SCREENSHOT: Asia Film Festival Maelstrom

7:00 pm
Event Status
As Scheduled

The Japan Council of the University of Pittsburgh and SCREENSHOT: ASIA are pleased to announce the winner of the third biennial University of Pittsburgh Japan Documentary Film Award: Maelstrom, directed by Mizuko Yamaoka. The film will be screened with the filmmaker in attendance as part of the second SCREENSHOT: Asia Film Festival. The award ceremony will take place on September 29 at 7pm in the Seventh Floor Auditorium of Alumni Hall, immediately followed by the screening of the film. General information about the award and the schedule for events and screenings can be found at
This year’s committee was led by Pitt film professors Robert Clift and Hillary Demmond, known for their acclaimed documentary Making Montgomery Clift (2018), and documentary filmmaker Kazuhiro Soda, recipient of the Golden Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival for Zero (2020). They and our other judges selected Maelstrom, which is Ms. Yamaoka’s story of “loss and return” due to a drastic life change from a car accident that damaged her cervical vertebrae. A profoundly humanist tale of tragedy and rebirth, Ms. Yamaoka's intimate documentary is both a telling of her own losses and a portrait of human experience.
Established by Pitt’s Japan Council to recognize exemplary documentary films promoting the understanding of Japan and Japanese culture, the University of Pittsburgh Japan Documentary Film Award is supported by generous endowments from Japanese donors to promote Japan Studies and deepen cross-cultural understanding at the University of Pittsburgh and across the region. The 2020 Grand Prize was presented to Tokachi Tsuchiya for An Ant Strikes Back, which showcases an employee’s fight to keep his job in the face of routine abuse and cruel working conditions at a large-scale moving company, and an Honorable Mention was awarded to Nanako Hirose for book-paper-scissors, a contemplative look at book publication through the craftsmanship of veteran book designer Nobuyoshi Kikuchi.
For more information on the festival, click here or please email committee chairperson Charles Exley (
For more information about this film and for tickets, click here.

In-Person event
Alumni Hall Auditorium
Event Type
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