“Happy Old Year,” directed by Thailand’s Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, was named as the winner of the Grand Prix best picture award at the Osaka Asian Film Festival, which concluded its virus-impacted 15th edition at the weekend.
While many festivals around the world have been postponed or cancelled due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the OAFF pressed on, albeit with restrictions.
“To fight against an invisible enemy, and to minimize the possibility of tragedy, we decided to cancel all filmmaker-in-person events so as to reduce the chance of possible coronavirus infection. Upon asking filmmakers’ understanding, we have decided to focus on our fundamental purpose: screening films which show the many other things which are happening around us,” the festival’s chairman , Kamikura Tsuneyuki said in his opening address. “Upon asking filmmakers’ understanding, we have decided to focus on our fundamental purpose: screening films which show the many other things which are happening around us.”
The OAFF went ahead with the screening of 58 films, over 10 days from March 6-15, 2020 and concluded with a prize ceremony and the world premiere screening of omnibus film “Kamata Prelude”, directed by Nakagawa Ryutaro, Akimaya Mayu, Yasukawa Yuka and Watanabe Hirobumi.
Other winners announced on Sunday included Korean director Park Sun-joo ( “Way Back Home”); Japan’s Mase Hidemasa named as best actor for his role in “Kontora”; the ABC TV Award for The Philippines’ “Write about Love,” directed by Crisanto Aquino; the Yakushi Pearl Award for actor Leon Dai in Taiwanese gay drama “Your Name Engraved Herein”; the Japan Cuts Award, which went to “The Murders of Oiso” directed by Misawa Takuya; and the Audience Award, which went to Hong Kong director Derek Tsang’s Chinese hit film “Better Days.”
Excluding those cases on a cruise ship, Japan has recorded 839 cases of the novel coronavirus and 22 deaths. The country has been significantly slower than its Asian neighbors in South Korea, mainland China, Hong Kong and Singapore, to test aggressively for Covid-19 and follow up the contact history of those who are identified as infected.