Kawase Naomi was a typical athletic girl: got a passion for basketball at junior high‚ became a captain of the team at high school as well as participating in a National Athletic Meet.
She graduated from the Osaka School of Photography (currently the School of Visual Arts Osaka) .
Her original documentary films "Ni Tsutsumarete" (1992) and "Katatsumori" (1994) caught the spotlight both domestically and abroad‚ including the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival in 1995. Kawase won the award‚ Camera D'Or‚ for her debut feature film "Suzaku" (1996) at the Cannes International Film Festival in 1997 as the youngest winner in its history. The next film "The Weald" (1997) was awarded Special Mention Prize at the Vision du Reel in 1999.
"Hotaru" (2000)‚ premiered for the Competition at the Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland in 2000‚ was awarded two prizes‚ FIPRESCI Prize and CICAE Prize‚ as well as two additional awards‚ Best Achievement Award in Cinematography and Directing‚ and Leading Actress Award (Yuko Nakamura) at the Buenos Aires International Film Festival in 2001.
"SHARA" (2003)‚ contributed to the Competition at the Cannes International Film Festival in 2003‚ is now on sale in video and DVD formats.
Kawase's retrospective was organized for the 1st Infinity Film Festival in Alba‚ Italy and for the Jeu de Paume hosted by Petit Palais in Paris in 2002‚ and also for RED/CAT in Los Angeles in 2005.
Other feature films are "Mangekyo" (1999)‚ "Kyakarabaa" (co-produced with a French TV station Arte‚ 2001)‚ "Tsuioku no Dance" (2002)‚ and "Shadow" (2004).
In addition‚ Kawase is engaged on other creative works‚ such as commercial films‚ novels ("Suzaku" and "Hotaru")‚ and free local paper "Kumie & Nara-machi Bunko Newspaper."
Her latest documentary film "Tarachime" (2006) received Special Prize at the Yamagata International Film Festival in 2007.
"Mogari no Mori" (2007)‚ the Grand Prix winning film of the 60th Cannes International Film Festival‚ is now showing throughout Japan.
DVD-BOX‚ containing Kawase's early documentary films with special features‚ will be released in 2008.