21st Nippon Connection Film Festival – Awards 2021

We present the list of winners of the 21st Nippon Connection Film Festival which took place online from June 1st – 6th, 2021.

Due to the pandemic, the world’s biggest festival for Japanese cinema once more took place entirely online. Despite this the programme offered a wide variety of excellent movies. Moreover, the festival had many workshops, lectures and film talks. This year once again the organizers were able to put together a great experience for filmgoers. I am extremely thankful that I was able to watch some films from my home in Argentina. I would like to congratulate the Nippon Connection team for a successful edition. Until next time. – Sebastián Nadilo

List of winners:

Nippon Cinema Award

his by Rikiya Imaizumi – Japan | 2020 – 127 minutes

Supported by a rural community of elders, a same-sex stepfamily finds strength for a custody battle and rediscovers love. Director Rikiya IMAIZUMI plays with antithetical concepts of parenthood and deeply ingrained stereotypes but never pushes an agenda.


Nippon Docs Award

Ushiku by Thomas Ash – Japan | 2021 – 87 minutes

The Ushiku immigration center near Tokyo mainly holds people seeking refuge in Japan. Using a hidden camera, award-winning filmmaker Thomas Ash interviewed inmates there from late 2019. His film publicly accuses Japan’s uncompromising refugee policy through one of the country’s biggest human rights scandals. Ushiku has been making international headlines for years.


Nippon Vision Audience Award

Beyond The Infinite Two Minutes by Junta Yamaguchi – Japan | 2020 – 70 minutes

Café owner Kato discovers that his PC monitor shows what will happen two minutes in the future. Another screen downstairs in his café shows the past of two minutes ago. His friends decide to place the two mysterious devices opposite each other, which creates a loop to see into the future. Naturally, chaos ensues. A unique and original film, shot in “one take”-aesthetic.


Nippon Vision Jury Award

Along the Sea by Akio Fujimoto – Japan, Vietnam | 2020 – 88 minutes

After being exploited by their company, three Vietnamese migrants leave their jobs, but without getting their passports back. Akio FUJIMOTO stages the odyssey of the now illegal migrant women in naturalistic, almost documentary-like images. In his second feature film, the director depicts the harsh reality of being an immigrant in Japan.


Special Jury Mention

Beyond The Infinite Two Minutes by Junta Yamaguchi – Japan | 2020 – 70 minutes

The Nippon Connection Film Festival is the largest showcase of Japanese film worldwide and takes place in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The festival’s aim is to contribute to the development and promotion of Japanese film culture and it presents the whole range of innovative Japanese film art: blockbusters, dramas, animation and experimental films, documentaries as well as short films. Nippon Connection gives special attention to young and innovative talents and independent productions.

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