Encourages Solidarity With Japan
Last Sunday marked the end of the
eleventh edition of the Japanese Film Festival Nippon Connection in Frankfurt.
Once again, the festival received an enormous reaction from the audience, and
more than 16,000 visitors attended well over 100 of the latest short and
feature films from Japan as well as around 30 accompanying events. After five
exciting days of cultural exchange, the last evening saw a sold out screening
of COLORFUL by Keiichi HARA and the award ceremony for the seventh NIPPON
CINEMA AWARD and the second NIPPON VISIONS AWARD, with more than 60 film-makers
and artists from Japan as guests.
In the contest for the NIPPON
CINEMA AWARD, the audience chose the animation film ARRIETTY by Hiromasa
YONEBAYASHI, the latest production of Ghibli Studio, as the winner. For the
sixth time, the award endowed with 2,000 € was sponsored by Bankhaus Metzler.
Gerhard Wiesheu of Bankhaus Metzler declared the laureate and entrusted the
award to Takashi NISHIMURA, managing director of UNIJAPAN (an organization for
the promotion of Japanese film), in lieu of the absent director. The comedy WIG
by Renpei TSUKAMOTO also won the hearts of the audience and came in second,
while RINCO'S RESTAURANT by Mai TOMINAGA made it to third place.
The most promising film in the NIPPON
VISIONS section (formerly known as NIPPON DIGITAL) was awarded a jury prize in
cooperation with Japan Visualmedia Translation Academy (JVTA) for the second
time. The festival jury gave the NIPPON VISIONS AWARD to DOMAN SEMAN by
Go SHIBATA, an "essential cinematic assault", as the jury statement
explained. Jury members Tom Mes (midnighteye.com), Maggie Lee (Hollywood
Reporter) and Rüdiger Suchsland (FAZ, Filmdienst) also made a special honorary
mention of DOOR TO THE SEA by Reiko OHASHI. The Nippon Visions Award will
enable the director of the winning film to produce a subtitling for his
following project and thus find an international audience again. As
representatives of JVTA, Kyotake ISHII and Nami ASAKAWA gave this award to
Takashi NISHIMURA too, who acted as trustee for both winners.
At the award ceremony, festival
coordinator Marion Klomfass also introduced the new program team for Nippon
Connection 2011. After the withdrawal of festival co-founder Holger Ziegler,
and also of Alexander Zahlten and Christiane Borchert last year, Marion
Klomfass, Petra Palmer, Dennis Vetter and Atsuko MORIMUNE (Tokyo) were
responsible for the film program while Hannah Bohr and Jasmin Rolli developed
the concept for the Nippon Culture program.
In view of the current situation in
Japan, Nippon Connection 2011 was dominated by solidarity and exchange. The
sales revenues of the HELP JAPAN! party on Saturday were entirely donated, a
tombola and further donation options at the festival center increased the
amount to help earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan. Moreover, every sold
movie ticket added 50 cents.
Nippon Connection also reacted to
the latest incidents in Japan by adding special events dealing with the
problematic aspects of nuclear energy. Director and anti-nuclear activist
Hitomi KAMANAKA visited the festival and presented her two documentaries
ROKKASHO RHAPSODY and ASHES TO HONEY, trying to raise awareness for the dangers
of nuclear energy. In the following conversations with the director, many
visitors took the opportunity to learn about the Japanese perspective of the
With a total number of 102 short and
feature films presented this year and more than 16,000 visitors, Nippon
Connection is the biggest Japanese film festival outside of Japan. Once again
the festival was patronized by Mrs. Eva Kühne-Hörmann, Hessian Minister of
Science and the Arts, the General Consul of Japan in Frankfurt, and Prof. Dr.
Dr. Matthias Lutz-Bachmann, Vice President of Goethe-University Frankfurt. For
eleven years Nippon Connection has been organized on a voluntary basis by non
profit Nippon Connection registered association.
The festival team is already looking
forward to next year when it will be: Youkoso! Welcome to the 12th NIPPON
CONNECTION Film Festival!