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"Tulpan" claims top prize in Tokyo int'l film festival
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2008-10-27 08:29

The 21st Tokyo International film festival (TIFF) wrapped up 9-day run with "Tulpan" claiming the top prize -- the Sakura Grand Prix.

"Tulpan", a shot in southern Kazakhstan, was the first feature film of documentary director Sergey Dvortsevoy. The production team spent a lot of time living with local shepherds to give authenticity of a nomad's life to the film.

The joint German, Swiss, Kazakh, Russian and Polish production stars Askhat Kuchinchirekov, who plays a young man who comes to live with his sister's family with the hope of getting married and becoming a shepherd.

"Tulpan" was among 15 selected from 690 films from 72 countries and territories entered in the main competition section for the Tokyo Sakura Grand Prix, which comes with prize money of 100,000 U.S. dollars.

The Special Jury Prize went to French Polish joint production "4 Nights with Anna," directed by Jerzy Skolimowski, and the award for best actress was given to Felicite Wouassi for her role in "With a Little Help from Myself."

The film of choice among members of the audience was Japan's "School Days with a Pig," based on a true story took place 16 years ago about students in a sixth-grade class and their teacher who are torn over whether to go through with the promise to eat a piglet they have raised.

The Toyota Earth Grand Prix, a new award which recognizes excellence in movies giving due consideration to the themes of nature, the environment and ecology, went to Spanish film "Ashes from the Sky," with the special award going to "The Meerkats" and the jury award to "School Days with a Pig."

This year's event highlights ecological themes, with the conventional red carpet having been replaced by a green one.

Organizers expect some of its ecological features to remain as a messenger to the world for environment protection.

"We are going to use the green carpet in the coming years...we hope to use this as a message to the world," said Tom Yoda, chairman of the TIFF.

The festival's Akira Kurosawa Award, which is to honor distinguished personalities in the film industry, were presented to Nikita Mikhalkov, the award-winning Russian filmmaker and Chen Kaige, a leading figure in Chinese cinema.

Two Chinese entries, Super Typhoon by mainland director Feng Xiaoning and Claustrophobia by Hong Kong director Ivy Ho, went home empty-handed.

The TIFF, established in 1985, aspires to be recognized as one of the four best film festivals in the world - in the same league as Cannes, Venice and Berlin, which now stand at the summit of the more than 2,600 international film celebrations. However, it faces stiff competition from neighbor Busan of Republic of Korea.

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