Schaefer, Crespo's drama nabs digital kudos

TOKYO — “Arranged,” Stefan Schaefer and Diane Crespo’s drama about a Jewish woman and Muslim man who become friends — and more — in present-day Brooklyn, scooped the Grand Prize at the Skip City Intl. D-Cinema Festival’s awards ceremony Sunday.

Pic was one of a 12-title feature competish at the fest, which unspooled July 19-27 in Kawaguchi, a satellite city of Tokyo.

Director nod went to Jose Enrique March for the Spanish musical drama “Listening to Gabriel.” Sony and Sony Marketing kicked in a 2,000,000 yen ($18,539) cash reward to go with the trophy. Estonian helmer Ilmar Raag received the screenplay prize, together with $9,270, for the school drama “The Class.” Finally, two pics, Anders Morgenthaler’s “Echo” and Jean Louis Milesi’s “Lino” shared the Special Jury Prize, but each got a $9,270 cash prize.

The feature jury was chaired by Austrian producer Danny Krausz, while other members were Korean helmer Hong Sang-soo, Argentinean cinematographer Ricardo de Angelis and Japanese scripter Masako Ima.

In the Domestic Short Length Competition, which screened 12 shorts by Japanese helmers, Shigeaki Kobayashi & Masato Honda’s “Elephant Mado” won the best picture prize. The helmers, who go under the collective name Hamu, also picked up $9,270, contributed by Citizens’ Circle to Support Skip City Intl. D-Cinema Festival.

Meanwhile, Honorable Mention went to Kenji Shibayama’s “A Day of Black Long-Sleeved Kimono” and Kazuyuki Yoshii’s “Nozoki.” Both also received $4,635 in cash. Thesp Masanobu Takashima headed the jury.

Fest, the first dedicated exclusively to digital pics, is now in its fifth edition. It opened with the world preem of “The Tale of Bunshichi,” a Kabuki performance pic helmed by veteran Yoji Yamada and underwritten by the Shochiku studio as an entry in its Cinema Kabuki series.

Two other theater performance pics also screened — “Riding the Metro,” a musical staged by the Ongaku-za troupe, and “Frogs on Screen,” a dance drama presented by the Seishun Dance Act group.

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