Winners of the Tokyo International Film Festival 2016


We present the list of winners of the 29th Tokyo International Film Festival that took place from October 25th – November 3rd in Tokyo, Japan.

Main Competition

Tokyo Grand Prix

The Bloom of Yesterday (Die Blumen von Gestern) by Chris Kraus
Germany, Austria | 2016 – 125 min.

While studying the Holocaust with his eccentric female assistant, a stubborn researcher makes an unexpected discovery. With a touch of romantic comedy, this drama depicts the shadow that these historical events continue to cast over people’s lives.

A renowned German Holocaust researcher, grandson of a prominent Nazi war criminal, is struggling with his family history, his career, and his hatred of people in general. At the height of his personal crisis, he encounters a passionate, manic French Jewess with a Teutonic complex. Her remarkably frank and unconventional manner turns his professional and family life upside down and helps him finally break down the barriers he has built around his life. An impossible romantic comedy, in effect, a love story programmed to self-destruct.

Trailer (In German)

Special Jury Prize

Sami Blood by Amanda Kernell – Sweden, Denmark, Norway | 2016 – 112 min.

In the 1930s, the Sami, indigenous to the Swedish mountains, were subjected to discrimination. Refusing to accept this fate, a young girl sets out to change her life. This moving drama, made by a Swedish Sami director, is set in stunning Lapland.

Elle Marja, 14, is a reindeer-breeding Sami girl. Exposed to the racism of the 1930s and phrenological examinations at her boarding school, she starts dreaming of another life. To achieve this other life she has to become someone else and break all ties with her family and culture.


Best Director

Hana Jusic for her film Quit Staring At My Plate – Croatia, Denmark | 2016 – 105 min.

Marijana lives humbly with her problematic family in coastal Croatia. She isn’t exactly unhappy, but when an unforeseen event happens, everything changes. This drama explores the mind of its introverted heroine with special directorial flair.

Marijana’s life revolves around her family, whether she likes it or not. They live on top of one another in a tiny apartment, driving one another crazy. When her controlling father has a stroke and is left completely bedridden, Marijana takes his place as head of the clan. Soon, she is working two jobs to keep everything afloat, while her mother and disabled brother do their best to scupper the ship. Driven to the edge, Marijana finds comfort in seedy sex with random strangers and this taste of freedom leaves her wanting more. But now that she has finally found freedom, what’s she meant to do with it?


Best Actress

Lene Cecilia Sparrok for her role in Sami Blood by Amanda Kernell
Sweden, Denmark, Norway | 2016 – 112 min.

Best Actor

Paolo Ballesteros for his role in Die Beautiful by Jun Robles Lana
Philippines | 2016 – 120 min.

Trisha, a transgender woman who makes a living as a beauty contestant, dies unexpectedly. Before she died, her one last wish was to remain beautiful even in death. This moving work, filled with laughs, is the latest effort by Jun Robles Lana.

Trisha, a Filipino transgender woman, suddenly dies while being crowned in a beauty pageant. Her last wish was to be presented as a different celebrity on each night of her wake, but her conservative father wants to bury her as a man. Trisha’s friends are left with no choice but to steal her body and hold the wake in a secret location. And as Trisha is transformed to look like different celebrities, they also look back at the colorful and extraordinary life that she has led – being a son, a sister, a mother, a friend, a lover, a wife, and ultimately, a queen.


Best Artistic Contribution Award

Mr. No Problem by Mei Feng – China | 2016 – 144 min.

Shot in stylish black-and-white, this three-act fable, set in wartime Chongqing, focuses on the indifferent rich, the head clerk on a farm, and some young intruders. Based on a 1943 short story, the film was directed by noted screenwriter Mei Feng.

Shuhua Farm in Chongqing is highly productive yet fails to turn a profit. To bring in extra income, director Ding rents a room to a self-professed artist named Qin. The shareholders decide to hire an incorruptible new director, who is opposed by the faux-artist Qin. Under Qin’s urging, workers shower director You’s wife with small bribes, whereupon Qin exposes the new director for embezzlement. This course of events fits the aims of Ding, who finally returns to his position as farm director. As before, the farm operates at a loss under a facade of not having any problems.

Audience Award

Die Beautiful by Jun Robles Lana – Philippines | 2016 – 120 min.

WOWOW Viewer’s Choice Award

The Bloom of Yesterday (Die Blumen von Gestern) by Chris Kraus
Germany, Austria | 2016 – 125 min.

Asian Future Competition
Best Asian Future Film Award

Birdshot by Mikhail Red – Philippines, Qatar | 2016 – 116 min.

Maya, a farmer’s daughter, accidentally kills an endangered Philippine Eagle in a forest reserve. When the police investigate, other horrifying crime cases are soon revealed… The second feature by Mikhail Red (Rekorder) is a thrilling, multilayered mystery. The Philippine Eagle, measuring about 1 meter in length, is the largest in the world. With fewer than 200 surviving, it is critically endangered due to deforestation and overhunting for taxidermy.

Birdshot is a mystery-drama that tells the story of a young farm girl who wanders off into a Philippine forest reserve. Deep within the reservation she mistakenly shoots and kills a critically endangered and protected Philippine Eagle. As the local authorities begin a manhunt to track down the poacher of a national bird, their investigation leads them to an even more horrific discovery.


The Spirit of Asian Award by the Japan Foundation Asia Center

Alankrita Shrivastava for her film Lipstick Under My Burkha – India | 2016 – 117 min.

Four women have secrets: a burkha-clad college girl dreams of becoming a pop singer; a young, two-timing beautician seeks to escape from her small town; a mother of three has another life as a saleswoman; a 55-year-old widow rediscovers her sexual desire through a phone romance. Lipstick Under My Burkha is Alankrita Shrivastava’s second feature, depicting women’s struggle for independence. Konkona Sen Sharma from Luck by Chance and others give convincing performances.

In rural India, a burkha-clad college girl struggles with issues of cultural identity and her aspirations to become a pop singer. A young two-timing beautician seeks to escape the claustrophobia of her small town. An oppressed housewife and mother of three lives the alternate life of an enterprising saleswoman. A 55-year-old widow rediscovers her sexuality through a phone romance. Caught in a conservative society, these women set forth to break the mold, in search of a little freedom.

Japanese Cinema Splash Competition
Best Picture Award

Poolsideman by Hirobumi Watanabe – Japan | 2016 – 117 min.

In a suburb north of Tokyo that seems to be secluded from the world’s madness and malice, Yusuke Mizuhara works as a lifeguard at a swimming pool. With no family, friends or love, his life is lonely and monotonous. One day, he goes to another pool as a replacement guard with his unpopular coworker Koji Shirasaki… The latest film by Hirobumi and Yuji Watanabe of And the Mud Ship Sails Away… and 7 Days, both of which screened at TIFF, POOLSIDEMAN marks the debut of Gaku Imamura in the title role. The Watanabe Brothers create ambitious films with a unique view and sensibility, and here, expose the twisted depths of Japanese society and the inexplicable tendencies of Japanese people.


To know more about this festival visit the FESTIVAL PROFILE or go to the official webpage of the festival HERE.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.