Last week’s winners from TIFF’s competition sections are a testament to the festival’s international breadth.

The 26th Tokyo International Film Festival ended last week with a lavish closing ceremony and the announcement of the winners of the festival’s competition sections. Taking the grand prize, the Tokyo Sakura Grand Prix, was Swedish director Lukas Moodysson’s We Are the Best, a coming-of-age story following three thirteen-year-old girls as they start a punk band. The Special Juror Prize went to Iranian entry Bending the Rules, which tells about a theatre group that runs into trouble when the lead actress’s father refuses to let his daughter travel abroad: the film represents a new wave of Iranian cinema. Director Behnam Behzadi was present with actress Neda Jebraeeli to accept the award. Benedict Erlingsson, a renowned theatre director in his native Iceland, picked up Best Director for his feature film debut Of Horses and Men. Best Actor went to Wang Jingchun for his role as an overly dedicated policeman in To Live and Die in Ordos and Best Actress was taken by Eugene Domingo, a popular Filipino comedy actress who recently turned to drama for her turn in Barber’s Tales. The public chose Red Family as the recipient of the Audience Award. The film follows a pretend family of North Korean spies living in South Korea who begin to lose faith in their ideology. The combination of comedy and melodrama with serious subject matter proved popular with moviegoers. Check out the full list of winners below.


Tokyo Sakura Grand Prix: We Are the Best! (directed by Lukas Moodysson)
Special Jury Prize: Bending the Rules (directed by Behnam Behzadi)
Award for Best Director: Benedikt Erlingsson (Of Horses and Men)
Award for Best Actress Eugene Domingo (Barber’s Tales)
Award for Best Actor Wang Jingchun (To Live and Die in Ordos)
Award for Best Artistic Contribution: The Empty Hours (directed by Aarón Fernández)
The Audience Award: Red Family (directed by Lee Ju-hyoung)

Japanese Cinema Splash
Best Picture Award: Forma (directed by Ayumi Sakamoto)

Asian Future
Best Asian Future Film Award: Today and Tomorrow (directed by Yang Huilong)
Asian Future, Special Mention: The Tales of Iya (directed by Tsuta Tetsuichiro)

By Christopher O’Keeffe