JAPAN’S SHORT SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL HANDS OUT THE MASSIVE LOOT Image

The Short Shorts Film Festival kicked off its 7th annual competition and tour of Japan earlier this month with screenings in the trendy Harajuku neighborhood of Tokyo. $60,000 in prizes was awarded to filmmakers in three categories: National (Japan), International (non-Asian), and Asian. “Rien de Grave” (dir. Renaud Philipps, France) took home the Grand Prix, and “SHIROTAKU” (dir. Toshiro Sonoda, Japan) was honored with the Asahi Super Dry Award, which includes a $30,000 grant to fund the filmmaker’s next project.

Filmmakers from Iceland, Singapore, France, Mexico, Norway, Thailand, Denmark, Finland, Korea, China, Uzbekistan, Taiwan, and of course Japan attended the screenings that took place June 29-July 4, 2005 at La Foret Harajuku Hall, Astro Hall Harajuku, and Virgin Toho Cinemas. The official programs of 78 competition films were selected from over 2,000 submissions received from over 80 countries.

Nearly two thousand guests, including filmmakers, celebrities, sponsors, embassy representatives, and other supporters of the festival attended the formal Awards Ceremony at the Meiji Shrine on July 3. The scale of the ceremony and the venue—one of Japan’s most important shrines—is testament to the caliber this young festival has already achieved.

Japanese Academy Award-winning actress Kaori Momoi accepted the honorary Spotlight Award for her contribution to the world of short film. Ms. Momoi directed a short film called “HOLA” for the skin care line SK-II’s website.

The screening of Hiroyuki Nakao’s “THE SECRET SHOW,” which Nakao funded with the $30,000 grant he was awarded as part of the Asahi Super Dry Award at the Short Shorts Film Festival 2004, was a highlight of the Ceremony. The comedy/action/adventure follows a bike messenger on a harried and hilarious ride through Tokyo.

The awards were presented by the five distinguished jury members: Tony Award-winning designer Junko Koshino; video and film artist Hiroyuki Nakano; Professor of Frontier Sciences at the University of Tokyo Yasuki Hamano; Coordinator of International Film Festivals at the Mexican Film Institute (IMCINE) Jorge Magaña; and Brazilian-born singer and musical actress Marcia.

The festival’s Japanese tour continues throughout the summer with stops in Sapporo, Hiroshima, Fukuoka, Osaka, Hakodate, Nagoya, and Matsumoto. Award-winning films will be screened at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography on October 29, 2005.

In addition to the 7th annual festival, Short Shorts organizers are producing another festival in Japan this summer. The Short Shorts Film Festival EXPO, a special competition of short films with the theme Nature’s Wisdom, is screening at the EXPO in Aichi, Japan through September 25, 2005. Thirty-minute programs screen nightly on an outdoor screen on the EXPO grounds for the 15 million expected visitors.

Short Shorts is recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as a qualifying festival in the short film categories. Submissions for the 8th edition of the Short Shorts Film Festival will open August 1, 2005. There is no submission fee, and deadline for entry is November 1, 2005.

GRAND PRIX

RIEN DE GRAVE, dir. Renaud Philipps, France

BEST SHORT

International Competition: RIEN DE GRAVE, dir. Renaud Philipps, France

Prize : 600,000 yen

Best Short National Competition: SHIROTAKU, dir. Toshiro Sonoda, Japan

Prize : 600,000 yen; Asahi Super Dry Award (3,000,000 yen grant); Govenor of Tokyo Award

Best Short Asia International Competition: AMAL, dir.Richie Mehta, Canada / India

Prize : 600,000 yen

JURY SPECIAL MENTION

International Competition: THE LAST FARM, dir. Runar Runarsson, Iceland

Prize : 250,000 yen

National Competition:

HEART ON FIRE, dir. Yorico Murakami, Japan

and

COLOR OF PASSION, dir. Mihoko Nakano, Japan

Prize : 250,000 yen (shared)

Asia International Competition:

SILENT COMPANION, dir. Elham Hosseinzadeh, Iran

and

MIRACLE MILE, dir. Dong Hyeuk Hwang, Korea

Prize : 250,000 yen (shared)

AUDIENCE AWARD

International Competition: LES DERNIERS JOURS, dir. Simon Olivier Fecteau, France

Prize : 150,000 yen

Best Short National Competition: UMAMI, dir. Genjiro Mizuhashi, Japan

Prize : 150,000 yen

Best Short Asia International Competition: SANGAM, dir. Prashant Bhargava, India

Prize : 150,000 yen

TOKYO FILM SCHOOL JURY AWARD

HJÄRTSLAG (HEARTBEAT), dirs. Anette Skåhlberg and Martin Lima de Faria, Sweden

For more info, visit the Short Shorts website.

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