Ning Hao's Incense has won the Grand Prize "Kodak Vision Award, at the fourth edition of the FILMeX festival in Tokyo. The award comes with a cash prize of $9,174 (Y1m).
Set in a rural town in Shanxi Province, the comic drama about a young monk's attempt to raise money to restore a Buddha statue is the 25-year-old director's first feature film.
The Special Jury Prize, with a cash award of $4,587, went to 15-year-old Hana Makhmalbaf's Joy Of Madness. The feature-length documentary also screened in Critics Week at the Cannes Film Festival.
The Audience Prize went to Ornamental Hairpin (Kanzashi), a 1941 film screened in a 10-film retrospective dedicated to Hiroshi Shimizu, a contemporary and colleague of Yasujiro Ozu. Commenting on the unusual choice of a retro film for an audience award, FILMeX program director Shozo Ichiyama noted that all three screenings of Ornamental Hairpin at the National Film Center had been sold out.
The jury, which was chaired by film scholar Bernard Eisenschitz, included film researcher Wong Ain-ling, director Kim Ki-duk, director Azuma Morisaki and film curator and researcher Richard Pena.
Kim's Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring was the opening film, while Morisaki's The Chicken Is Barefoot closed the festival.
Held this year from November 22 to 30 at four venues in central Tokyo, FILMeX presented nine films in its competition section and 36 overall. Among other sections were Special Screenings, the Hiroshi Shimizu retrospective and a section tracing the development of Iranian cinema in the 1960s and 1970s.