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All the Buzz on Film Festival Awards, Celebrity Tributes and the Film Awards Season.

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18th Nippon Connection Film Festival Award Winners

Awards go to documentaries and a tragicomedy with this year’s Nippon Honor Award recipient Shinobu TERAJIMA as the leading actress


After six days with more than 100 short and feature length films, the 18th Japanese Film Festival Nippon Connection in Frankfurt am Main ended on June 3. Numerous film screenings, concerts, performances, and workshops were quickly sold out. Over 120 directors, actors, producers, and artists from Japan came to Frankfurt in order to present their works to the audience in person. Around 16,500 visitors came to the festival centers Künstlerhaus Mousonturm and Theater Willy Praml in der Naxoshalle as well as to the five other locations Deutsches Filmmuseum, Mal Seh’n Kino, Naxos Atelier, Internationales Theater Frankfurt and Ausstellungsraum Eulengasse.

The festival was crowned on Sunday by the award ceremony at Künstlerhaus Mousonturm. The Nippon Honor Award, supported by Japan Airlines this year, was given out for the fourth time to one person who has made outstanding contributions to Japanese cinema. The recipient of the Nippon Honor Award 2018 is famous actress Shinobu TERAJIMA, who was obviously moved by the prize. She emphasized how much she loved Germany now that she had won another award in this country after having been awarded the Silver Bear at the 2010 Berlinale.

This year’s Nippon Cinema Award, an audience award, went to Oh Lucy! by Atsuko HIRAYANAGI. In this sensitive tragicomedy, Nippon Honor Awardee Shinobu TERAJIMA plays a single office lady trying to break out of her routine. The prize, which is endowed with 2,000 Euros, was sponsored by Bankhaus Metzler from Frankfurt am Main for the 14th time.

The winner of this year’s Nippon Visions Jury Award is Haruka KOMORI. For her documentary Trace of Breath, the filmmaker has portrayed a market garden owner from a small town destroyed by the 2011 tsunami. The winning film was chosen by a three-member jury consisting of Hiromi AIHARA (producer), Daniel Otto (Vice President Acquisition & Sales – AV Visionen) and Isao YUKISADA (director). In their statement, the jury emphasized how much they were impressed by the intense relation between the filmmaker and the protagonist. They also pointed out to the formal excellence of the film, especially regarding the editing, and highlighted their intention to help the film find a wider audience. The prize, consisting of a free subtitling for the director’s next film, is sponsored for the ninth time by Japan Visualmedia Translation Academy (JVTA) from Tokyo.

The jury also gave a special mention to the documentary Of Love & Law by Hikaru TODA. Here, the jury stated that the film convinced them by its calm und sensitive approach. Avoiding sensationalism, the directing style enabled the viewers to delve into the lives of the protagonists.

The Nippon Visions Audience Award went to the documentary Ramen Heads by Koki SHIGENO. The highly appetizing film shows how the best ramen chefs from Japan constantly strive for perfection in their recipes. The prize, sponsored by Japanisches Kultur- und Sprachzentrum e.V. in Frankfurt am Main, is endowed with 1,000 Euros.

The award ceremony was followed by the closing film The City of Betrayal by Daisuke MIURA. In this film, the leading actress is also Nippon Honor Awardee Shinobu TERAJIMA.

Save the date: the 19th Nippon Connection Film Festival will take place from May 28 to June 2, 2019. Once more, Künstlerhaus Mousonturm and Theater Willy Praml in der Naxoshalle will become the centers of Japanese film culture.

The Festival
The Japanese Film Festival Nippon Connection is organized on a voluntary basis by the 70 members of the non-profit Nippon Connection registered association. The festival is under the patronage of Peter Feldmann, Mayor of the City of Frankfurt am Main, and the Consulate General of Japan in Frankfurt am Main.

Künstlerhaus Mousonturm, Waldschmidtstr. 4, Frankfurt (festival center)
Theater Willy Praml in der Naxoshalle, Waldschmidtstr. 19, Frankfurt (festival center)
Naxos Atelier, Waldschmidtstr. 19, Frankfurt
Deutsches Filmmuseum, Schaumainkai 41, Frankfurt
Mal Seh’n Kino, Adlerflychtstr. 6, Frankfurt
Ausstellungsraum Eulengasse, Seckbacher Landstr. 16, Frankfurt
Internationales Theater Frankfurt, Hanauer Landstr. 5-7, Frankfurt

More Info