About Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia
This Japan-born, Academy Awards® accredited festival is one of the largest film festivals in Asia. It was started by actor Tetsuya Bessho, a native of Japan and a SAG member, with the aim of introducing Japanese audiences to short films – a format that many people in Japan were unfamiliar with. The first festival was held in the Harajuku neighborhood of Tokyo in 1999, and 6 short films made by George Lucas (known best for the “Star Wars” series) when he was a student were screened. We have since received a letter of support from the director each year.
In 2001 the festival became known officially as Short Shorts Film Festival (SSFF), and in 2004 was accredited as a qualifying festival for the annual Academy Awards®. This means that the winner of the festival Grand Prix is eligible to be nominated in one of the short film categories of the Academy Awards® the following year, offering a bridge between Japan and the Oscars.
Furthermore, Short Shorts Film Festival Asia (SSFF ASIA) was established with support from Tokyo Metropolitan Government in 2004, to introduce new Asian video culture and to nurture young filmmaking talents from the region. To this day, the two festivals are held together as Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia. Aside from the three categories in the Official Competition, there are competitions and programs comprised of “music,” “environment” and “CG animation” related shorts.
The short film specialist theater Brillia Short Shorts Theater, which screens short film programs throughout the year, was established in the Minatomirai area of Yokohama in 2008. Also used as one of the festival venues, the theater has welcomed over 280,000 audience members to date. As the festival expands its activities in Japan in order to spread the word of short film, it will also continue to support young creators and act as a springboard into the world of film.
Greeting from the Festival Founder
Film is not about length! An infinite cinematic universe can unfold in even a few minutes of visual storytelling!
This is what the short films I encountered in the USA taught me.
Short film is the origin of film, which was born in the 19th century and blossomed throughout the 20th century. Established by the American inventor Edison and the French inventors known as The Lumière Brothers, cinema has evolved as an industry dramatically over the last 100 years to become what is now our current film culture. For those of us living in the 21st century, we enjoy cinema as entertainment, as well as a window onto ways of life around the globe, belief, culture, lifestyle and fantasy!
We, the human race, are “narrative animals.” Images in light reflect our past, present and future… That is cinema! It has turned our stories about ideals and experiences into visual language, and into film. The 20th century has ended, and with it the information revolution has led to the creation of a new media window – “Internet” or “Cyber Space” – which has affected revolutionary change upon each of our lives and the way that culture exists. We have now reached an age where our stories, floating in the internet ether, breathe as short film. The sphere of “short film” and “the now” is under the spotlight – but this is not solely cinematic, for it is also colored by companies working in the realm visual contents.
Origin of film! Short film! Formative designs of young filmmakers! Short film! Gems reflecting the future map of film! Short film! Visual supplements that give color and vitality to daily life! Short film! Snack-size movies and dessert movies to be enjoyed with ease each day! Short film! Visual vehicles that support a variety of information and lifestyles! Short film!
Believing in the “power of film,” we hold a “festival of film,” face up to the value of film, polish it, design the look of 21st century cinema, and create visual contents with the ability to move you!
Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia was first established as “American Short Shorts” in 1999.
This is a page where you can read all about how the festival has grown up and changed over the years. Details on past editions of the festival, video summaries and the archive websites are available.
Messages of Support from Maestro Directors
Beginning with director George Lucas, Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia has received many messages of support from various maestro directors over the years. Take a look at those messages here.