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“I must buy a new bag for the trophies.” Tokyo Sakura Grand Prix Press Conference by the Director of Eastern Plays
Director Kamen Kalev (left) and Producer Stefan Piryov

The winner of the 22nd Tokyo International Film Festival’s Sakura Grand Prix went to Director Kamen Kalev’s Bulgarian film, Eastern Plays. The film won three trophies including the Best Director Award and Best Actor Award which was given to Christo Christov. It achieved the spectacular feat of winning the three awards since the Yuki ni negau koto (aka. What the Snow Brings).directed by Kichitaro Negishi., the award-winner of the 18th TIFF. .

Director Kamen Kalev who arrived at the venue which was filled with the joy of receiving an award said, ”It’s heavy.. I was just saying that. I needed to buy a new bag to bring it back home,” he was showing his smile with a trophy in his hand. Producer Stefan Piryov followed him into the venue and they both appeared at the press conference.

The film focuses on the relationship of an artist painter who is dependent on the alcohol and his younger brother. The drama closes in on the nature of humanity by giving an insight on the place to set the soul of an individual. There were questions concerning the conflict and discrimination between Bulgaria and Turkey, which are the issues this film captures to depict the real-life Bulgarian society. Director Karmen Kalev says, “Regretfully, it is the truth that there are discriminations and prejudices in Bulgaria. But the feeling that I have is, why keep continuing to hold the prejudice. I believe we should open ourselves and step forward. Maybe there’s a political intention to encourage the prejudices. But I would like to believe from my heart and want the people not to be mislead by the strangers and stop the prejudice.” .

It is Christo Christov. who won the Best Actor Award and gave a significant influence on the Director Kalev and gave a motive for producing the film, Eastern Plays. The director mentioned about his award-receiving and the unfortunate sudden death, just prior to the completion of the film. “I was very shocked that he won the award,” he unburdened his sentiments. The reason was, “I thought that the awards were given as an encouragement for the efforts that a person is working on. But I am getting a strong impression that, maybe the award was to share the memory of the departed or the award was to make a retrospect his life,” he replied.

“When the shooting was completed, I began editing with the small notebook-size computer, but the budget ran out. I found a co-producer in Sweden later on and completed the film, but I felt most lonely during this time,“ said Director Kamen Kalev who reflected upon his efforts during the production. “When I was contemplating on how to show my film to the worldwide audience; I visualized entering my film into the three film festivals, Cannes International Film Festival, Sarajevo Film Festival and Tokyo International Film Festival. I truly believe that the reason why I received the Tokyo Sakura Grand Prix is because I depicted the truth in my film. I faithfully depicted what Christov experienced and his attitude towards life. But I think that the issues on the family, discrimination and drug dependence…I believe that these are the common things that we are sharing,” said Director Kamen Kalev who self-analyzed the reason for the awards. ”I will start shooting the next film about a young man’s self-discovery using new methods of film making starting on the May of 2010,” says Director Kamen Kalev.

This is another birth of the new talent who made his giant leap to the world from the Tokyo International Film Festival.

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KEIRIN.JPThe 22nd Tokyo International Film Festival will be held with funds provided by JKA.
21st Tokyo International Film Festival(2008)