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The Tokyo International Film Festival revealed Friday that Mexican auteur Alejandro González Iñárritu and Japan’s own Koji Fukada will both receive the Kurosawa Akira Award at the event’s upcoming 35th edition later this month. The Tokyo festival decided to revive the honor in 2022 after a 14-year hiatus. Presented to filmmakers “who are making extraordinary contributions to world cinema and are expected to help define the film industry’s future,” the prize was previously awarded to film luminaries such as Steven Spielberg, Yoji Yamada and Taiwan’s Hou Hsiao-hsien.
This year’s honorees were chosen by a selection committee including director Yoji Yamada, acclaimed actor Tatsuya Nakadai, veteran actress Mieko Harada, film critic Saburo Kawamoto and Tokyo’s programming director Shozo Ichiyama.
The committee said it chose to award this year’s prize to Iñárritu, “as his debut film Amores Perros drew the world’s attention to Mexican cinema, and while he has since won many awards, he has continued to vigorously challenge himself to try something new with each film, an approach that is worthy of recognition.”
Iñárritu’s latest film, Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths, premiered in competition at this year’s Venice Film Festival, and will be screened in Tokyo’s gala selection. His directorial debut, Amores Perros, won the Tokyo International Film Festival’s Grand Prix in 2000, and he served as the president of the 22nd Tokyo festival’s jury in 2009.
The committee praised the excellence of Fukada’s films, saying he was “a young Japanese director with a promising future.” It added: “considering his energetic contributions to the industry beyond filmmaking, which have been also highly acclaimed, Fukada will be honored with the Kurosawa Akira Award.”
Fukada’s feature Harmonium premiered in the 69th Cannes Film Festival’s Un Certain Regard section in 2016, where it won the Jury Prize. His subsequent works have regularly premiered at the world’s leading festivals, making him one of the more highly regarded young Japanese auteurs on the international scene. Fukada has also been involved in activities that go beyond his work behind the camera, such as launching the “Mini Theater Aid Initiative” with fellow directors including Oscar-winner Ryusuke Hamaguchi, which aimed to prevent the collapse of Japan’s art house theaters after they fell into financial crisis during the pandemic. Fukada’s latest film, Love Life, premiered to critical acclaim in competition at this year’s Venice Film Festival.
The Kurosawa Akira Award ceremony will be held Saturday, Oct. 29, at the Imperial Hotel. The 35th Tokyo International Film Festival runs Oct. 24 to Nov. 2.
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