FESTIVALS: Thailand’s Happy Old Year wins Grand Prix at OAFF

Happy Old Year, directed by Thailand’s Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, won the Grand Prix best picture award at this year’s Osaka Asian Film Festival (OAFF, March 6-15).

The film, which also played at the Rotterdam film festival in January, tells the story of a woman who decides to declutter her life, Marie Kondo-style, but ends up examining her memories and many other issues. 

Korean director Park Sun-joo picked up the Most Promising Talent Award for Way Back Home, while best actor went to Japan’s Hidemasa Mase for his role in Kontora

The ABC TV Award, presented by Japanese broadcaster Asahi Television, went to Write About Love, directed by the Philippines’ Crisanto Aquino. The award comes with a cash prize worth Y1m ($9,300) in return for TV broadcast rights. 

Taiwanese actor Leon Dai received the Yakushi Pearl Award for his supporting role in Your Name Engraved Herein. Misawa Takuya’s The Murders Of Oiso picked up the Japan Cuts Award, presented by the Japan Cuts: Festival of New Japanese Film, held annually at the Japan Society in New York City. 

The Audience Award went to Derek Tsang’s Better Days, while Hammock by Japan’s Kishi Kentaro picked up the Housen Short Film Award. 

OAFF has been one of the few festivals to go head during the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak, but made several adjustments in response to the crisis. In his opening speech, Kamikura Tsuneyuki, chairperson of the Osaka Executive Committee for the Promotion of Moving Image Culture, said: “Films are made to convey to contemporary society what people are thinking now, and we have strived to introduce these films to as wide an audience as possible. OAFF, however, has not been able to realise a number of our planned projects this year. 

“To fight against an invisible enemy, and to minimise the possibility of tragedy, we decided to cancel all filmmaker-in-person events so as to reduce the chance of possible coronavirus infection. Upon asking filmmakers’ understanding, we have decided to focus on our fundamental purpose: screening films which show the many other things which are happening around us.”

OAFF opened on March 6 with a screening of Tom Shu-yu Lin’s The Garden Of Evening Mists, while omnibus film Kamata Prelude, directed by four Japanese filmmakers, closed the festival on March 15.