Press Release Jun 05, 2024


  ¼   Press

The Winners Of The 24th Nippon Connection Film Festival

Another record number of visitors and numerous guests from Japan  

Despite the volatile weather, the 24th Nippon Connection Japanese Film Festival once again set an audience record with around 19,000 visitors over six days, confirming its position as the most popular film festival in Hesse. Most of the film and cultural events at the eight locations in Frankfurt am Main were sold out. Over 150 Japanese and international filmmakers and artists were on site and engaged in lively discussions with the audience. 

On Sunday, June 2, the festival ended with the award ceremony. Up-and-coming actress Kotone Furukawa received the Nippon Rising Star Award for her outstanding performance. She became known in Germany for her role in Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s film “Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy”.  

The international jury, comprising Naoko Ogigami (director), Kristina Aschenbrennerova (curator of the International Film Festival Rotterdam), and Daniel Kothenschulte (film critic, film curator and film scholar), awarded two prizes at the festival. The Nippon Visions Jury Award went to director Atsuro Shimoyashiro for his relaxed road trip movie LONESOME VACATION, in which an unconventional private detective is commissioned by his ex-girlfriend Kyoko to find out more about her recently deceased father's former lover. The jury was particularly impressed by the film's unpredictability, its combination of charm and coolness, and the fusion of Japanese and American independent film aesthetics. The prize was donated for the fourteenth time by the Japan Visualmedia Translation Academy (JVTA) in Tokyo and includes free subtitling of the winning director’s next film project. Kenichi Ugana’s grotesquely comical horror film Visitors –Complete Edition– received an honorable mention

The Nippon Storytelling Award for the best screenplay was presented for the first time. The prize money of €1,000 was donated by the communications agency Storymaker and went to director and screenwriter Junichi Inoue for his film Hijacked Youth – Dare To Stop Us 2. This self-deprecating and affectionate story, aimed at those for whom the cinema is a second home, particularly touched the jury of cinéastes and filmmakers. 

The audience had the opportunity to vote on three further awards. The nineteenth Nippon Cinema Award – the oldest prize at the festival, donated by Bankhaus Metzler in Frankfurt am Main and endowed with €4,000– was granted to Nobuhiro Yamashita’s warm-hearted musical comedy Let's Go Karaoke!. The film explores the unlikely friendship between a sentimental yakuza gangster and a pubescent choir singer. 

The winner of the Nippon Docs Award was the documentary The Making Of A Japanese by Ema Ryan Yamazaki. The director followed pupils and teachers at an elementary school in a suburb of Tokyo for a year, providing an authentic insight into the Japanese education system. This year marks the fifth time that the €2,000 prize has been awarded.

The tenth Nippon Visions Audience Award was granted to the film SEPTEMBER 1923 by Tatsuya Mori. The filmmaker chose a true story from the time of the Great Kanto earthquake around 100 years ago as the subject matter for his feature film debut. He had already won the New Currents Award at the Busan International Film Festival 2023. The award is sponsored by the Japanese Culture and Language Center in Frankfurt and is endowed with €2,000.

The dates for the 25th anniversary of the Nippon Connection Film Festival have already been set. From May 27 to June 1, 2025, Frankfurt am Main will once again become the capital of Japanese film.

Selected films from the festival will be screened in the Rhine-Main region over the next few months as part of the “Crossing Borders” theme. The dates will be announced on the festival website: NipponConnection.com

About The Festival

The Japanese Film Festival Nippon Connection is organized by the approximately 100-member, largely voluntary team of the non-profit association Nippon Connection e.V.  It is under the patronage of Hessian State Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and the Arts Timon Gremmels, Mayor of the City of Frankfurt am Main Mike Josef, and the Consulate General of Japan in Frankfurt am Main. Since its founding in 2000, Nippon Connection has become the world’s largest platform for Japanese cinema and the most popular film festival in Hesse with around 19,000 visitors in 2024.

Festival Partners

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