The Best Short Award winners, including 5 nominees for the Academy Awards, have been announced! At the top of 4,936 entries! Director Win Morisaki receives the “George Lucas Award,” the Grand Prix of the festival!

The Best Short Award winners, including 5 nominees for the Academy Awards, have been announced! At the top of 4,936 entries! Director Win Morisaki receives the “George Lucas Award,” the Grand Prix of the festival!

Morisaki explodes with joy: “Mr. Bessho, I’m really happy!

Mie Nakao, who appeared in the Grand Prix film “Sen” said, “It’s the greatest joy in my life!”

Tsurutaro Kataoka, Hiromi Nagasaku, Hiroshi Fujioka, and Koh Maehara,

Akina Ikeda, Buto Nagata, Hasen Kuniyama, Director Naomi Kawase, LiLiCo, and others.

Director Kawase Naomi, LiLiCo, and many other guests made appearances on the Awards Ceremony red carpet!

Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia (SSFF & ASIA) 2024, one of Asia’s largest international short film festivals accredited by the Academy Awards®, held its Awards Ceremony on Monday, June 17, 2024, at Meiji Jingu Kaikan.

The ceremony began with the announcement and awarding of the Live Action (International, Asia International, Japan), Non-Fiction, and Animation Competitions Best Short Awards, with a total of five films eligible for nomination in the short film category for the following year’s U.S. Academy Awards, The HOPPY HAPPY AWARD and the Kodansha Cinema Creators Lab’s selected pitches were announced.

The TOKYO PROJECT, a project to promote the attractions of Tokyo, and the announcement of the completion of the HOPPY HAPPY AWARD Project were also introduced.

■The top prize, the “George Lucas Award” went to “Sen” directed by Win Morisaki!

 The “George Lucas Award,” the Grand Prix of the festival, was awarded to “Sen,” a musical short film directed by Win Morisaki, in his directorial debut. After expressing his surprise when his film was announced, Director Morisaki raised one hand and said, “Bessho-san, I’m really happy! He then raised one hand in the air and exploded with joy at receiving the award, saying,”This is my first time directing a film, and while I felt the joy of production, I also realized once again how difficult it is. I would like to devote myself to directing again if the opportunity arises, and I would like to spread the excellence of entertainment with everyone so that we can overcome any “sen” through entertainment,” with tears in his eyes. Mie Nakao, who starred in the film, said, “I have never been so happy in my life, and when people go beyond their limits, they start laughing. I can’t help but cry with laughter. I really thank the director for calling on me. It’s the greatest joy in my life! She expressed his congratulations to Director Morisaki, expressing her joy as a colleague who created the film together.

■The ceremony started with the appearance of film festival ambassador LiLiCo & festival President, Tetsuya Bessho!

 The award ceremony started with the appearance of Tetsuya Bessho, the festival representative, and LiLiCo, the festival ambassador, on the stage. I would like to thank all of you for coming, all of you for your support, and all of you for being creators of films,” said Bessho. LiLiCo also expressed her joy, “It is a great honor to meet new people like this every year. Then the MCs, Mr. Hasen Kuniyama and Ms. Rie Mochizuki took the microphone and the ceremony started.

■The Best Short Films, Projects, etc. in each category were announced!

Live Action (International, Asia International, Japan), Non-Fiction and Animation Competitions: Announcement and Awards

 Hiroshi Fujioka, Hiromi Nagasaku, Katsuhide Motoki, Emma Yamazaki, Tim Redford, Sharon Badal, and Shin Yamazaki, who served as official jury members, took the stage at once to announce and present the awards.

 The Live Action International award went to “Hedgehog’s Dilemma,” directed by Mateusz Rybinski of Poland, and the Live Action Asia International prize went to “Maybe Someday,” directed by Praditha Blifa Rahayu of Indonesia. “Sen,” directed by Win Morisaki, who is also an actor, won the Excellence Award in the Live Action Division Japan. The Non-Fiction award went to “Then Comes the Body,” directed by Jacob Krupnik of Nigeria, and the Animation category award went to “A Crab in the Pool,” a joint film by Alexandra Myotte and Jean-Sebastien Hamel of Canada.

  After the awards, the jury made a general comment. Mr. Nagasaku, who served as a member of the jury for the Live Action International category and the Non-Fiction award, said, “I am grateful for the many treasures I was able to encounter. Being able to discuss as a member of the jury gave me a great hint for my future,” he commented as an actor. He commented. Mr. Fujioka, who served as a judge for the Live Action Competition Asia International Category and Japan Category, commented, “I was made to think about the traditions, national characteristics, and zeitgeist of so many countries depicted in the films. I am very happy to see so many films that give us hope that the world is moving toward peace through images. Mr. Fujioka expressed his passion for the future of the global film industry, saying, “It was very enjoyable to watch and score the visual works of my rivals from a film director’s point of view. It gave me food for thought for my own filmmaking in the future.”

■Kodansha Cinema Creators Lab Announcement and Awarding of Prizes

 Three projects received awards from among the 1,126 projects submitted from Japan and abroad, the largest number since its establishment in 2022. Among the award winners, Mr. Taichi Ishikawa, Mr. Shunsuke Furuyama, and Ms. Milda Baginskaite took the stage. The trophies were presented by Mr. Shonobu Noma, President of Kodansha Ltd., who said, “I am very pleased to be able to award the three video creators in this wonderful project. I hope that they will continue to create world-class works of art in the future.”

■Nara International Film Festival Talk Session

 The Nara International Film Festival, for which Bessho became an ambassador last year, screened the trailer for “Muffin’s Law,” a short film produced by a youth director from the “NARAtiveJr” project, which was launched to nurture young filmmakers. The talk session featured Naomi Kawase, Executive Director of the Nara International Film Festival, Rei Miller, the director of “Muffin’s Law,” and Haruna Matsui, who played the lead role. Ms. Miller, who edited the film remotely from Amsterdam, commented, “I am convinced that filmmaking can be done anywhere in the world if you have the enthusiasm. Kawase said, “I would like to put film in the center of Nara, the oldest city in Japan, and continue to help make it a place for international cultural exchange. She also shared her thoughts on the Nara International Film Festival.

■Cinematic Tokyo Competition, Sustainable Recovery Project

Ms. Yuriko Koike, Governor of Tokyo, took the stage and said, “Short films are short, but I believe they are condensed and filled with soul. I hope that short films that attract many people will be born in Tokyo and transmitted to the world.  The film was produced as part of the “Sustainable Recovery Project,” a collaboration between the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the film festival, and featured Tsurutaro Kataoka, Koh Maehara, Juki Iwamoto, Matthew Chozik, and director Shoji Yasui. Mr. Kataoka, who played the role of a craftsman of Edo kiriko, a traditional handicraft of Tokyo, which is the core of the story, said, “I hope this film will make many people aware of Edo kiriko, and encourage them to use it for Japanese whiskey and other beverages. The filming lasted only one day, but we borrowed an actual craftsman’s studio for the shoot, so I was able to get into craftsman mode.” He recounted a story of filming in a short period of time. Mr. Maehara, who played the role of Mr. Kataoka’s son, commented with a smile, “I thought I didn’t look like my father as I filmed. Iwamoto, who played the role of Kataoka’s son Kazuma, when asked how he felt about the shooting, cheerfully replied, “It was fun!” Yasui, who directed the film, said, “I created this film with the goal of creating the most gentle place in the world, and I hope many people will see it.

“Light of Intricate Patterns” is now being shown worldwide on SSFF & ASIA’s official YouTube channel.

■Hoppy Happy Film Festival Project “The Theory of Relativity and Row Houses” Film Completion Announcement & HOPPY HAPPY AWARD Presentation & Award

 Daisuke Kamijo, director of the 3rd HOPPY HAPPY AWARD winning film “We are strangers,”announced the production of “The Theory of Relativity and Row Houses,” the 5th collaboration film between Hoppy and the Film Festival, with Film Festival ambassador LiLiCo serving as the MC. The film was directed by Daisuke Kamijo, the director of “We Are Strangers.” When asked why he chose “tenement houses” as the theme of the film, Kamijo replied, “I chose this theme because I was attracted to the world of tenement houses, where people are connected to each other in an environment where they cannot meet the people they want to meet because of COVID.” Ikeda, who played the role of the cheerful and good-natured Rika, said, “I played the role while loving Rika’s brightness, kindness, and strength. When I was creating the role, Rika’s personality and thoughts were strangely easy to understand, and I think that Rika’s atmosphere had something in common with my own. The scene where she is drinking Hoppy drinks with everyone at the tenement is very nice, so I hope you will watch it. Ms. Nagata, who played the role of the egocentric and cool Hibiki, the opposite of Rika, said, “I had never played a character with such an indifferent personality, so it was refreshing. Playing the role made me feel that I could live freely without trying too hard.” “The Theory of Relativity and Row Houses” is a film that fits the theme of “Hoppy Happy,” which is a combination of “tenement,” “human connections,” and “hoppy,” and is scheduled to be shown on “Hoppy Happy Theater,” an online theater specializing in short films.

After the cast members took the stage, the 4th HOPPY HAPPY AWARD was announced. Kenji Qurata’s “Ten Days and Eternity” won the award.

■George Lucas Award (Grand Prix) announced and presented

 The winners of the Live Action (International, Asia International, Japan), Non-Fiction, and Animation categories, as well as the official jury members, LiLiCo and Bessho, took the stage. The audience was filled with applause when the Grand Prix, the George Lucas Award for Excellence in the Japan Competition, was announced for the work of Director Win Morisaki. Bessho handed the Grand Prix trophy to Morisaki and said, “Congratulations! This is the first time an actor has won the Grand Prix for a film he directed. This is the first time an actor has won the Grand Prix for a film he directed,” said Bessho. In addition, it was announced that the grand prize was a pair of sea-side balcony cabins on the Queen Elizabeth for two on the 2025 cruise to/from Japan.