Speaking at the news conference following the closing ceremony of this year's Tokyo International Film Festival, lead actor Koichi Sato said that while working on "Yuki ni Negau Koto (What the Snow Brings)" he "never imagined that this film would go on to receive the top prize at an international event."

Having viewed all 15 of the films in the competition division of this year's TIFF, including "Snow," I would have to say I didn't foresee this film picking up not only the Sakura Grand Prix but also the Best Director prize and the Best Actor award, given to Sato.

Jury member and producer Barrie M. Osborne correctly described "Snow" as being "well executed," and it was easily the best showing a Japanese film has ever made in a TIFF competition. Local viewers also applauded this paean to family values and that old gambari (fighting) spirit, giving it the Audience Award, so it was hardly the kind of "controversial decision" that makes headlines.