Under the COVID-19 situation, the Jeonju International Film Festival was held smoothly with rigorous preventive measures and hybrid screenings both in the theatre and on the online platform. The NETPAC Award jury, comprising Nam Dongchul, Pip Chodorov and Byun Sungchan was able to see and evaluate the films in the theatres.
The ten films in the final list for the NETPAC Award this year were: The Silent Forest (Ko Chen-nien, Taiwan), Radiograph of a Family (Firouzeh Khosrovani, Iran), Under the Open Sky (Nishikawa Miwa, Japan), Conference (Ivan I. Tverdovsky, Russia), Here We Are (Nir Bergan, Israel), Fan Girl (Antoinette Jadaone, Philippines), Jazz Kissa Basie (Hoshino Tetsuya, Japan), The Translator (Rana Kazkaz, Anas Khalaf, Syria), Come Here (Anocha Suwichakornpong, Thailand) and Brother’s Keeper (Ferit Karahan, Turkey).
The listed films were all masterworks, each with its own specific identity. Most of the fiction films dealt with issues faced by various minorities in their time, and raised crucial questions through the final twists in the story, while the documentary films tended to deal with history and past memories in different ways.
Selecting one among the ten films was not simple. The jury members reduced the numbers on the list by sharing opinions about the advantages and disadvantages of each film. Films that made it to penultimate list were Radiograph of a Family, Conference and Jazz Kissa Basie. And while all of them were equally good, Jazz Kissa Basie - the first film by director HOSHINO Tetsuya - was selected as the prize-winner, considering the aim of the NETPAC Award is to discover ‘New Talent’.
Tracing its fifty year-old history right up the present times, the film Jazz Kissa Basie (an autoethnographic work about a small jazz café located in Ichinoseki, in Japan’s North East County), is about a unique cultural phenomenon called Jazz Kissa (Jazz Café) that can be found only in Japan.
The film introduces us to the meaning of a unique cultural space achieved through rigorous prior investigation and understanding. Its biggest virtue, however, is to let the audience share the distinctive emotion the people in the café might experience through exquisite montages and composition. Jazz Kissa Basie is the result of diligent research and assiduous effort, and all this is no less than the artisan spirit of the subject itself.
-- BYUN Sungchan (Korea) – Chairperson, NETPAC Jury
-- Edited by Latika Padgaonkar