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Tokyo Filmex wraps, ‘Epilogue’ takes top prize

TOKYO (TR) – The week-long Tokyo Filmex festival on Saturday awarded its Grand Prize to the drama “Epilogue,” the debut feature from Israeli helmer Amir Manor.

Billing itself as a festival that seeks out the endless creativity and possibilities of cinema, the 13th incarnation of the event (extending between Nov. 23 and Dec. 2) featured over 50 new and classic films at theaters in and around the Yurakucho entertainment and business district of the capital.

Hundreds of biz luminaries filled the Yurakucho Asahi Hall for the awards ceremony and the closing film “Rhino Season,” Iranian helmer Bahman Ghobadi’s look at the life of Kurdish poet Sadegh Kamangar.

“Epilogue,” which made its premiere at the Venice Days event over the summer, tells the story of an elderly couple in Tel Aviv struggling with old age. The pic received 700,000 yen.

Manor, who also received 700,000 yen in prize money, said that he entered cinema in order to achieve a dialogue between cultures and people. “I really believe that cinema can change the world we live in,” said the director, who beat out eight other films in the main competition. “It is a tool to tell a perspective of the way we see life and change the way we see reality.”

The jury, headed by director Sabu (“Bunny Drop”), appreciated how the film portrayed tragic issues related to the elderly and the collapse of twentieth century ideologies. “The performances by the film’s two protagonists are brilliant,” said jury member and industry veteran Sahoko Hata, “and we appreciated the film’s insistence not to stray away from its subject. Local details reach global dimensions, going way beyond the sadness and anger of the story”

Sabu said that Tokyo Filmex is an important festival to him. “I was so surprised to see so many people coming out this week to see such a unique selection of films,” Sabu said. “As a film maker myself, I am very heartened.”

Another directorial debut, “Memories Look At Me,” the coming-of-age story of a woman (played by the director of the film, Chinese helmer Song Fang) who looks back in time after a reunion with relatives, was presented with the Special Jury Prize and 300,000 yen.

“I Am Not the World You Want to Change,” by Japanese director Izumi Takahashi Takahashi, received the Student Jury Prize, which was administered by the Tokyo Student Film Festival.

“Pieta” by Korean helmer Kim Ki-duk, which was included in the Special Screenings section, was presented with the Audience Award.