The 17th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) has announced Japanese filmmaker Wakamatsu Koji as Asian Filmmaker of the Year.

BIFF presents the annual award during the festival to an Asian filmmaker who has contributed to the development of Asian culture and the Asian film industry. Past recipients include Tsui Hark, Yash Chopra, Tsai Ming Liang and Andy Lau.

BIFF stated: “For the past 50 years, Wakamatsu Koji has been the most controversial filmmaker in Japan. He has directed various genres from pink films to extremely political films. Wakamatsu has become the leading anchor of Japanese independent film industry who has insisted on low-budget independent film production since his debut in 1963.”

A prolific filmmaker who has directed over 100 films to date, Wakamatsu’s works include Affairs Within Walls (1965), Violated Angels (1967) and Cycling Chronicles: Landscapes The Boy Saw. His films United Red Army and Caterpillar won awards at Berlin in 2008 and 2010.

He has also produced films such as In the Realm of the Senses (1976), directed by Oshima Nagisa, Dutch Wife In The Desert (1965), directed by Atsushi Yamatoya, and The Red Army/PFLP: Declaration Of World War (1971) by Adachi Masao.

At the age of 76, Wakamatsu completed three films this year – 11.25 The Day He Chose His Own Fate, Kaien Hotel in Blue, and The Millennial Rapture. BIFF (Oct 4-13) will be screening these in his honour.