Japanese comedy-drama “Ito” (aka “Itomichi”) was named as the Grand Prix winner of the 16th edition of the Osaka Asian Film Festival. It also claimed the audience award.

The festival ran March 5-14. Results of the competition section were announced Sunday night ahead of the screening of the world premiere of “The Asian Angel.” The film was directed by Ishii Yuya and entirely shot on location in South Korea, where it celebrates food culture and human companionship.

“This year, because all of the jurors were Japanese, we debated whether it was appropriate to award the Grand Prix to a film by a Japanese director. However, we appreciated the fact that 13 years after her debut, director Yokohama Satoko returned to her hometown of Aomori and created a character with depth. Even though this is a standard fiction drama, this work is full of charm without being stereotypical. Komai Ren, who played the heroine, provided a unique beat that moved us,” said the jury in a statement. Yokohama said that she was very surprised to have received two prizes for the film.

The festival was held in front of live audiences. But, like many other festivals, Osaka has gone a little bit hybrid. Its Osaka Asian Film Festival Online will remail available for another week. In addition to the seven films that were screened at past editions of the festival, digitally remastered Taiwanese films “Gwan Gung Vs. Aliens” and “The Rice Dumpling Vendors” will be available for streaming for a limited 48-hour period.

Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021 Award Winners

Grand Prix (Best Picture Award)
“Ito” dir. Yokohama Satoko (Japan)

Most Promising Talent Award
Choi Jin-young director of “The Slug” (Korea)

ABC TV Award
“Sister Sister” dir. Kathy Uyen (Vietnam)

Yakushi Pearl Award
Lily Lee “Born to be Human” (Taiwan)

Japan Cuts Award
“B/B”  dir. Nakahama Kosuke (Japan)

Japan Cuts Award Special Mention
“Among Four of Us” dir. Nakamura Mayu (Japan)

Housen Short Film Award
“In-young’s Camcorder” dir. Oh Jeong-seon (Korea)

Audience Award
“Ito” dir. Yokohama Satoko (Japan)