Busan: Ryuichi Sakamoto Named Asian Filmmaker of the Year

Courtesy of Berlin International Film Festival
Ryuichi Sakamoto

The 23rd edition of the South Korean film festival will honor the Japanese composer behind the soundtracks to 'The Last Emperor,' 'Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence' and 'The Revenant.'

Japanese film composer Ryuichi Sakamoto has been named the 2018 Asian Filmmaker of the Year by the Busan International Film Festival, organizers of the South Korean event announced on Wednesday ahead of its opening on Oct. 4.

The creator of scores for more than 40 films, Sakamoto is best known for his music for Bernardo Bertolucci's The Last Emperor (1986), Oshima Nagisa's Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983) and Alejandro G. Inarritu's The Revenant (2015). His Last Emperor score won Sakamoto a Grammy for best soundtrack —the first Asian to be so honored—as well as a Golden Globe. Sakamoto picked up his second Golden Globe for The Sheltering Sky (1990), which was also directed by Bertolucci.

Busan's annual Asian Filmmaker of the Year Award recognizes a notable figure or organization with outstanding achievements in improving and developing the Asian film industry and facilitating cultural development. In a statement, the festival said Sakamoto was "a prominent musician in the history of world cinema (who) contributes his voice to various social issues and causes." The award, the festival said, was in honor of the "sheer amount of time, effort and passion," Sakamoto has brought to his music and life.

After battling throat cancer in 2014, Sakamoto returned to work on film scores for the multiple award-winning film The Revenant, starring Leonardo Dicaprio. His most recent work includes the South Korean period epic The Fortress (2017) by Hwang Dong-hyuk and the upcoming animated feature My Tyrano: Together, Forever.

Sakamoto will feature in the opening ceremony for the 23rd edition of the Busan Film Festival, which kicks off Oct. 4 and runs through Oct. 13.