The resurrected Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival (YIFFF) ended its first successful run yesterday since the cancellation of the event in 2006 due to financial problems.
The festival said 8,868 customers attended 58 films over the five-day event (March 19-23).
Director Toki Inoue's 21-minute The Woman Who Is Beating The Earth (Daichi Wo Tataku Onna) was awarded the top prize in the 14-film Off Theatre Competition, which spotlights young independent film-makers.
An accompanying prize of $20,000 (Y2m) was presented to Inoue to help fund her next film.
The jury was headed by director Isshin Inudo, joined by Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival director Han Sang-joon, actress Yuriko Hishimi and Dutch film critic Tom Mes.
My Sassy Girl director Kwak Jae-young's Cyborg She opened YIFFF as a world premiere.
The film was hatched as a project when Kwak previously served on YIFFF's Young Fantastic Competition jury with the film's producer Mataichiro Yamamoto back in 2003.
Other screenings included Takeshi Kaneshiro-starrer Sweet Rain, Asian hit CJ7 (which opens in Japan on June 28 through Sony Pictures), and Oscar-winning Hollywood titles Juno and There Will Be Blood. The festival closed with the Japan premiere of The Spiderwick Chronicles.
Established in 1990 YIFFF was cancelled in 2006 due to the financial hardship of the tiny host town. The town remains officially bankrupt, with the former city-run YIFFF resurrected under the Yubari Fanta non-profit organization.
A scaled-down, temporary event named the Yubari Support Film Festival unspooled last February in an effort to raise funds for this year's full return.
YIFFF had originally planned a summer 2007 revival of but instead opted for the fest's traditional February bow. Former invited guests such as Amanda Plummer went on record to praise the event and plead for its resurrection.
Previous YIFFF guests have included Dennis Hopper, Steve Martin, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Gaspar Noe, Pen-ek Ratanaruang and Quentin Tarantino. The name Yubari was immortalised in Tarantino's Kill Bill: Vol. 1 with the naming of female assassin Gogo Yubari.