Friday, October 23, 2009

"Asyl: Park and Love Hotel" director Izuru Kumasaka takes home top prize at TPG 2009

by Chris MaGee

It was only two years ago that Izuru Kumasaka burst onto the international film scene with his feature directorial debut "Asyl: Park and Love Hotel". That film chronicled how the lives of three women intersected at a very unique love hotel, one with a park built on its roof. "Asyl" ended up earning Kumasaka the Best First Feature Film award at the 2008 Berlin International Film Festival, and now Kumasaka is the recipient of another award, one that will go a long way in bringing his next film to theatres.

As part of this year's Tokyo International Film Festival the Roppongi Academyhills hosted the 5th annual Tokyo Project Gathering. The event, as explained on its official website, "creates opportunities for filmmakers and film professionals by providing them with an opportunity to present their projects in any stage: from development to just-before finalizing and help them find and raise funds from overseas." Each year the TPG awards one project with its top prize and this year that lucky filmmaker was Kumasaka for his sophomore feature film "Secrets on the Table".

Described only as "a heartwarming human drama" Kumasaka's film beat out 25 other competitors including "Tokyo Sonata" screenwriter Max Mannix's upcoming film "Family Matters", "Undfeated", a documentary by "Yokohama Mary" director Takayuki Nakamura, a new Hirokazu Kore-eda film (?!) "The Ship is Yet to Come", a Japanese/ Brazilian co-production about Japanese immigrants in the South American country and the tradition of benshi, or silent film narrators. We'll definitely be looking for more details on that one.

Thanks to Jason Gray for this story.

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