'Kuma' Wins Grand Prize at Japan's Skip City Int'l D-Cinema Fest

The festival began life as an outlet for digital cinema but has shifted to an emphasis on arthouse fare as the format has become the industry standard.

TOKYO – Kuma, a tale of Turkish immigrants in Vienna by Kurdish-Austrian director Umut Dağ, won the Grand Prize of 1.5 million yen ($19,000) at the 9th Skip City International D-Cinema Festival in Kawaguchi, north of Tokyo, on Sunday.


"This film is rather complicated and hard to understand for people who have different cultural backgrounds, and it is true that fretted me...I am very happy that I was given the opportunity to show this film to a Japanese audience,” said Kuma director Dağ.

The best director award and 500,000 yen ($6,300) went to Japan’s Ryota Nakano for Capturing Dad (Chi-chi o Tori ni), which also took the Skip City Award, allowing the director to use the post-production facilities at the Sai-no-kuni Visual Plaza venue where the festival is based, for his next project.  

Meanwhile, the best screenplay and 500,000 yen was won by Bon Voyage, directed by Holland’s Margien Rogaar. The special jury prize, and another 500,000 yen, was given to Nono by Rommel Tolentino of the Philippines.

The Kawaguchi Citizens’ best short award, along with 500,000 yen, went to by Hiroaki Kakukawa for Dream Notebook. Honorable mentions and 300,000 yen went to two shorts: Kotaro Wajima’s With Little Yuri Episode1 Sunset 30 min and Shohei Tada’s Trubow.


“Through the activities of Skip City, which is the hub facility of this film festival and film-related industries, I hope a lot of creators will spread their wings around the world. I thank everyone who loves films and supports this film festival,” said Kiyoshi Ueda, chair of the festival committee. 

The festival ran from July 14 to 22, and total attendances were up by more than third from last year, to 30,000.