Yoshishige Miyake’s Hankyu Train (Hankyu Densha Katamichi 15-fun No Kisekitook) has taken top honors at the Okinawa International Movie Festival (OIMF) which wrapped yesterday evening in Ginowan City.

The film was awarded the Golden Shiisa grand prix by the international competition jury, led by Busan International Film Festival director Lee Yong-Kwan. “The common beauty of the scenery from the train windows and the film’s overall excellence made our decision unanimous,” Lee commented.

Hankyu Train also picked up the Uminchu audience award for the “peace” category.

Based on the novel by Hiro Arikawa, Hankyu Train depicts how the intersecting lives of a group of passengers on the titular train line results in a small miracle. Miki Nakatani leads an ensemble cast that also includes Erika Toda, Nobuko Miyamoto and Tetsuji Tamayama. It marks TV director Miyake’s feature film debut.

Distributor Toho is opening Hankyu Train as a limited release in Japan’s Kansai region on April 23 followed by a nationwide release on April 29.

Successful Thai high school comedy Crazy Little Thing Called Love, directed by Putthiphong Promsakha na Sakon Nakhon and Wasin Pokpong, won the audience award in the “laugh” category. The film also received a special mention from the jury, as did Miss Kurosawa Film II .

Masako Suzuki won the grand prize in the Jimot CM (TV commercial) competition for her spot on local Okinawa culture.

OIMF chairman Hiroshi Osaki spoke to Screendaily about the future of the festival, which was geared towards aiding and cheering up the residents of the earthquake and tsunami-ravaged areas of Tohoku. 

“Next year is [sponsor] Yoshimoto Kogyo’s 100th anniversary. Our company’s concept will still be based on comedy as well as continuing social-minded activities like we’ve had at this year’s OIMF. We also want to expand our regional filmmaking initiative beyond Japan and into other Asian territories,” he said.