Tekkonkinkreet Takes Japan Academy Prize

Overlooked by Oscar voters this year, the anime thriller Tekkonkinkreet has been named top animated feature at the Japan Academy Prize ceremony. Despite being written and directed by Americans, the film from Studio 4′C was embraced in birthplace of anime during the 31st annual kudo fest, which took place Friday in Tokyo.

Directed by Animatrix producer Michael Arias from a screenplay by Anthony Weintraub, Tekkonkinkreet is adapted from a popular Japanese manga written by Taiyo Matsumoto. The story centers on two young boys who rule the streets of Treasure Town and are forced to deal with a newcomer who threatens to destroy the only way of life they know. The film had a limited North American theatrical run last summer and was released on home video by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in September. The DVD offers a 40-minute making-of featurette, commentary by Arias and interviews with the director and British band Plaid, which provided the original soundtrack for the movie.

Tekkonkinkreet took the Japan Academy Prize over fellow nominees Evangelion: 1.0 You Are [Not] Alone from Hideaki Anno and studio Khara, Summer Days with Coo from Keiichi Hara and Shinei Animation, The Piano Forest from Masayuki Kojima and Madhouse, and Detective Conan: Jolly Roger in the Deep Azure from Taiichiro Yamamoto and Shogakukan/TMS Ent.

The family drama Tokyo Tower: Mom and Me, and Sometimes Dad from director Joji Matsuoka won best picture, whilke director Clint Eastwood’s Letters From Iwo Jima won the foreign film award. The honors were bestowed by The Nippon Academy-Sho Association, Japan’s equivalent to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the U.S.