“And the award goes to … !” – The Award Winners of the 21st Nippon Connection Film Festival

This year’s Nippon Connection must have stood under a lucky star. The pandemic forced us to organize a second online-only film festival. But despite the uncertainties we could realize a great festival, blessed with an array of marvelous films, strong partners and supporters, and a wonderful audience! And thanks to the online edition, the audience across Germany and many other countries could enjoy our festival films via video-on-demand.


On the last day of the festival, Sunday June 6, 2021, our award ceremony took place at our festival headquarters at Künstlerhaus Mousonturm and was broadcast worldwide via livestream.

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(Nippon Connection 2021 – Behind the scenes of the award ceremony)

During the festival, from June 1 to 5, 2021, the audience voted online for three audience awards. With so many amazing films, the decision was as hard as ever for everyone. The jury chose from the fourteen eligible films of the Nippon Visions section. And the winners are:


Nippon Cinema Award: his by Rikiya IMAIZUMI 

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(Nippon Connection 2021 – Nippon Cinema: his – Rikiya IMAIZUMI)

The sixteenth Nippon Cinema Award, sponsored by Bankhaus Metzler in Frankfurt and endowed with a prize money of 2,000 euros, went to the queer film his. Director Rikiya IMAIZUMI offers insights to Japan’s divorce system, and pushes boundaries by offering us a hopeful story about the revision of traditional gender roles and the meaning of family. The film was part of this year’s thematic focus Family Matters – The Japanese Family Between Tradition And Modernity, supported by Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain.

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(Nippon Connection 2021 – Nippon Cinema: Live Zoom with Nippon Cinema Award Winner Rikiya IMAIZUMI)

his
Japan 2020, 127 min
Check out the trailer here!


Nippon Visions Jury Award: Along The Sea by Akio FUJIMOTO

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(Nippon Connection 2021 – Nippon Visions: ALONG THE SEA – Akio FUJIMOTO)

The Nippon Visions Jury Award went to Along The Sea by Akio FUJIMOTO. The drama explores the experiences of three young female technical trainees who are exploited after coming to Japan from Vietnam. The international jury, consisting of Ellen Harrington (director of DFF – Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum), Thomas Ash (filmmaker) and Toshiyuki Hasegawa (curator of SKIP CITY INTERNATIONAL D-Cinema FESTIVAL) praised the compassionate and sensitive way of the film, working with non-professional actors and painting a beautiful cinematic landscape.

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(Nippon Connection 2021 – Nippon Visions: Live Zoom with Nippon Visions Jury Award Winner Akio FUJIMOTO, director, and Kazutaka WATANABE, producer)

ALONG THE SEA
Japan 2020, 88 min
Check out the trailer here!


Nippon Visions Audience Award: Beyond The Infinite Two Minutes by Junta YAMAGUCHI

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(Nippon Connection 2021 – Nippon Visions: BEYOND THE INFINITE TWO MINUTES – Junta YAMAGUCHI)

The fast-paced time travel comedy Beyond The Infinite Two Minutes by Junta YAMAGUCHI received the seventh Nippon Visions Audience Award. The film was shot in many impressive long-takes in a café in Kyoto by the theater troupe Europe Kikaku. The award, donated by the Japanisches Kultur- und Sprachzentrum in Frankfurt, is endowed with a prize money of 1,000 euros.

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(Nippon Connection 2021 – Nippon Visions: Live Zoom with Nippon Visions Audience Award winner Junta YAMAGUCHI)

BEYOND THE INFINITE TWO MINUTES
Japan 2020, 70 min
Check out the trailer here!


Nippon Docs Award: Ushiku by Thomas Ash

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(Nippon Connection 2021 – Nippon Docs: USHIKU – Thomas Ash)

Per audience vote, the Nippon Docs Award went to the documentary Ushiku by Thomas Ash, dealing with a current, highly controversial political issue. The film accuses human rights violations in the eponymous immigration center near Tokyo, as well as Japan’s current immigration policies. The award, endowed with a prize money of 1,000 euros, was given out for the second time this year.

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(Nippon Connection 2021 – Nippon Docs: Live Zoom with Nippon Docs Award winner Thomas Ash)

USHIKU
Japan 2020, 87 min
Check out the trailer here!

Congratulations to all the winners! 

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