sister who also played in this film. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her. Thank you so much.”
Valerio Mastandrea, member of the International Competition Jury, announced the winner of the Best Director Award — Hana Jušić of the film Quit Staring at My Plate. Mr. Mastandrea described the director as “having the ability to film life and people without judging characters and their choices, moving close to their feelings and attracting the audience to be part of their moments in an intense and respectful way.” Jušić commented, “I’m usually not this nervous…I don’t know what to say. Thank you TIFF for choosing my film, and I thank my crew, the actors and everybody here!”
The Special Jury Prize went to Sami Blood directed by Amanda Kernell. Nicole Rocklin, the presenter of the award said, “From the scope of the story to the strength of the script, to the beautiful cinematography and incredible performances, this coming of age film pushes the audience to think and question who we are and where we come from.” Amanda Kernell expressed her excitement: “Wow! I’m so happy for this and for the actress and I am very proud. I thank the festival for inviting us, I thank the jury, and the audience. So many of them came up to us after the screening and told us what they thought about our film. It was great.”
The Tokyo Grand Prix Award went to The Bloom of Yesterday, directed by Chris Kraus. President of Jury, Jean-Jacques Beineix made a powerful comment. “Crimes against humanity are wounds that can’t be cured. Each and everybody keeps the mark of it. Cinema transmitted the memory of these moments of disgrace many times. However, year after year the images fade. However great moviemakers go beyond that and put back into perspective the survival of past crimes.” A special kirin trophy was awarded to Mr. Kraus by Yuriko Koike, Governor of Tokyo. Chris Kraus’ words were, “This is surreal. I am standing on the same stage as Jean-Jacques. I am moved because it was hard to bring this film to life. Thank you for inviting us to TIFF. I want to use this moment to thank the actors and actresses. This film would not have worked without their unbelievable hard work.” As Producer Kathrin Lemme wiped her tears, she said, “I am so happy about his prize. Thank you Chris for all the time we spent together. We had a wonderful time at the festival and I am overwhelmed.”
Following the announcement of all the award winners, Governor Yuriko Koike shared her enthusiasm of having hosted the 29th Tokyo International Film Festival. “This year, the Competition section saw films from 98 countries and regions with 1500 film entries. Today happens to be Cultural Day holiday in Japan and I believe that film is a concentrated form of culture. Japan has many different facets of culture which we’d like to transmit to the world. In 2020, we will be hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games which is a wonderful opportunity to transmit sports and culture to the world. I believe that TIFF will be a driving force in realizing that.”
Jean-Jacques Beineix wrapped up the commendation ceremony. “The 16 films that have been submitted cannot pretend to represent the cinema in its whole. They nevertheless give a striking view of it. Those films give a sizzling scope of the vision of moviemakers. Moviemakers are witnesses of their times—we need them to enlarge our comprehension of the world. Through those 16 films we could feel anxiety, fear of exclusion, racism, pessimism, loneliness, need of justice, and acceptance of our differences. Our awesome differences are our common wealth. Through all those point of views, cinema teaches us how to respect each other and to design the need for a more tolerant world, more respectful of our customs, our singularities. A universal film does not exist but through its diversity, cinema contributes greatly to open our minds and to express the beauty of humanity. It gives us a glimpse of a better world. Thank you.”
The final words were from Yasushi Shiina, Director General of TIFF. “Congratulations to the winners today. I would like to thank the members of the jury as well. This year we had 1502 entries. The 34 competition films all deserve high praise and a big round of applause. I find that hosting a film festival is like making a film. Actors appear on the screen but we know that there are many people involved in making a film. This year, we had approximately 1000 staff members and 350 volunteers. My deepest gratitude goes out to every one of them. I look forward to seeing you next year at the 30th Tokyo International Festival. Thank you!”

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