SSFF & ASIA 2019 Core Theme

"Cinematic Attitude"
Having crossed the landmark of 20 successful years of this festival, the theme of our 21st edition marks a new start: Cinematic Attitude. This theme represents the diversity inherent to a film festival and universal power of cinema and moving images.

SSFF & ASIA 2019 Outline

Duration : Wed 29th May - Sun 16th June
Venues : Omotesando Hills Space O / Andaz Tokyo, Andaz Studio / iTSCOM STUDIO & HALL, Futagotamagawa Rise / Shidax Culture Hall, and others
* Schedule may change depending on the venue, and venues may also change.

Admission Free
*Some programs may be charged.
Organizer Committee for Short Shorts / Committee for Short Shorts Film Festival Asia

Nearly 10,000 films from over 130 countries and regions around the world were in the running, with the cream of the crop -- some 200 titles -- being selected to screen at the festival.

The Best Short winners of the Official Competition, as well as the Best Short winner of the Non-Fiction Competition are eligible to be nominated in the short film categories of the Academy Awards® the following year.

What is Short Film?

Short film is a cinematic piece of work that ranges from lengths as short as 1 minute to as long as approximately 30 minutes. For the official competition at SSFF & ASIA, submitted works are restricted to less than 25 minutes. Despite its short length, there is a wide variety in these works such as drama, animation, and documentary and many of the stories are rich in wit and cinematic expression that can only be possible given the short length of the piece.

There are quite a few directors who started out their careers making short films such as George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, and Steven Spielberg, and there are many short films that have famous actors appear in them as well. Furthermore, short films provide a format that cultivate the talent of up and coming filmmakers, and film festivals are a gateway for their success.
How would you like to witness the possibilities of future filmmakers at this film festival?

Festival History

This Japan-born, Academy Awards® accredited festival is one of the largest film festivals in Asia. It was founded 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 screened 6 short films by George Lucas (of Star Wars fame), made during his student days. We have since received a letter of support from the director each year.

In 2001, the festival became officially known 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 the 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.

Message from the Governor of Tokyo

Yuriko Koike

It gives me great pleasure as Governor of Tokyo to welcome you to the Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia 2019, an event cosponsored by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
With the start of the new Reiwa era, the Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia (SSFA & Asia) is marking its 21st year. The festival has grown with each year to become one of Asia’s preeminent international short film festivals, launching the career of many talented creators on to the world stage.
Starting this year, four films, the winners of three categories (International, Asia International, and Japan) and one competition (Non-Fiction Competition supported by Yahoo Japan Corporation), will qualify to earn a nomination in an Academy Awards® short film category. I am grateful for the support of those involved with the project and short film enthusiasts, which has made this possible.
This also marks the third year that we will hold screenings and present an award in the Cinematic Tokyo Competition.
Through films produced by creators from Japan and abroad, it is my hope that this festival will serve as a catalyst for conveying the diverse attractions of Tokyo to the world.
Japan and Tokyo will host the Rugby World Cup™ in September of this year. And, next year, the long awaited Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 will follow.
SSFA & Asia will also launch the Cinema Sports Project for 2020. Short films inspired by these two major sports events will be produced, which the festival plans to screen at next year’s event.
The Tokyo 2020 Games are not only a festival of sport, but also a festival of culture. In the lead-up to a successful Games and the future beyond, Tokyo will enhance its potential as a world-class city of culture by implementing a range of art and culture initiatives, including this film festival. I hope that everyone who takes part in the festival will not only enjoy the charms of short film, but also discover a new side of Tokyo, which is filled with diversity.。
In closing I would like to express my deep respect for the tireless efforts made by everyone involved, and extend my best wishes for the continued success and growth of the festival.              

Yuriko Koike
Governor of Tokyo
 Yuriko Koike

Message from the President of Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia
Tetsuya Bessho

Tetsuya Bessho

Having crossed the landmark of 20 successful years of this festival, the theme of our 21st edition marks a new start: Cinematic Attitude. This theme represents the diversity inherent to a film festival and universal power of cinema and moving images. Last year was the 20th anniversary of our film festival and we were honored to present the world’s inaugural “George Lucas Award”. Now this year, as we continue to grow our film festival, we are thrilled to announce that not only our Grand Prix winner but 4 of our category winners will become eligible for nomination to the Academy’s own short film category.
In 2019 our country moves into a new era with a change of Emperor.
In alignment with our festival continuing to evolve, new components have been added including online streaming, a female filmmakers project and a special project to unearth young talent.
Please look forward to and enjoy this year’s edition of our film festival, based here in Japan, but looking towards the future of film and moving images.

Message from Festival Ambassador LiLiCo

Festival Ambassador LiLiCo

Short film is not the gateway to feature length film any more. Creators from various fields love to make short films. Actors as well challenge themselves in this format. Not only to play their roles in the front, but also behind the camera. Everybody is attracted to the world which short film can express. And who better to make people to pay attention to short film than the founder of the festival: Mr. Tetsuya Bessho! SSFF & ASIA celebrated its 20th anniversary last year. I’d like to support this festival with a new mindset toward to the next 10, 20 years.

Short film allows people to experience different cultures, smells, thoughts and lifestyles in a compact time. SSFF & Asia has a special way to introduce you to new people, make new connection all in a very homey, comfortable setting. Life itself is short so let’s have a fantastic time with SSFF & ASIA!

Message from Yoshino Kimura,
SSFF & ASIA Ladies for Cinema Project Presenter.

Message from Yoshino Kimura

I was struck at how strongly I identified with the female viewpoints on show in these works, regardless of their origin; European, South American, Middle Eastern, Asia or wherever. On a subconscious level, I felt as if they shone a light on my life experience as a woman, a wife, a mother and a female actor.
I found myself filled with a wish to support the artists involved, as well as a courage and energy to bring to my own work. The medium of short film, due to its short length, is uniquely positioned to provide a tool to deliver the creators’ message directly to its viewer, almost as if it were a hand-written letter. As the presenter of SSFF & Asia “Ladies For Cinema” Project, I am grateful to be in the position to spread the thoughts of women across the world.

Message from Jason Reitman
(Director of Oscar Nominated "Up in the Air" )

Message from Jason Reitman

I made a short called "In God We Trust" in 2000, and much to my surprise, I was invited to go to the American Short Shorts festival in Tokyo. I got flown across the world, I had an incredible experience in Japan where my film played in Harajuku for an audience. I couldn't believe how big it was, and I got to meet friends that are friends to this day. Filmmakers that I've worked with, some of my closest friends. I met Gareth Smith who I've collaborated with on almost all of my movies and Dan Loflin who had a short film there called "Delusions in Modern Primitivism". It was just an incredible trip. Film festivals are very important. Film festivals are really important.
They celebrate movies as an art form and they're an opportunity to see films you'd otherwise would never see at a cineplex. Particularly short films, they're the purest form of filmmaking. They are stories told from the heart for only the right reasons.