Award Recipients: Jury Comments

Prizes for the International Competition   About Prizes

Jury: Adachi Masao, Lav Diaz, Jean-Pierre Limosin, Amir Muhammad, Dorothee Wenner
• The Robert and Frances Flaherty Prize (The Grand Prize)
A World Not Ours
PALESTINE, UAE, UK / 2012 / Arabic, English / Color, B&W / 93 min
Mahdi Fleifel

We live our realities through convenient systems of recording, remembering, and reminiscing. Or rather, we are only able to survive by plastering ourselves with false memories. This work is the story and record of a painstaking attempt to record in order to embrace one’s life and subsistence, love, friendship, family, and longing for survival. The film depicts the sorrows and suffering of the Palestinian people, who are forced to live as refugees under an overwhelming unjust Israeli occupation—a human tragedy and history of genocide, oppression, and poverty at risk of being forgotten. At the same time, this film is a deep and expansive indictment of our forgetful memory.

• The Mayor’s Prize (Prize of Excellence)
The Act of Killing
DENMARK, INDONESIA, NORWAY, UK / 2012 / Indonesian / Color / 159 min
Joshua Oppenheimer

An audacious and controversial exploration of a country’s heart of darkness, this film’s imaginative directing is anchored in an impassioned search for necessary catharsis.

• Award of Excellence
GERMANY / 2012 / German, Romanian / Color / 106 min
Philip Scheffner

This is a documentary which revises a criminal case of the past by unearthing its tremendous importance for the present. At the same time, it also revises the meaning of “truth” in documentary filmmaking by involving us, the audience, as witness.

• Award of Excellence
The Other Day
CHILE / 2012 / Spanish / Color / 122 min
Ignacio Agüero

For the bright and luminous idea on which the story of the film is based—as simple as it is extraordinary, it is something no one had ever thought of before. For the feeling of unconditional hospitality—filmed in a remarkable way, it is something we should provide to any human being.

• Special Prize
Tour of Duty
KOREA / 2013 / Korean / Color / 150 min
Kim Dong-ryung, Park Kyoung-tae

There’s a strangeness in the stark images of this work, an acute sense of mystery, melancholic and poetic. But at the same time, the political perspective is succinct and strong, which makes the film truly relevant.


New Asian Currents Awards   About Prizes

Jury: Philip Cheah, Takashi Toshiko
• Ogawa Shinsuke Prize
Mrs. Bua’s Carpet
VIETNAM / 2011 / Vietnamese / Color / 35 min
Duong Mong Thu

For its graceful brevity in expressing the memory of pain and history with simple, poignant moments.

• Award of Excellence
Raging Land 3: Three Valleys
HONG KONG / 2011 / Cantonese / Color / 310 min
Chan Yin Kai, Choi Yuen Villagers

For showing a people’s love for their land and the intense fear of homelessness when powerful states insist that citizen rights and progress are incompatible.

• Award of Excellence
AFGHANISTAN / 2012 / Dari / B&W / 60 min
Malek Shafi’i, Diana Saqeb

For its daring gaze on patriarchy and religious conservatism in subduing women’s rights in Afghanistan.

• Special Mention
War Is a Tender Thing
THE PHILIPPINES / 2013 / Filipino, English / Color / 51 min
Adjani Arumpac

For its interesting juxtaposition of Islam and Christianity both within a family and the nation and why peace exists in the former but not in the latter.


Citizens’ Prizes   About Prizes

The Punk Syndrome
FINLAND, NORWAY, SWEDEN / 2012 / Finnish / Color / 85 min
Jukka Kärkkäinen, J-P Passi

The Targeted Village
JAPAN / 2013 / Japanese, English / Color, B&W / 91 min
Mikami Chie


Community Cinema Award   About Prizes

We Want (U) to Know
CAMBODIA / 2011 / Khmer, English / Color / 54 min
Ella Pugliese, Nou Va, The people of Thnol Lok

This year at Yamagata, we have had many opportunities to experience films that contain journeys into history and memory. This film depicts such a journey.
In this documentary, we saw people find solace through retelling and sometimes acting out their personal experiences and memories. We felt in this film the power to save people from being forgotten, to pass on their memories, histories, and ways of life to the next generation, and open new possibilities for shared understanding.
Faces light up when stories are shared and listened to. For showing us such faces, which are themselves the light of cinema, we give this year’s Community Cinema Award to Ella Pugliese, Nou Va, and the People of Thnol Lok Village for We Want (U) to Know.


Directors Guild of Japan Award   About Prizes

Jury: Hara Kazuo (President), Suzuki Junichi, Yamamoto Tatsuya, Sekiguchi Yuka, Irie Yu
The Targeted Village
JAPAN / 2013 / Japanese, English / Color, B&W / 91 min
Mikami Chie

Okinawa impresses one as the most real and dynamic region of today’s Japan. The Targeted Village has some of the shortcomings that are typical of television productions, such as the way narration and music are used and how people are depicted, but even with these flaws, it remains a vivid, powerful work—the filmmaker shares a deep identification with her subject, and intensely portrays the heart-rending cries and struggles of Okinawans crushed by the overwhelming force of the American and Japanese states. Recently, there has been a trend for television producers to make films for theatrical release. This film is one of them. But where some of these producers and their films rest on the “authority” of the television network, we commend this film both for the teamwork that was made possible by the privileged enterprise of a TV station and for the spirit of the independent filmmaker that was created (despite the apparent contradiction) inside that TV station. (Hara Kazuo)

• Special Mention
Tondo, Beloved: To What Are the Poor Born?
THE PHILIPPINES / 2012 / Filipino / Color / 76 min
Jewel Maranan

While portraying a poor family in the Philippines, the film completely avoids exploiting that poverty. Through restrained camerawork and the reticent voice of the director, one feels an agreeable sense of quality despite the poverty of the household. One page in the life of a family is simply portrayed at a steady pace. There is something wonderful about this, while one is also left wishing that director had been clearer in stating her intentions. This is both a strength and a weakness in the film. (Suzuki Junichi)


Sky Perfect IDEHA Prizes   About Prizes

Jury: Paolo Bertolin, Yang Yonghi
Sound Hunting
JAPAN / 2013 / Japanese / Color / 8mm / 36 min
Murakami Kenji

To a film that joyfully and playfully rediscovers film and cinema. An exhilarating documentary where the filmmaker re-lives the excitement and uncertainties of the pioneers of cinema, as they discovered a new way to portray and record the reality surrounding them. A truly refreshing work that, in the days of pervasive digitalization of the present and past of cinema, rightfully asks the practical and metaphorical question, “Does film have an expiration date?” (Paolo Bertolin)

JAPAN / 2013 / Japanese / Color / 120 min
Sakai Ko, Hamaguchi Ryusuke

Told in a heartwarming dialect that seeps throughout the body, the folktales embraced me and inspired me to think about the richness of the Tohoku region, its pain, the losses and hopes of our era, and even my own family. I thank this work for guiding me on a spiritual trip that I will never forget. (Yang Yonghi)