Film set in Okinawa wins two awards at Montreal World Film Festival

Film set in Okinawa wins two awards at Montreal World Film Festival

Takako Miyahira


September 9, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo

On September 3, in Montreal, Canada, the Japanese-Canadian movie Karakara, which was produced by Okinawan filmmaker, Takako Miyahira, won the Public Award for the most popular Canadian feature film and the Openness to the World Award at the 36th Montreal World Film Festival. Claude Gagnon directed the movie, which was filmed entirely in Okinawa.

The movie the most appreciated by the audience receives the Public Award for the most popular Canadian feature film and the Openness to the World Award is given to the movie that disseminates a diversity of cultures to the world. This is the first time that a movie featuring Okinawa has won the award in the festival since The Crying Wind won the Innovation Award in 2004 and it is also the first time that a movie dealing with Okinawa won more than one award at the festival.

According to the Bitters End, the company that distributed the film, the festival highly appreciated the movie, and stated that it skillfully depicted the process in which the characters transcend individual and cultural boundaries to understand each other.

Miyahira commented, “As the charm of Okinawa fascinated Canadian audiences through the movie, I think that the culture of Okinawa can replenish people all around the world.” The film depicts retired professor Pierre, who is in his 60s, and at a crossroads in his life, making a trip to Okinawa, where he meets Junko, a housewife. The two characters reflect on their lives. Gabriel Arcand played Pierre and Youki Kudoh played Junko.

The movie was shot in Naha and Izena. It included a scene of weaving bashofu, which is made from the fibers of a type of banana tree, in Ogimi. This is the first time that Japan and Canada have officially collaborated to produce a movie. Okinawan companies supported the production by investing in the project. The movie is scheduled to be screened at theaters nationwide in January, 2013. While another Japanese film, starring Ken Takakura, Anatae (Dearest), was given special mention by the jury, the Grand Prix des Americas went to Turkish movie Where the Fire Burns.

Terminology: The Montreal World Film Festival

The festival was founded in 1977, and is one of the largest film festivals in North America accredited by the International Federation of Film Producers Association. It annually screens more than 350 movies and attracts 250000 visitors. The Japanese movie Okuribito (Departures) has won the top prize at the festival.

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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