March 18, 2014
Fune wo Amu (English title: The Great Passage), a film produced and distributed by Asmik Ace, Inc., a Sumitomo Corporation Group company, was selected for the 37th Japan Academy Prize for Picture of the Year. The film was also honored in five other categories, including Director of the Year and Screenplay of the Year, making the picture winner of the largest number of Japan Academy Prizes among this year's nominations. The awards ceremony took place in Tokyo on March 7, 2014.
The movie is based on the novel written by Shion Miura under the same title, which was winner of the 2012 Honya Taisho (Japan's Booksellers' Award). The story is about a long-term project undertaken by a publishing house to compile a dictionary. The project team's passionate and persistent efforts are described with a touch of humor and sensitivity, and centered on a young new member (played by Ryuhei Matsuda) who gradually grows to be a competent lexicographer during the course of working with unique characters towards their shared goal.
Yasuyuki Iwanami of Asmik Ace expressed his delight over the major praise offered to the work he produced, saying, "Fune wo Amu is not a 'roller-coaster' ride filled with dizzying ups and downs. Rather, it is a low-key drama about persistent engagement in a linguistic undertaking. However, similar to the dictionary compilation team that joined forces toward completing their challenging goal, the entire film project team, including the cast and shooting and sales staff, dedicated all their energy quietly but earnestly to their united pursuit of a successful artistic creation. I am filled with a sheer sense of fulfillment and I sincerely appreciate that many people enjoyed the result of our endeavor and recognized its achievement."
The recent honor represents the sixth of its kind received by the Sumitomo Corporation Group. The past five winners of the Picture of the Year prize are: Gakko (A Class to Remember, 1994); Poppoya (Railroad Man, 2000); Ame Agaru (After the Rain, 2001); Tasogare Seibei (The Twilight Samurai, 2003); and Han-ochi (Half a Confession, 2005). We will continue working to produce quality films.
(C) Japan Academy Prize Association
At the awards ceremony, Yuya Ishii (front left), the film's director, expressed his thanks to the entire project team for working as a unified force, with each member fully demonstrating their abilities. Ishii is the youngest-ever film director to receive the prize
(C)2013 The Grate Passage Film Partners
The film is also available in DVD and Blu-ray Disc versions