Japanese film director Kore-eda Hirokazu (awarded Honorary Golden Rikshaw, Vesoul 2012, and Palme d'Or, Festival de Cannes 2018) and Martine Thérouanne
Martine Thérouanne with Japanese film director Kore-eda Hirokazu (awarded Honorary Golden Rikshaw, Vesoul 2012, and Palme d'Or, Festival de Cannes 2018)

On 3 November 2019, His Majesty the Emperor of Japan conferred the Order of the Rising Sun, Rayons d’Or with Rosette, to Martine Thérouanne, Director of the Vesoul International Festival of Asian Cinemas. In Japan, November 3 is the Day of Culture. This prestigious decoration, the oldest in Japan, was awarded to Thérouanne in recognition of her cultural commitment to make Japanese cinema and filmmakers known to Western audiences.

Within the 25 years of its existence, Vesoul International Festival of Asian Cinemas (VIFAC) that was co-founded by Thérouanne and her husband Jean-Marc Thérouanne, has presented 200 Japanese films; among them, cult films of recognized directors and young talents, as well as masters of Japanimation.

The festival awarded fifteen prizes to Japanese films and filmmakers, including the prestigious Honorary Golden Rickshaw to Kore-eda Hirokazu at VIFAC 2012, later winner of the Golden Palm at Festival de Cannes 2018.

VIFAC staged six retrospectives and homages. To name a few, let us mention actress Mariko Okada, and of directors Kiju Yoshida, Shohei Immamura, or the retrospective of the complete corpus Kore-eda Hirokazu. Film director Masahiro Kobayashi, a holder of numerous awards from international film festivals such as Festival de Cannes or International Film Festival Locarno, presided VIFAC’s International Jury (2008).

Besides highlighting Japanese cinematographic art, six exhibitions by Japanese artists (painters, calligraphers, and photographers) were organized as part of the FICA Vesoul editions, where the program devoted to Japanese cinema was central.

Honours to Japan at VIFAC in numbers:
200 films shown
15 Prizes awarded
1 Honorary Golden Rickshaw
– Kore-eda Hirokazu (VIFAC 2012)
1 Grand Jury Prize
– Goodbye Grandpa by Morigaki Yukihiro (VIFAC 2018)
2 Jury Prizes
– Japan’s Tragedy by Kobayashi Masahiro (VIFAC 2013);
– Going the Distance by Harumoto Yujiro (VIFAC 2017)
1 Special Mention by International Jury
– Her Mother by Sato Yoshinori (VIFAC 2017)

1 Film Critic Award
– Being Good by O Mipo (VIFAC 2016)
3 Audience Awards for Best Fiction Feature
– Haru’s Journey by Masahiro Kobayashi (VIFAC 2011);
– Again by Kanai Junich (VIFAC 2014);
– Being Good by O Mipo (VIFAC 2016)
1 Audience Award for Best Documentary
– Cry of Heart by Takahashi Shinji (VIFAC 2008)
1 NETPAC Jury Award
– Going the Distance by Harumoto Yujiro (VIFAC 2017)
1 INALCO Jury Special Mention
– Being Good by O Mipo (VIFAC 2016)
2 Guimet Jury Coup de Cœur
– Summer’s End by Kumakiri Kazuyoshi (VIFAC 2014);
– Going the Distance by Harumoto Yujiro (VIFAC 2017)
1 High Schools Award
– Being Good by O Mipo (VIFAC 2016)

6 Retrospectives and Homages
– Homage to Actress Mariko Okada and Director Kiju Yoshida in the presence (VIFAC 2007);
– Homage to Shohei Immamura (VIFAC 2007);
– Retrospective “French-Japanese Coproductions” within the frame of 150 years of French-Japanese Friendship (VIFAC 2008);
– Homage to Kore-eda Hirokazu, full retrospective in the presence of the director (VIFAC 2012);
– Retrospective “Oishi! Japanese Food Movies” (Bon Apetit, le Japon se met à table; VIFAC 2017);
– Retrospective “Japonismes 2018: Souls in Harmony” 160 years of French-Japanese Friendship (VIFAC 2019)

1 President of International Jury
– Masahiro Kobayashi (VIFAC 2008)

6 Expositions as collateral events of VIFAC promoting Japan
– Mariko Kozumi, painter (VIFAC 2001);
– Michio Takahashi, painter (VIFAC 2007);
– Toshihiro Hamano, painter (VIFAC 2008);
– Naohiro Ninomiya, photographer (VIFAC 2012);
– Eriko Matsuda, painter (VIFAC 2017);
– Manda, painter and calligrapher (VIFAC 2019)

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Hello everyone! Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be an actress. I absolutely adored Greta Garbo. Far from her looks and even further from her talents, I ditched acting as a professional career option and went for film studies. It must have been sometimes in my early teens, which is still too late if you look at the origin stories of my colleagues, I fell for action cinema and cinemas of the Far East. Depending on who asks, the answer to "why" question is either: 1/ The lighting style just hit me in the guts, or 2/ Have you really seen those men? (Up until now, I would welcome Han Suk-kyu to read me anything.) I program the Asian sidebars "Eastern Promises" at Art Film Fest Košice and "Queer Asia" for Slovak Queer Film Festival. Both in Slovakia. I come from there. Oh, and I talk quite a lot. So long, and thanks for all the fish.