Director Pema Tseden’s Tibetan-language Chinese film Old Dog was awarded the grand prize and $12,800 (Y1m) at the closing awards of the twelfth edition of Tokyo Filmex, which ran from Nov 19-27.
Tseden’s third feature tells the story of an unemployed man who sells a Tibetan Mastiff to a local dog trader to the chagrin of his elderly father, who has raised the animal for 13 years.
Having won accolades earlier this year at the Hong Kong International Film Festival and Cinema Digital Seoul film festival, Old Dog has been viewed as an allegorical work that comments on the present state of Tibet and its people.
The special jury prize and $8,000 of Kodak film stock was given to Korean film The Journals Of Musan. Former assistant director to Lee Chang-dong, Park Jung-bum’s feature debut chronicles the struggles of a North Korean defector living in Seoul, previously winning prizes in Busan and Rotterdam.
South Korea continued to make a strong showing with Kim Ki-duk’s Cannes-winning Arirang - the festival’s opening film - winning the audience award. The festival closed with Johnnie To’s Life Without Principle.
The competition jury, led by Cut director Amir Naderi, also singled out Wang Baoqiang’s performance in Han Jie’s Mr. Tree and Toshifumi Fujiwara’s documentary on the Fukushima nuclear disaster No Man’s Zone for special mentions.
The newly-established Student Jury prize was picked up by Yosuke Okuda’s Tokyo Playboy Club.
2011’s edition also featured special programs on Nicholas Ray and Japanese director Yuzo Kawashima. Two of the Kawashima titles shown are slated to be screened in Berlin next February.
Tokyo Filmex also launched the inaugural edition of Talent Campus Tokyo (Nov 21-26), in an official tie-up with the original Berlin Talent Campus and backing from the Tokyo Metropolitan government. Director Jia Zhang-ke, producer-director Park Kiyong, Coproduction Office head of sales Olimipia Pont Chafer and Berlin Talent Campus project manager Christine Trostrum served as mentors, with master classes given by Amir Naderi, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Susan Ray and Toshifumi Fujiwara.
Among 15 emerging filmmakers and producers from Asia, mainland Chinese director Shan Zuolong won best project and $3800 with Song Of The Mulberries while Malaysian director Mohd Afiq Deen garnered a special mention for The Boy In White.
Trostrum commented on the first edition of the campus: “We have now found a home for the talent campus in East and Southest Asia. There was already a well-established relationship with Tokyo Filmex. I look forward to the campus’ continuation and seeing the completed projects.” The Tokyo government also pledged continued support.