Sugar & Spice, a short documentary about rural life in Myanmar, picked up the Grand Prix prize at the Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia 2017 award ceremony in the Great Hall of Meiji Jingu Shrine. There were more than 9,000 entries for the award coming from over 140 countries.
“The film depicts the kind of life my parents’ live,” said director Mi mi Lwin, who took to the stage to receive the award. “I’m really taken aback. This has brought me power and I will continue working hard on my films. There are many places in Myanmar unknown to the world so I want to make people aware of them.”
Other big winners on the night included the World in Your Window, a short by New Zealand filmmaker Zoe McIntosh that picked up the International Competition Best Short Award, and the film Born, Bone, Boon by Gori which received the Japan Competition Best Short prize.
Governor Yuriko Koike was in attendance at the event and spoke about wanting to change the perception that people had of Tokyo. The most memorable speech of the evening, however, was undoubtedly given by esteemed director Nobuhiko Obayashi. Suffering from lung cancer, he spoke for over 30 minutes as if it was his dying message. Two staff members tried to get him hurry things along, but he wouldn’t be stopped.
“Our future leaders will be young people who have never experienced world wars,” he said. “War embodies human greed and desire. Amongst the younger generation there is a sense of the futility and absurdity of war, however, fear continues to grip us.
“As a member of the last generation to live through a world war, I was touched by the talent and commitment of the filmmakers on show at this event in the way they captured that feeling of imminent danger and urgency. Making films is like making a philosophy. It’s a kind of enduring journalism that can serve as a positive force in our world. Cinema has an eminent role to play in society and that can be seen here thanks to all these diverse individuals coming together as one. It’s what makes this festival so special.”
Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia 2017 takes place at various locations in Tokyo and Yokohama until June 25.