Ex-porn director takes Grand Prix at Yubari

'Make Room'
‘Make Room’
HOKKAIDO (TR) – Organizers of the 25th incarnation of the Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival on Sunday presented the Grand Prix to a Japanese director who got his start in the adult video (AV) industry, reports film industry site Eiga.com (Feb. 23).

Kei Morikawa’s film “Make Room,” a humorous peek inside a make-up room on the set of an AV shoot, topped a field of eight in the “Off Theater Competition” section.

The 50-year-old Morikawa (@keimorikawa), who received two million yen in prize money, was stunned when he heard the name of his film read aloud. “What can I say?” said the director at the awards ceremony. “I thought if I were to receive something it would have been great, but never did I think about the Grand Prix.”

The event, which extended between February 19 and 23, screened 84 films in a number of genres, including science fiction, horror and anime, for more than 12,000 filmgoers at seven locations in Yubari City.

Another notable winner at the fest was “That Day of The Month,” Thai director Jirassaya Wongsutin’s story of two school girls whose monthly menstrual periods occur at the same time, in the “International Short Film Competition” section.

In the late 1980s, Morikawa started his film career making AV films for labels such as Alice Japan. Over the next two decades, the director would work with a number of notable actresses, including Sola Aoi and Akiho Yoshizawa. He made his mainstream directorial debut in 2012 with the horror film “The Curse of 2 Channel.”

At the ceremony, jury chairman Kazuki Omori (known for directing “Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah”) indicated that he was surprised to learn that “Make Room” was made by the middle-aged Morikawa.

“Film is a form of art in which one’s experience can be the basis for conveying messages,” said Morikawa. “This will be one message to think about when considering the trend (in film) that emphasizes using young people.”

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