The Tokyo International Film Festival revealed Monday that China’s Xiaogang Gu and Indonesia’s Mouly Surya will jointly receive the festival’s prestigious world cinema honor, the Kurosawa Akira Award, at the upcoming 36th edition of the event.
The award, which until last year had been on a 14-year hiatus, is presented to “filmmakers who have made waves in cinema and are expected to help guide the industry’s future.” The prize has been previously awarded to film luminaries such as Steven Spielberg, Yoji Yamada and Taiwan’s Hou Hsiao-hsien. Last year’s recipients were Mexican auteur Alejandro González Iñárritu and Japan’s own Koji Fukada.
The 2023 honorees were chosen by a selection committee including director Yoji Yamada, veteran actress Fumi Dan, casting director and producer Yoko Narahashi, film critic Saburo Kawamoto and Tokyo Festival’s programming director Shozo Ichiyama.
Hailing from southern China, Gu’s debut feature, Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains, was shot over two years and premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2019. The film was selected as the closing film of Cannes Critics’ Week and also won the Special Jury Prize at Tokyo Filmex in 2019.
Jakarta-born Surya made her filmmaking debut with Fiksi in 2008. Her followup feature, What They Don’t Talk About When They Talk About Love, was screened in Tokyo in 2013 and was also the first Indonesian film to be selected for the Sundance Film Festival. She cemented her international reputation with her third feature, Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts, which debuted in Cannes in 2017, and became only the fourth Indonesian film ever to make the official selection. The film would also go on to win the Grand Prize at Tokyo Filmex and was selected as Indonesia’s entry for the international feature category at the Academy Awards.
The Kurosawa Akira Award ceremony will be held Oct. 31, at the Imperial Hotel. The 36th Tokyo International Film Festival runs Oct. 23 to Nov. 1.