Naomi Kawase is the prominent and award winning Japanese director and writer who gained worldwide fame after achieving many honorable successes during a career that began in the late 1980s.
Born and raised in Nara, Japan, Kawase continues to make her films there today. Her pursuit to capture “reality” through film beyond simplistic documentary-fiction dichotomies has received worldwide acclaim.
Kawase is also considered the youngest person to win the Caméra d'Or (for best debut feature film) at the Cannes Film Festival, for Moe no Suzaku (1997). She also won three awards at the prestigious French festival on the Croisette for her films Mogari no Mori ("The Mourning Forest" 2007) and Hikari ("Radiance" 2017). She also received the Carrosse d’Or from the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight in 2009.
In 2000, her film Hotaru ("Firefly") won both the FIPRESCI and C.I.C.A.E. Award and was nominated for the Golden Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival. Meanwhile, her 2006 short, Tarachime ("Birth/Mother") received a special mention at the same festival.
Kawase is also a prolific director of commercials, as well as bring a radio program DJ, essayist, and pursuer of various expressive activities including calligraphy and installations.
As executive director of the Nara International Film Festival, which she launched in 2010, she focuses on nurturing the next generation of visionaries and has produced nine films in this pursuit.
Cairo International Film Festival president Hussein Fahmy, welcomed Kawase's participation, confirming her role to lead the international competition jury as a valued addition to the activities of the coming edition. Fahmy added that Kawase has enjoyed a distinguished career and possesses great experience that qualify her to obtain prestigious awards herself, from various international festivals.
Festival director Amir Ramses reinforced that the presence of a cinematic talent such as Naomi Kawase is a continuation of the successful tradition established by CIFF over the years in inviting the world’s leading filmmakers to head their Competition Jury. Ramses also added that the presence of an award winning woman director with such a successful career and rich filmography is great inspiration to female filmmakers in Egypt.
For more information, check out the CIFF website.