Shiina replaces Yoda as topper
TOKYOLorraine Levy’s “The Other Son,” a drama about two families — one Israeli, the other Palestinian — that are shaken by a case of mistaken identity, scooped the Tokyo Sakura Grand Prix at the 25th Tokyo Film Festival’s closing ceremony on Sunday. Levy also took director honors. The nine-day fest unspooled at the Roppongi Hills complex in Tokyo and other venues. Fest chairman Tom Yoda announced that, after five years at the helm, he will step down, effective March 31. His replacement will be Yasushi Shiina, director and exec adviser of Kadokawa Shoten Publishing. The former prexy of Kadokawa Pictures, Shiina is a well-known industry vet. The second place special jury prize went to Kang Yi-kwan’s “Juvenile Offender,” while the pic’s young star, Seo Young-joo, was awarded the actor prize. Best actress went to Neslihan Atagul for her work in “Araf — Somewhere in Between” while Pankaj Kumar, the cinematographer of Indian film “Ship of Theseus,” took the artistic contribution award. The audience award went to “Flashback Memories 3D,” Tetsuaki Matsui’s docu about a Japanese didgeridoo player’s struggle with memory loss following a traffic accident. Jury chairman Roger Corman praised all the entries, saying they demonstrated “the power and glory of cinema.” In the Winds of Asia-Middle East section, which presents indie pics, Turkish helmer Reis Celik’s “Night of Silence” took best Asian-Middle Eastern film award, while the best picture award in the Japanese Eyes section for local indie pics went to Yutaka Tsuchiya’s docu-drama “GFP Bunny.” Finally, the Toyota Earth Grand Prix for the best nature-themed fiction or doc was given to Valerie Berteau’s “Himself He Cooks” and the special jury prize to Candida Brady’s “Trashed.” The fest’s 9th market unspooled Oct. 23-25 without Chinese reps, a reaction to the political tussle over China’s claim to the Japanese-owned Senkaku islands (known as the Daioyu islands in China). On the other hand, helmer Wang Jing’s Chinese family drama “Feng Shui” screened in competition, despite a production company’s request to pull it. The mart was crowded with buyers in its first two days with many Japanese sellers, from TV networks to major pic distribs, fully booked with meetings though there were few announced deals. Locals, however, lamented the long trek to and from the mart, as well as the inconvenience of the 30-minute shuttle from the hotel to the main fest site in Roppongi.