Naomi Kawase

Film Director and Cannes Grand Prix Prizewinner

Naomi Kawase’s loving but unblinking cinematic gaze turns ordinary lives and mundane moments into mesmerizing dramas. At the 1997 Cannes International Film Festival, she became the youngest director ever to win the Camera d’Or prize for best new director for her debut feature, Suzaku. Ten years later, Naomi’s film Mogari no Mori (The Mourning Forest) was awarded the Grand Prix at Cannes. In 2009, she became the first Japanese director to receive the coveted Cannes Carrosse d’Or. Naomi organized and serves as the executive director of the Nara International Film Festival. Keen on fostering future creators, she invites internationally active young film directors to the September event and runs film production workshops for kids. Naomi also shot, directed, and narrated a series called “Nippon Archives” that shows her gift for pushing the envelope of cinema. Her recent short Wasabi da is set in her beloved hometown, Totsukawa in Nara Prefecture, which was devastated by a typhoon last fall.

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