Djamshed Usmonov's To Get To Heaven First You Have To Diewas awarded the Grand Prize at the conclusion of the 7th Tokyo Filmex filmfestival (Nov 17-26).
The award carried a cashprize of $8,640 (Y1m). The ceremony was followed by a screening of Tsai Ming-liang'sI Don't Want to Sleep Alone.
The Filmex jury, led byPusan International Film Festival director Kim Dong-ho, commented on how thefilm stood out from the field of nine competition entries "for the cinematicintelligence the filmmaker demonstrates in creating a fluid and dynamicrelationship among characters, environment, and narrative."
To Get To Heaven is a Tajikistan-France-German-Swiss co-production about a young man whohas difficulty consummating his recent marriage. Usmonov had previously won theSpecial Jury Prize at Filmex in 2002 for AngelOn The Right.
This year's Special JuryPrize went to Ying Liang's The Other Half,screening as a world premiere. Sponsored by Kodak, the award carried a $1,730(Y200,000) cash prize and Kodak film stock valued at $8640 (Y1m). Ying has wonthe award two years in a row, following 2005's Taking Father Home. Both films were shot on digital video, but Yingpledged to try shooting his next film on 35mm.
The Agnes B audience awardwas given to director Jafar Panahi's Offside.The comedy-drama about a group of Iranian girls who try to sneak into a WorldCup qualifying match has proven popular with audiences and critics alike,winning the Silver Bear at this year's Berlin International Film Festival.
The 10-day festival featuredspecial screenings of Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Syndromes And A Century, Johnnie To's Election and Election 2,Ryoo Seung-wan's The City Of Violence,and the Japanese premiere of Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Retribution (Sakebi).
There was also films of lateSwiss director Daniel Schmid, a 12-film retrospective on legendary Japanesedirector Kihachi Okamoto and symposium events open to the public on topicsincluding the films of Tsai Ming-liang, new Iranian cinema and Pusan's role inKorea.
Admissions for this year's selection of 34 films were 15,007 at 59 individual screenings, an increase over last year's 14,876 at 62 individual screenings.