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Japanese director’s pro-whaling documentary wins award at London film festival

Kyodo, JIJI

A 2015 documentary on local supporters of Japan’s traditions of whaling and dolphin-hunting won an international film festival award Saturday in London, the director said Monday.

Keiko Yagi, 50, director of “Behind the Cove,” won the award for best director of a feature documentary at the London International Filmmaker Festival of World Cinema, which ended Saturday.

Her film is a rebuttal to the 2010 Oscar-winning U.S. film “The Cove,” which thrust the small whaling town of Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, into the international spotlight with bloody scenes of its annual dolphin hunt.

To film the documentary, Yagi stayed in the town in 2014.

The aim of the weeklong annual festival is to discover new talent.

Yagi said it was significant that her film, which aims to end “misconceptions” about the long-standing traditions, won an award in a city where antiwhaling protests are often held.