by Chris MaGee
I don't really hide the fact that Akira Ogata is one of my favorite directors working today. His films "Boy's Choir" and "The Milkwoman" are criminally under-appreciated contemporary classics, so it was with great pleasure that I saw the 50-year-old filmmaker (above left) getting his due when the 31st annual Yokohama Film Festival announced its winners this past week. Of course Miwa Nishikawa's "Dear Doctor" ended up taking home Best Picture, Best Screenplay, and Best Cinematography, but I was very happy to sdee Ogata picking up best director for his adaptation of Kiwa Irie's manga "Nonchan Noriben" and 31-year-old Manami Konishi (above center) winning Best Actress for her lead role as the film's single mother.
Not only was Ogata honoured in these individual honours (the trophies are due to be handed out in a ceremony on February 7th), but "Nonchan Noriben" was also named by the Yokohama Film Festival as number four on its top ten films list of 2009.
Check out all the winners of the 31st annual Yokohama Film Festival below courtesy of the folks at Tokyograph.
Best Picture: "Dear Doctor"
Best Director: Akira Ogata ("Nonchan Noriben")
Best New Director: Sumio Omori ("Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru"), Takuji Suzuki ("Watashi wa Neko Stalker")
Best Screenplay: Miwa Nishikawa ("Dear Doctor")
Best Cinematography: Katsumi Yanagijima ("Dear Doctor")
Best Actor: Masato Sakai ("Kuhio Taisa," "Nankyoku Ryourinin")
Best Actress: Manami Konishi ("Nonchan Noriben")
Best Supporting Actor: Yoshinori Okada, Yutaka Matsushige
Best Supporting Actress: Sakura Ando
Best Newcomer: Hikari Mitsushima, Masaki Okada, Marie Machida
Judges' Prize: Staff and cast of "Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru"
Special Prize: Kaoru Yachigusa
Yokohama Film Festival's Top Ten Films of 2009
1. "Dear Doctor" (Miwa Nishikawa)
2. "Villon's Wife" (Kichitaro Negishi)
3. "Love Exposure" (Sion Sono)
4. "Nonchan Noriben" (Akira Ogata)
5. "Air Doll" (Hirokazu Koreeda)
6. "Feel the Wind" (Sumio Omori)
7. "The Sun That Doesn't Set" (Setsuro Wakamatsu)
8. "Summer Wars" (Mamoru Hosoda)
9. "Mt. Tsurugidake" (Daisaku Kimura)
10. "Osaka Hamlet" (Fujiro Mitsuishi)