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Grand Prix Winners at the Tokyo International Film Festival
[2018.11.16]

Films directed by Alejandro González Inárritu, Lukas Moodysson, and Alejandro Amenábar are among the winners of the Tokyo International Film Festival Grand Prix over the years.

Harrison Ford in Japan at a special screening of the film Witness. (©1985 TIFF)

The Tokyo International Film Festival was launched in 1985. Japan’s first major film festival is also its only one officially recognized by the International Federation of Film Producers Associations. As such, TIFF has collaborated with similar events in Pusan, Hong Kong, and Shanghai since 2014 to establish a framework to promote movies in Asia.

Famous movie critic Yodogawa Nagaharu (third from left) in front of a TIFF monument in Shibuya. (©1985 TIFF)

In the first festival, 519 entries were submitted to the competition from 40 countries and regions. By the time of the thirty-first annual competition in 2018, there were 1,829 entries from 109 countries and regions, as TIFF has grown to become Asia’s largest international film festival. Initially, winners of the Grand Prix award came primarily from Asia, but over the history of the festival most have come from Europe with a total of 19. Asia has won 11 awards, the Americas 5, and the Middle East 3. Countries with the most winning entries are China and France with four entries each, and Israel with three awards. Figures are based on counting all countries in international coproductions.

The first TIFF was hosted in Shibuya, known for its 16 movie theaters. Kurosawa Akira’s film Ran was the opening movie, film critic Yodogawa Nagaharu performed the opening ceremony, and 140 works were screened. Parades and an outdoor stage with daily events ensured a strong local presence.

Originally, TIFF was held every two years, but it became an annual event from the fourth festival in 1991 onwards. From 2003, the competition expanded to Roppongi, Shinjuku, and other areas of Tokyo.

Charlie Chaplin on the side of Shibuya 109 Building advertises the first Tokyo International Film Festival in June 1985. © Jiji

Year Grand Prix winners Country/region
1985 Taifū kurabu (Typhoon Club) Director: Sōmai Shinji Japan
1987 Lao jing (Old Well) Director: Wu Tian-ming China
1989 That Summer of White Roses   Director: Rajko Grlic Yugoslavia
1991 City of Hope   Director: John Sayles United States
1992 Hayan jeonjaeng (White Badge) Director: Chung Ji-young South Korea
1993 Lan fengzheng (The Blue Kite) Director: Tian Zhuangzhuang China
1994 Tian guo ni zi (The Day the Sun Turned Cold) Director: Yim Ho China/Hong Kong
1995  No Winner None
1996 Kolya   Director: Jan Svérák Czech Republic
1997 Jenseits der Stille (Beyond Silence) Director: Caroline Link Germany
1997 Savršeni krug (The Perfect Circle) Director: Ademir Kenović Bosnia-Herzegovina
1998 Abre los ojos (Open Your Eyes) Director: Alejandro Amenábar Spain
1999 Hei an zhi guang (Darkness and Light) Director: Chang Tso-chi Taiwan
2000 Amores perros (Love’s a Bitch) Director: Alejandro González Inárritu Mexico
2001 Parullat (Slogans) Director: Gjergj Xhuvani Albania
2002 Knafayim Shvurot (Broken Wings) Director: Nir Bergman Israel
2003 Nuan   Director: Huo Jianqi China
2004 Whisky Director: Juan Pablo Rebella & Pablo Stoll Uruguay
2005 Yuki ni negau koto (What the Snow Brings) Director: Negishi Kichitarō Japan
2006 OSS 117: Le Caire, nid d’espions (OSS 117: Cairo Nest of Spies) Director: Michel Hazanavicius France
2007 Bikur Ha-Tizmoret (The Band’s Visit) Director: Eran Kolirin Israel
2008 Tulpan Director: Sergey Dvortsevoy Poland, Russia, Kazakhstan, Switzerland, Germany
2009 Iztochni piesi (Eastern Plays) Director: Kamen Kalev Bulgaria
2010 Hadikduk Hapnimi (Intimate Grammar) Director: Nir Bergman Israel
2011 Intouchables (The Intouchables) Director: Eric Toledano & Olivier Nakache France
2012 Le fils de l’Autre (The Other Son)   Director: Lorraine Lévy France
2013 Vi är bäst! (We Are the Best!)   Director: Lukas Moodysson Sweden
2014 Heaven Knows What   Director: Joshua Safdie& Benny Safdie United States, France
2015 Nise:  O Coração da Loucura (Nise: The Heart of Madness) Director: Roberto Berliner Brazil
2016 Die Blumen von Gestern (The Bloom of Yesterday) Director: Chris Kraus Germany, Austria
2017 Buğday (Grain) Director: Semih Kaplanoğlu Turkey
2018 Amanda Director: Mikhaël Hers France

Leonardo DiCaprio (left), attending the 10th TIFF for the premier of Titanic. (©1997 TIFF)

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo: A movie theater screening Ran by director Kurosawa Akira during the first Tokyo International Film Festival in Shibuya, Tokyo, in June 1985. © Jiji.)

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