'Tulpan' takes two from Tokyo festival

TIFFCOM market closes after four successful days

TOKYO -- After a well-received nine-day run, the 21st Tokyo International Film Festival wrapped Sunday, with Sergey Dvortsevoy’s "Tulpan" taking two awards.

The film, set in the director's native Kazakhstan, took the $100,000 Tokyo Sakura Grand Prix, presented by jury topper Jon Voight, along with the best director award. The Special Jury Prize, along with $20,000, went to "4 Nights With Anna" by Jerzy Skolimowski.

Vincent Cassel took the award for best actor for his portrayal of French gangster Jacques Mesrine in "Public Enemy No. 1 (Parts 1 & 2)." The best actress gong went to France's Felicite Wouassi, winning for "With a Little Help From Myself."

"School Days with a Pig," by local director Tetsu Maeda, also did a double with the audience award and the Toyota Earth Grand Prix Jury Award, part of a new category representing the festival's eco theme.

Other winners in the new Earth category were "Ashes From the Sky" by Jose Antonio Quiros and a special award to James Honeyborne's "The Meerkats."

The previously announced Akira Kurosawa Awards were presented to directors Nikita Mikhalkov and Chen Kaige.

The TIFFCOM market closed its doors Friday after what were widely lauded to be the best three days in its short four-year history. Total attendance was up 16.5% on last year, and there was much talk amongst exhibitors and buyers of focus within Asia shifting from Pusan and other events to Tokyo.

The central Tokyo location, smooth organization of events and seminars, as well as almost all events scheduled in one building, appears to have particularly impressed many first-time visitors.

"We invited about 400 buyers this year, but they were carefully prioritized and selected, and we did it all on the same budget as last year," said TIFFCOM's Mika Morishita, who explained the plan was to do the same for next year's fest.