[Event Report] Awards Ceremony / The announcement of award winners eligible for nomination at the Academy Awards®!
A star-studded lineup of guests made appearances at the Awards Ceremony and red carpet – including Rino Katase, Masatoshi Nagase, the director Momoko Ando, Maho Toyota, HIRO, AKIRA, Naoki Kobayashi, Ryuji Imaichi, and Leo Sano!
Tetsuya Bessho declared his fervor for 2020, exclaiming that “We’re bringing the
the splendor of short films from Japan to the world!”
In addition to the Grand Prix “George Lucas Award,” the Best Short winners of each competition were announced, some of which will be eligible for nomination in the Academy Awards® short film categories.
Shorts Shorts Film Festival & Asia (SSFF & ASIA) is one of the largest international short film festivals in Asia, and is an Academy Awards®-accredited film festival. On Sunday, June 16th, 2019, the festival held its awards ceremony and red carpet event at Meiji Jingu Hall. This ceremony announces the Grand Prix, named after the director George Lucas, entitled the “George Lucas Award,” as well as the winners of the Official Competition categories, and the winner of the Non-Fiction Competition supported by Yahoo Japan Corporation, all of which will be eligible for an Academy Awards® nomination in the short film categories at next year’s 92nd Academy Awards®. In addition, it presents other award categories with a total of 8 awards announced. It also touched on the completion of short films produced through the cooperative efforts of the film festival together with corporate and organized partners, including a new project that will express Tokyo’s diverse appeal through short films called the “Cinema-Sports Project,” as well as the announcement of all 5 titles in the 3rd edition of the CINEMA FIGHTERS project. (For a list of award winners, please refer to the end of this
SSFF & ASIA 2019 GRAND PRIX 「GEORGE LUCAS AWARD」
Official Competition Asia International BEST SHORT AWARD(Governor of Tokyo Award)
The “George Lucas Award,” was presented to “Down There” directed by Zhengfan Yang. This Grand Prix-winning film, along with the winners of the Official Competition categories, and the winner of the Non-Fiction Competition supported by Yahoo Japan Corporation, will be eligible for an Academy Awards® nomination in the short film categories the following year. Receiving the Grand Prix award in place of Zhengfan Yang was Liu Sheng of the Embassy of China, who seemed to appreciate the weight of the actual trophy.
Zhengfan Yang/10:15/China, France/ Drama/ 2018
A blissful night is unexpectedly interrupted by the sound from downstairs. Different reactions are triggered as well as the relentless indifference.
Zhengfan Yang started making films since 2010. His debut feature DISTANT premiered at Festival del film Locarno, and his documentary feature WHERE ARE YOU GOING premiered at International Film Festival Rotterdam. DOWN THERE has been screened in Venice International Film Festival, New York Film festival, and Busan International Film Festival, among others.
【Reason for Selection】 We can watch this repeatedly and find out something new every time. The cinematic expression, not just through text, makes us feel the potential of short film.
Official Competition International BEST SHORT AWARD
Starting this year, the Best Short Award winners of the 3 categories (International Competition/Asia International Competition/Japan Competition) in the Official Competition will be eligible for an Academy Awards® nomination in the short film category for the following year. The winners were ushered onto the stage with thunderous applause and greeted by the jurors of this year’s festival, which included the director Momoko Ando, Rino Katase, Gina Dellabarca, Yuri Nakae, and Masatoshi Nagase. When asked to give her overall evaluation of her experience as a jury member, Ms. Katase replied “This is my first time serving as a film festival juror, and there were so many wonderful films that I went through several sleepless nights because of how excited I felt. I hope that the appeal of short films will spread through society, and if the opportunity ever came up, I would love to act in a short film as well.”
Meryam Joobeur/25:00/Canada, Tunisia, Qatar, Sweden/Drama/2018
Mohamed is a hardened shepherd living in rural Tunisia with his wife and two sons. Mohamed is deeply shaken when his oldest son Malik returns home after a long journey with a mysterious new wife. Tension between father and son rises over three days until reaching a breaking point.
【Director: Meryam Joobeur】
Tunisian-American writer/director Meryam Joobeur is a graduate of Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema in Montréal. She is currently developing three feature films including the feature version of ‘Brotherhood’ and has participated in the Berlinale Talent Lab (2016) TIFF Talent Lab (2016) and the Rawi Screenwriter’s Lab (2016).
【Reason for Selection】 Images showing the feel of wind and air, a well-presented telling of realistic blood-ties of family, the casting. Everything is fantastic.
Official Competition Japan BEST SHORT AWARD(Governor of Tokyo Award)
『My Little Goat』
Tomoki Misato/10:13/Japan/Animation/2018 A mother goat tries to help her children who have been eaten by a wolf, but one is missing!
【Director: Tomoki Misato】
Tomoki Misato was born in Tokyo in 1992. He finished his BFA majoring in Visual Communication Design at Musashino Art University then finished his MFA in Animation major at the Graduate School of Film and New Media in Tokyo University of the Arts.
【Reason for Selection】 Emotion like the fear and sadness of characters are well-depicted. In addition to the quality of animation, the fairy tale and social issue presented are skillfully assembled to tell a deep message.
Cinematic Tokyo Competition BEST SHORT AWARD(Governor of Tokyo Award)
The winner of the “Cinematic Tokyo Competition” was presented by Michitsuka Tarao, the Vice Governor of Tokyo. The Governor of Tokyo Award trophy was given to “Robu” directed by Kai Hasson. An announcement was also made introducing a new project, the “Cinema-Sports Project” – which will communicate the charm and appeal of Tokyo, a city that will receive a significant amount of attention in the near future through the global media of short films. The Governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike, who was unable to attend the festival due to government duties, sent a message, stating “I am pleased to say that, through this award, many creative people will be able to spread their wings and fly out to the rest of the world from Tokyo. I hope that, with the upcoming sports festivals, the Olympic and Paralympic Games, we can uplift our city together.”
Robu, a 17-year-old American boy is on the four-day quest in Japan to find the second issue of his favorite Japanese comic book that his father left him. Shortly into his adventure, Robu realizes that the manga world was happening in real life, and that the main character was himself.
【Director: Kai Hasson】
Kai Hasson is a creative director and the co- founder of Portal A film production company in California. His works have been viewed more than a billion times, and he was selected as one of Adweek’s Creative100.
【Reason for Selection】 Not only does it use famous locations in Tokyo, it also introduces memorable experiences like the Izakaya culture and getting to know the local people; experiences you cannot get from guidebooks. It is a very entertaining and high-quality short film.
U-25 Project supported by Nihon Safety
Next up was the announcement for Best Short Award for a program that debuted this year, which showed much popularity at the online venue – the U-25 Project supported by Nihon Safety, presented by LiLiCo. When asked for her thoughts on the winning film, she smiled and said “Watching this film gave me more wrinkles. But these are very valuable wrinkles because I went through so many emotions while seeing it. It’s a film where the viewer can experience childlike audacity, and the sensitivity of adulthood, and it was simply wonderful. I’m looking forward to whatever the director does next!”
God is upset about humanity and decides to take a bath. Noah, his family, and his animals are on the ark, trying to survive the furious ocean. Inspired by “Noye’s Fludde”, a one-act opera by Benjamin Britten.
【Director: Sayaka Hara】
Sayaka Hara was born in Nagano. After graduating from the design program at Tama Art University, she was very much inspired by European animation styles, and went to Central Saint Martins to study animation.
【Reason for Selection】 In using opera music effectively, this high-quality animation shows the filmmaker’s talent, which will garner attention from world.
Non-Fiction Competition supported by Yahoo Japan Corporation BEST SHORT AWARD
In addition to the 3 category winners of the Official Competition, the winner of this category will also be eligible for nomination at the Academy Awards®. Present as jury members for this category were Masato Harada, Chiaki Horan, and Kenji Mizukami. The short film “Dulce” was acclaimed for its overwhelming visual beauty, while being a film about a slice of everyday life, set against a backdrop of environmental issues that are brought to the awareness of the viewer in a brilliantly designed construct. Co-director Guille Isa, upon winning this award, explained his delight and the sentiment devoted to this film, saying “It’s an honor just to be standing here. I feel that this is such a prestigious award we have received. It is difficult to portray environmental issues, but it is our job to express these things. We felt that we were able to properly depict the fear of rising sea levels, and of the prospect of losing one’s village.”
Angello Faccini & Guille Isa /10:30/USA/ Non-Fiction/2018
In coastal Colombia, a mother teaches her daughter how to swim so that she may go to the mangroves and harvest the piangua shellfish with the other women in the village.
【 Director: Angello Faccini, Guille Isa】
Angello Faccini is a director and cinematographer based in Barcelona. He recently finished shooting “Ski Dreams”, a feature documentary from Afghanistan, with Emmy- winning, Oscar-nominated filmmakers Marcel Mettelsiefen and Stephen Ellis. “Dulce” is the fourth short film that he has made for “Jungles in Paris”.
Guille Isa is a director and production designer based in Lima. The short documentaries he has co-directed for “Jungles in Paris” have played at Hot Docs, Atlanta, Barcelona, Amsterdam, and other film festivals. He has also written and directed narrative short films.
【Reason for Selection】 Although it looks like a scene from everyday life, this film lets the audience see the reality of an environmental issue. The people’s facial expressions and their words tell us the truth. It shows how much the filmmakers invest a good deal of time and effort to make this work. With its beautiful and rich images, it truly depicts the essence of a non-fiction short film.
CG Animation Competition BEST SHORT AWARD
Maho Toyota, who served as a juror for the CG Animation Competition, explained that “All of these films were of such high quality, any of them could have been No.1. I felt that the struggles and conflict felt by the boy in this film were portrayed very well. I forgot that I was watching an animated film, and the little boy started to feel like a real child actor, so much so that I even began to feel that maternal connection with the nape of his neck.” She also added praise for the director saying “My husband is a film director, and I can palpably feel the difficulty and hard work it takes to make a work of art. I also know very well that ‘love and hard work’ are very important, and I wanted to congratulate this film, from the bottom of my heart.”
A young boy who loves to draw and build ferris wheels encounters strange creatures that turn his life upside down.
【Director: Carlos Baena】
Originally from Spain, Carlos has worked at Industrial Light & Magic, Pixar and Paramount Pictures. He has also directed the live-action shorts “Play by Play” and MarketSt. Carlos has also served as Character Director on the AI Toy “Cozmo”. He is Co-Founder of AnimationMentor as well as Artella. Carlos currently lives in Los Angeles, California.
The 4th Hikari TV Award
Kanda, a 68 year-old lone connoisseur who has just moved to Yu Island, Kumamoto a year ago, has not been getting along with other people on the island. All he does is just look at his art collection, but one day he encounters a girl, Akari, and starts to feel different.
【Director: Yusuke Sakakibara】
Yusuke Sakakibara started his career as a director at a film production company, and-pictures in 2012. A year later, he directed “Light Along” which was nominated for Short Short Film Festival & Asia 2014. In 2016, he published “BAILE TOKYO” the documentary on J-League FC Tokyo during the season of 2015. His first feature film, “Shiori” was premiered in October, 2018.
■The announcement of the completion of the 3rd edition of the CINEMA FIGHTERS project
To announce the completion of the 3rd edition of the CINEMA FIGHTERS project, due to be released this fall, a star-studded lineup of guests – including EXILE HIRO, EXILE AKIRA, Naoki Kobayashi, Ryuji Imaichi, Leo Sano, the directors Takashi Miike, Hiroki Inoue, and Hiroki Horanai were welcomed by the founder of the film festival and producer of this project, Tetsuya Bessho. EXILE HIRO expressed his deep emotions for the project, saying “We were blessed to work with these wonderful directors, and each of the films has its own incredible worldview.
Just like the previous edition, these films each had a great theme that matched spectacularly with the music, and it was just an outstanding experience.” Mr. Miike introduced his film by saying “This film was an extremely delicate story, but I feel that I have made a movie that is positive and can give courage to anyone who watches it.” EXILE AKIRA, who joined forces with Mr. Miike, said, “On set, I talked with the director about the difficulty and enjoyment that I felt when making these works of art, and also the warm humanity of the director.” Ryuji Imaichi spoke about his first foray into acting by describing his challenges on working together with the director. “I was completely clueless, and I did feel unsure at times, but through several talks with the director, at meetings, and by sharing meals together, I was able to focus my energy on the set in a good state of mind.”