Asian Film Festival - Italia

19th edition – Winners and awards

Winners and awards

In a crowded room and in the presence of some of the main representatives of the main countries involved, including the Minister Advisor Kundunee of the Embassy of Thailand in Italy, the Director of the Japanese Institute in Rome, Amb. Masuo Nishibayashi and Filipino director Brillante Mendoza, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award in recent days, have been announced as the winners of the international competition. The awards decreed by the jury chaired by Elena Bindi and composed of Inti Carboni, Fabia Bettini and, for the verdict of the Newcomers section by the Unint students, went to the following works, directors and actors:


On The Job, The Missing 8 (dir. Erik Matti, Philippines, 2021)

“The choral thriller by Erik Matti keeps the viewer glued to the screen for 3h30, for the fascination of the images and the frenetic rhythm of the story. Inspired by true events, the film intertwines political figures, gangsters, journalists and murderous prisoners, in the representation of a corrupt social and political reality of the Philippines. Shot with mastery, with unique sequence shots and a soundtrack that often contrasts with the drama of the situations, this work has an overwhelming force, and gives us a little-known portrait of this part of the East.”

Erik Matti’s videomessage


The Edge of Daybreak (dir. Taiki Sakpisit, Thailand, 2021)

“For the skilful use of light and shadow that makes the film enveloping, sensorial and hypnotic. An elegant first feature, characterized by the refinement of contrasts and chiaroscuro with a meticulous direction in the details of the frame and in the cutting of the image, capable of making a black and white film a work full of expressiveness.”

Taiki Sakpisit’s videomessage


Kaya Kiyohara (In The Wake, Japan, 2021)

“The actress, thanks to the many nuances of her performance, managed to make a very believable portrait, which conveys a range of emotions, by such a young and promising talent.”

Kaya Kiyohara in a scene from In The Wake

“To everyone at the Asian Film Festival, thank you very much!I am surprised and very honored to receive such an award.I am also very happy that this film was able to screen in Italy in front of the audience.As an individual who loves cinema, I would like to keep challenging myself to become a better actress.”


Ex Aequo
Christian Bables (Big Night, Philippines, 2021)

“Christian Bables was extraordinary in playing the character of “Dharna”, a gay beautician whose name is mistakenly placed on the checklist in the war on drugs. Dharna will have to prove his innocence in a flash of one night. Terrific Bables, who with his interpretation of him at times comic even when the situation is dramatic, makes the character lovable in the eyes of the spectator, for his sensitivity and for his desire for justice towards oppressed people.”

Christian Bables’s videomessage

Vince Rillon (Resbak, Philipphines, 2021)

“For how he managed to play the difficult role of a boy who must survive in an environment dominated by violence, corruption and continuous abuse.”

Vince Rillon during the awards ceremony


The Wheat (dir. Tang Yu-qiang, China, 2021)

“For how he told, with an icy and entomotive gaze, a story of absolute love in rural China.”

the trailer of The Wheat


Prize awarded by the Unint jury
Tiong Bahru Social Club (dir. Bee Tan Thiam, Singapore, 2020)

“Tiong Bahru Social Club is a fresh and captivating first feature, which takes us to an alternative reality but which retains the multiculturalism of the country in which it is set (Singapore). The search for happiness and personal fulfillment are analyzed in the context of a dystopian brightly coloured world, where strong colors contrast with the greyness that the characters carry inside. In a place where the only acceptable way to live is to always be joyful, however, happiness no longer seems to have any value. The strong irony that distinguishes the narrative makes us spectators of a paradoxical world: the absurd lifestyle that is adopted within the Tiong Bahru Social Club almost makes us smile, nevertheless it often touches painful keys that are too close to our reality. Finally, mention should be made of the vibrantly toned photography and the care taken in the choice of the shots, which perfectly fits the idea of a small world entirely controlled and counterpose the growing doubts expressed by the characters.”

Bee Tan Thiam’s videomessage

The appointment with the Asian Film Festival is next year, which will celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the event.