The winner of Grand Prize at the 23rd Pia Festival was Yuki Tanada's Mall, a 76-minute video film about a woman who after witnessing a suicide passes out every time she gets her period.

Kazuki Kobayashi's Pellet was awarded the Second Grand Prize, while three films shared the Jury Prize: Yoi Suzuki's Hana ga Naitara Bari ga Kuru (If the Flowers Cry, Bali Will Come), Yoshie Ogihara's 21 Seiki no Osama (21st Century King) and Tamako Hioki's Tanpen Shosetsu (Short Story).

The winner of the Grand Prize is eligible for the Pia Scholarship, which offers financial and other support for the production of a feature-length film.

The Pia competition, which has served as the springboard for several important directorial careers since its beginning 23 years ago, has long been dominated by men, but this year 102 of the 758 entries were from women, including Yuki Tanada's Mall.

The festival also featured the Japanese premiere of Hole In the Sky by previous Pia Scholarship winner Kazuyoshi Kumakiri, as well as screenings of several other new films by leading independent directors, including Waterboys by Shinobu Yaguchi and Nami (Waves) by Hiroshi Okuhara.

Another highlight was a six-film retrospective devoted to Teruo Ishii, including two new prints of films from his famous Abashiri Prison series.

Organised by Pia Corporation, which publishes Tokyo's most widely-read entertainment listing magazine, the Pia Film Festival is Japan's leading showcase for independent film, as well as a venue for the discovery of new directing talent. The sponsors for this year's festival were TBS, Rentrak, Tokyo FM, Nikkatsu and Imagica.