2001-10-24 | YIDFF 2001 Prize Winners & Jury’s Comments

Prizes for the International Competition

Jurors: Hartmut Bitomsky, Bernard Eisenschitz, Ann Hui, Kuroki Kazuo, Ivars Seleckis

Jury’s comment (Hartmut Bitomsky)
On behalf of the International jury I would like to make a few remarks.
First of all, the jury wants to thank all the film and video makers whose works were part of the competition.
The jury also wants to comment the organizers of the YIDFF for the integration of video—analog or digital—into the various programs as so much important documentary work these days is done in this format.
We were especially pleased to see the video works screened in the state of the art.
While disturbing events are taking place we were able to share films and videos that were made all over the world and brought to Yamagata. We are very grateful for that.
Still, the International Jury wants to communicate that while we were watching and discussing the program in the back of our minds we had all the time worried thoughts.
We are deploring the victims of the recent terrorist attacks.
As a response to these attacks we have seen an increasing racism in many parts of the world, and now we are witnessing the response of warfare that will destroy or damage the lives of many innocent people.
The jury is afraid that racism and warfare are not appropriate answers to the problem of terrorism, and will in fact magnify the problem instead of resolving it.


The Grand Prize (The Robert and Frances Flaherty Prize)
The Land of the Wandering Souls (France) Dir: Rithy Panh
contrasts living conditions out of the 19th century with technology in the era of globalization. The filmmaking process parallels the hardships that the film’s subjects, the workers laying down the cable, were enduring. The director achieves the rare feat of bringing daily life to the screen and that—even rarer—of conveying the physicality of labor. Through these, he makes the tragedies of Cambodian history felt in a concrete way.

Prize of Excellence (The Mayor’s Prize)
In Vanda’s Room (Portugal, Germany, Switzerland) Dir: Pedro Costa
tells of a demolition process: of a neighborhood and of a group of people. It visits the borders of civilization at a time when civilization is collapsing. The director establishes the right distance in watching his outcast characters with affection over a period of a year. With the simplest use of picture and sound, the film unfolds a slight narrative thread registering the passing of time, shot after shot. Any conclusion, whether moralistic or dramatic, would be indecent, and the film doesn’t force one on the viewer.

Runner-up Prize
Mysterious Object at Noon (Thailand) Dir: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
follows the thread of innumerable tales, from the trivial to the legendary, spun across the country of Thailand. In the course of its making and unfolding, what started out as an epic narrative becomes more and more of a documentary. Through their fictional representation, whether original or media-produced, it captures the lives of those who appear in it.

Runner-up Prize
6 Easy Pieces (USA, Italy, Portugal) Dir: Jon Jost
takes us to the border of what film can be. It’s an open project that doesn’t attempt to make any statement, but stresses its materials as a composer would his music, using space, color, time. The filmmaker insists that his “electronic cinema” is a return to an authentic way of seeing. We took his word that his material is documentary, i.e. taken from reality, not dramatic or loaded with meaning. It makes us share in his pleasure at seeing, and captures moments of life that never took a sense before.

Special Prize
A2 (Japan) Dir: Mori Tatsuya
The filmmaker had the courage to get inside a sect, Aum, that committed criminal actions. He was wondering whether there was more to this group than the demonic image imposed by the media. He shows the sect and Japanese society facing each other like twins, like mirror images. The film expresses a sense of the confusion of our post-modern world. It gives a frightening picture of a society under stress, where the germs of totalitarianism can very easily surge in order to restore a lost consensus.


New Asian Currents

Jurors: Sato Makoto, Chalida Uabumrungjit

Ogawa Shinsuke Prize
Soshin: In Your Dreams
A True Story about Love (Australia) Dir: Melissa Kyu-jung Lee
Soshin: In Your Dreams takes a unique and extremely funny approach in dealing with the private theme of family, while subtly presenting the sorrows of life as an immigrant. A True Story about Love provocatively profiles the stereotypes of Asian men through the fictional story of the director’s own love drama. We recognize and highly commend the filmmaker’s artistic talent in creating these two contrasting films, and foresee a promising future lying ahead.

Awards of Excellence
Farewell (Korea) Dir: Hwang Yun
From the viewpoint of animals living in cages, the filmmaker approaches a very ordinary place like the zoo with bias neither to ideas of wilderness conservation nor animal protection. We highly praise the filmmaker’s talent in elevating this new perspective in her film.

More than One Is Unhappy (China) Dir: Wang Fen
Marriage is for a couple to continuously struggle while sinking to the bottom of a pond. —The filmmaker presents this archetype of married life through coolly observing her own parents’ lives. While the production quality is rough, we recognize a bright future for such a dynamic talent.

Special Mentions
Along the Railway (China) Dir: Du Haibin
Sky-blue Hometown (Korea) Dir: Kim So-young


Citizens’ Prize

A2 (Japan) Dir: Mori Tatsuya



Jurors: Leo Bankersen, Isaka Yoshiyuki, Altaf Mazid

For a film in the International Competition
In Vanda’s Room
(Portugal, Germany, Switzerland) Dir: Pedro Costa
For presenting life in its near-original form. The high artistic quality of this unusual documentary restores the human dignity in a life of poverty.

For a film in the New Asian Currents
My Friend Su
(India) Dir: Neeraj Bhasin
For the subtle combination of cinematographic poetry and human understanding. In a very fluent and often humorous way, the film reveals the complicated feelings of a young man who feels that inside he is really female.



Jurors: Ishizaka Kenji, Nam In-young

All films in New Asian Currents and the five films in the International Competition by Asian directors were under consideration for the NETPAC Award.

My Migrant Soul (Bangladesh) Dir: Yasmine Kabir
From an original perspective, the filmmaker takes upon the migrant workers’ issue that is evident in many places around the world. With great respect for an intelligent film, at one glance seemingly made very easily, but with deep empathy for the subject, we award the NETPAC Award to this film.

Special Mentions
Pansy and Ivy (Korea) Dir: Kye Un-kyoung
Focusing on the theme of marriage for disabled people and the societal pressure against them, the filmmaker succeeds in creating an appealing relationship with the subjects and completed a humorous film. We highly commend this feat.

Mysterious Object at Noon (Thailand) Dir: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Taking story-telling, an ancient human activity, as its material, the film nimbly jumps across the conventional dichotomy of fiction vs. documentary, creating a new “hyper-art” that foreshadows the arrival of “Images of the 21st century.”