The Tower,” Mats Grorud’s animation about the plight of the Palestinians, as viewed through the eyes of an 11-year-old girl in Beirut, won the grand prize in the international competition at the 16th edition of Skip City International D-Cinema Festival. The film also scooped the section’s audience award.

The Skip City festival, which launched in 2004 to promote the then-new medium of digital cinema, played July 16-21 in Kawaguchi, a suburb of Tokyo and the site of the Skip City media complex.

In the Japanese feature film competition the best picture winner was “Sacrifice,” a drama by first-timer Taku Tsuboi that focuses on strange incidents at a college – and a female student who was once a member of a religious cult.

In the same competition the Skip City Award went to “F Is for Future,” Teppei Isobe’s drama about an aimless high school boy who finds a purpose when a friend is involved in a traffic accident. The winner gains free access to audio and video facilities in the Skip City complex.

In the Japanese shorts competition the best picture was “The Distant Light” by Tatsuya Utsuno.
Cult director Takashi Miike chaired the international feature film jury. “All ten films (in the section) were excellent and different… It was a truly precious time for me to watch films from the new generation of talented directors. I will keep trying my best until I eventually retire,” he said.