The iconic festival closes with major awards and an appeal to short filmmakers.
Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia On June 21st, the event officially closed with an inspiring awards ceremony that focused on the art of short film.
The livestream event began with festival president Tetsuya Bessho reminding of the origins of the festival. It all started 23 years ago with short films by George Lucas when he was a student.
This year the 2021 festival received over 6,000 submissions from 120 countries and regions!
The MCs of the evening were the actors and famous anime voices Subaru Kimura and Kana Hanazawa, who together with Ambassador LiLiCo created the awards. The first prize of the evening was the Cinematic Tokyo Competition. The Best Short Award / Governor of Tokyo Award went to And then Filmmaker Jenn Ravenna Tran. The congratulations were presented by none other than the governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike.
Governor Koike had some inspiring words for everyone.
“Today the power of film is being tested more than ever,” said Koike. “Since we accept Covid-19 as a major challenge worldwide, the medium of film crosses borders and offers mutual understanding and empathy.”
Next, the awards show introduced us to Naomi Kawase, Japan’s most famous female director, who was elected official documentary filmmaker for the Tokyo Olympics. She asked her very young film crew to come on stage with her to explain how they worked hard together to capture everything beautiful about Tokyo and Japan for the Olympics.
She spoke about SSFF & ASIA and how important it is for the future of filmmaking: “This cultural festival should last 100 years or 1000 years; that is a heartfelt wish! ”
For the official competition sponsored by Sony, the winners received their awards either virtually or in person, depending on which part of the world they were in.
The filmmaker Gustavo Milan, who won the prize for the best short film in the international competition, informed the festival via video that he hopes for his film Under the heavens could “spark a debate about the human condition, particularly immigrants leaving everything for a better life.”
Filmmaker Rafael Manuel also intervened from afar and said it was heartbreaking for him not to be able to come in person to see the victory of. to celebrate Filipinana for the Asia International Competition Best Short Award.
“Thank you for campaigning for the cinema,” said Manuel about the festival. “Today more than ever we need cinema to remind us of the empathy and patience that are required to get in touch with one another and with ourselves.”
Finally, the filmmaker Atsushi Hirai was able to receive his award personally on stage for the Japan Best Competition Award for Return to Toyama.
“Toyama is my home,” said the expat emotionally. “I always wanted to be a part of this festival … I’m so happy that my dream came true.”
As the ceremony progressed, Sony shared the latest technology of LED walls and in-camera VFX behind its DIVOC-12 program, which includes 12 short films by 12 directors, to bring as much emotion and creative entertainment as possible during the pandemic.
Other prestigious awards followed in various categories, such as: Smartphone film competition.
This was a brand new category in SSFF & ASIA this year and it broke the record for new entries.
The co-directors of the winning film, Spectators: 1They stood on the stage to personally receive their award. Your science fiction short film was shot during the pandemic.
Co-director Yosuke Kobayashi said: “With a smartphone you can film anytime, anywhere.”
Then there was the filmmaker and juror Tetsuya Mariko, who said it was his first experience judging films made with smartphones.
“This winning film represents a new era of entertainment while making you think about the current times.”
Another judge, Mike Plante, stepped in remotely to share how much he liked the movie as a Sundance programmer and “weird movie lover.”
Next up was the Hoppy Happy Award for the happiest film by a Japanese director, the Biogen Award for “making the impossible possible” with compassion, and the Vertical Theater Competition Awards supported by Smash, in which films were shot in portrait / portrait format the U-25 (under 25 years old) Award, the Non-Fiction Award and the CG Animation Award.
Jurors, filmmakers, critics and artists emphasized the power of short films throughout the event.
“Until last year when I was a judge at the festival, I thought a short film was an easy thing,” said respected actress Mariko Tsutsui on stage. “But after that I realized it was a completely different genre. There are things that only short films can depict. ”
Finally, the last prize of the evening was awarded, the Grand Prix George Lucas Award. The prize is selected from one of the three main competition films and Tadashi Maeda came on stage to present the Grand Prix to Rafael Manuel, director of Filipinana.
That ended a remarkable celebration of short films and filmmakers.
You can see the full event (with English translations) below.
Since SSFF & ASIA is an Oscar qualifying festival, keep an eye out for these films at next year’s Academy Awards!
If you want to see all these creative and entertaining short films for yourself, you can stream them through the festival until June 30th.
Check out the official festival website Here.