and Luca Bellino
couldn't believe that was really happening: winning the Special Jury Prize at the Tokyo International Film Festival
, presented by a jury headed by Tommy Lee Jones
. Maybe it was just superstition as Crater
- that world-premiered at this year's Venice Critics' Week - was the only Italian film in the Tokyo competition and enjoyed an enthusiastic response upon the two screenings at the festival. Bellino states: "Our film is very small, shot with a very small crew, that is all here on this stage. This award is very important because it proves that artisan cinema can reach big audiences too." On stage, Luzi adds: "I didn't believe I could win this prize. Our film is named after a constellation, which is extremely bright but that nobody can see. This award makes me very proud and happy for Sharon and Rosario, our leading actors, but most of all for all the people like them, that shine in a difficult environment even though nobody can see them." The directors thanked production partners Rai Cinema, TFilm, Pulse Film, Filtex
, international sales company Alpha Violet
, and the Tokyo Film Festival "for the bravery of including a film like ours in the competition."
The Salerno-born director further comments: "The festival has grown up a lot, also thanks to the continuity given by artistic director Yoshi Yatabe
who has been leading the festival for 15 years now. We thought it was more pop, while we found a very sophisticated selection: arthouse cinema and world premiere carefully chosen, such as Margarethe Von Trotta's latest film or the Berlin Golden Bear winner." Moreover, the audience turnout is impressive. "Thinking of the Italian situation, about how many people go to cinema, it's incredible to see such full houses." The Japanese audience asks for pictures and autographs (as Luzi says, "we spent two hours signing, it never happened to me before"). The success of Crater
won't remain confined to the festival. Two sold-out screenings already prove the enthusiasm of the viewers - who are particularly touched by the topic of the invasion of privacy, which is a hot issue in Japan - and aroused the interest of at least three local distributors. The Special Jury Prize will definitely convince them.
The films has already been sold "in other Asian countries, such as China. If you sell to China, other territories will line up: Taiwan, Singapore, etc. Even if the box office return will be small in those countries, it is still higher than some Italian revenues. They've already changed the title: it'll be Naples, in the Shadow of Light."
The directing couple is currently enjoying the moment and working on their next project. Luzi says: "We are writing, but we are still at an early stage. Before talking about it, we should wait at least next January, when the situation will be clearer, including the budget, which we hope will be higher than this one."
As for the other Italian films at the festival, unfortunately the Taviani brothers couldn't attend the event. Their latest film Rainbow - A Private Affair
was screened in the World Focus section of the festival. Ilaria Gomarasca, Festivals and Markets Manager at international sales company Pyramide, confirms that "the organization told me that the screening went very well. I hope this could help the film arouse the interest of new distributors and festivals." At present, Rainbow
is still looking for a Japanese distributor while "it'll be released in all the South-East Asian countries and in China, but only in VOD." As Luca Bellino adds: "Italian films in Japan are usually released in DVD or through other channels, rarely theatrically." Never giving up hope though, as Ivano De Matteo
knows very well: his The Possible Life
is still in Japanese theatres to great critical acclaim.