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Okinawa raises relief coin

Fest wrapped Sunday with 'Hankyu Train'

The third Okinawa Movie Festival wrapped Sunday with Yoshishige Miyake’s weeper “Hankyu Train” winning the Peace category and helmer-scribes Puttipong Pormsaka Na-Sakonnakorn and Wasin Pokpong’s Thai teen drama “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” topping the Laugh section.

“Hankyu Train” also scooped the Golden Shiisa Award presented by the international jury, chaired by Pusan Film Festival director Lee Yong-kwan.

But the real winners were the charities helping the Japanese deal with the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

This year’s edition of the festival was on the verge of cancellation after the disaster. But sponsor Yoshimoto Kogyo, an Osaka-based talent shop that reps hundreds of comedians, repurposed it as a charity event. The response from local fans was enthusiastic, with 310,000 admissions for the nine-day fest.

Yoshimoto recruited 550 of its talents to solicit donations at the fest, held at the Okinawa Convention Center in Ginowan City.As of 3 p.m. on Sunday donations totaled nearly $120,000. Also, all the coin for the award winners, including the $61,415 prizes for the Peace and Laugh victors, was donated to quake charities.

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