Japan’s Good Morning to the World directed by Hirohara Satoru won the 17th-annual Dragons & Tigers Award for Young Cinema with a cash prize of C$10,000 at the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF).

The jury — comprised of Bong Joon Ho (The Host), Denis Côté (Curling) and Zia Zhangke (Sixth Generation) — chose Satoru “for his fresh and frontal way of addressing his society’s problems”, and saluted “the maturity of this very young director,” in a news release.

The award goes to a new director from the Asia-Pacific region for a creative and innovative film, made early in the director’s career, which has not yet won significant international recognition.

The jurors saw a range of eight features from East Asia and gave Special Mentions to two films: Don’t Be Afraid, Bi! by Phan Dang Di from Vietnam and Rumination by Xu Ruotao from China.

The jury noted of Dang’s film that: “Each shot, amazingly photographed, is harmonized with the next through flawless directorial control. The film is full of unforgettable images.”

The 2010 festival continues to Oct 15 and 150,000 people are expected to attend screenings of 360 films from 80 countries.