Two projects awarded in Next Masters programme.

Director Nobuteru Uchida’s Love Addiction (Fuyu No Kemono) won the grand prize and $11,800 (Y1m) at the conclusion of the 11th edition of Tokyo Filmex (Nov 20-28).

Love Addiction was singled out among 10 competition titles by the jury, headed by Ulrich Gregor. “Love Addiction develops its psychological drama to an extraordinary level of intensity, achieving it with very limited financial means,” said the five-member jury in a joint statement.

Love Addiction follows a pair of male and female co-workers whose romantic liaisons lead to an intense four-way confrontation. Uchida’s third independent feature screened as a world premiere.

The special jury prize and $8,000 in Kodak colour film stock was presented to director Hao Jie for rural drama Single Man. The film previously screened at San Sebastian and Vancouver. 

Kazuhiro Soda’s documentary Peace picked up the audience award.

The awards ceremony closed with the Japan premiere of Lee Chang-dong’s Poetry. Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Cannes winner Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives opened the festival on the 20th.

Continuing last year’s collaboration with Shochiku studios, there were eight rarely seen classic films by Minoru Shibuya plus works by Yasujiro Ozu and Keisuke Kinoshita. The Shibuya collection is tentatively set to travel to the Berlin film festival next year.

Also featured was a mini-retrospective on Israeli director Amos Gitai, whose latest film Roses On Credit screened in competition.

This year also saw the launch of the Next Masters program. Twenty participants from across Asia and still in the early stages of their careers were invited to Tokyo for a three-day session of lectures and interaction.

Filmex directors Kanako Hayashi and Shozo Ichiyama selected eight participants to pitch their next projects to four mentors: director Hou Hsiao-hsien, British producer Simon Field, Memento Films’ Emilie Georges and Berlin talent campus manager Matthijs Wouter Knol.

The Tokyo Filmex Next Masters best project 2010 and $3,500 was awarded to Singaporean filmmaker Anthony Chen for his project Ilo Ilo, now in pre-production. Ilo Ilo focuses on the poignant attachment of a Singaporean family to their Filipino maid. 

Simon Field commented: “Ilo Ilo showed clear talent and potential to be a moving story with international appeal.”

Represented by United Agents in the UK, Chen made the 2007 short film Ah Ma, whichwon a special mention at the Cannes film festival while 2010’s Lighthouse won the Kodak film school competition.

A special mention award was added to recognize a project in the early development stage, given to Malaysian director Charlotte Lim Lay Kuen’s surreal drama It Must Be A Camel.

“We look forward to our Next Masters participants completing their upcoming features and screening them in competition at our festival,” stated Hayashi.

Aside from lectures given by the mentors, master class speakers included directors Abbas Kiarostami, Kurosawa Kiyoshi and Makoto Shinozaki.