The Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia (SSFF & ASIA), Academy Awards® accredited & one of the biggest international short film festivals in Asia, will held its opening ceremony at LINE CUBE SHIBUYA on Friday, June 11, 2021. For the opening of this year’s film festival, Ayame Goriki、dressed in a gleaming yellow long dress and popular actor, Takayuki Yamada appeared on stage to kick things off. Actress Ayame Goriki, who has participated in the film festival as a guest in the past, told the audience that it seemed like a dream to be one of the MC’s for the opening ceremony after appearing on the stage last year as a guest.
Takayuki Yamada, who appeared along with Ayame, commented that in 2017, he acted along with Mr. Bessho on a film production project called Cinema Fighters and appeared as a guest at that year’s festival. This year, as the opening MC, he wondered if SSFF & ASIA was okay in inviting him!
And when he noticed that he was been shown on the stage screen, he suddenly started to get nervous. He conveyed his excitement as the opening MC of the film festival.
Film Festival President, Tetsuya Bessho, then appeared on stage & expressed his gratitude for the 23rd edition of the film festival, and told the audience that this was the first time in the festival’s 23-year history that he watched the opening from the wings. He told the two MC’s that he hoped their 1st co-starring role as MC would lead to collaborating again in various new projects.
In addition, he touched on the theme of this year’s film festival, CINEMADventure, and announced that the event is being shown live to the world. He reiterated his determination to show audiences the way to be adventurous and inquisitive as well as conveying the beauty of entertainment no matter what the world may be going through.
The film festival began with a screening of the short film “Tamago to Ayako,” starring Ayame Goriki.
Ayame told the audience that when she played a single mother, she & the director had discussions over the scenes since both had not experienced pregnancy and giving birth. When Bessho said that the scene where a cat appeared on the beach left an impression on him, she stated that it was a purely coincidental shot. Hearing that, Mr. Yamada stated that it was a scene where the god of cinema mad an appearance!
Takayuki Yamada called to the stage Shinnosuke Abe and Chikara Ito of MIRRORLIAR Films to announce this project, which involves a star lineup of actors and other key figures in the film industry. The goal of the company is to produce short films in this age where anyone can make films. Takayuki Yamada explained that the project came out of a platform that supports actors. They called out to “let’s make a movie in about 10 minutes on the LINE app.” Since the aim is to discover and nurture creators, it is a project to bring everyone together and there are already those who are creating and having this experience.
Five awards were presented as well as the completion announcements of projects by the festival and production companies, ahead of the Award Ceremony on Monday, June 21, when the Grand Prix will be announced. (Details on the next page)
With the announcement of the Best Short awards of each category, Mahiru Konno, Masato Wada, and Hiroto Takahashi, who starred in “My Blue Sea,” the winning project of Book Shorts ARUHI Award grand prize, appeared on stage. The story was selected out of 7,000 submissions with the themes “one certain day,” “a new life,” and “my home.” Mahiru Konno and Masato Wada, who appeared as a married couple in the film that depicts a family that moved away from the hustle and bustle of the city to move to a “house by the sea.” Masato said that being born in the country where there are no convenience stores, he came to Tokyo longing for a glittering city life. He couldn’t think of moving back to the country in the future but after reading the script, he thought how nice it would be nice to return to a place like this again. In this story the “sense of distance” is important. It makes you stop and think about what kind of distance is needed to gain a piece of mind. Mahiru Konno, who took the stage in a white dress stated that she created her character to be like the sun that illuminates the home. It’s a film gently allows you to take a step forward so you can watch it in a very relaxed kind of mood and it will make you want to call someone after watching it. She talked of the appeal of the film in a very gentle and soothing manner just like the character she plays in the film.
For the Amuse Musical Short Pitch Competition, now in its 2nd year, actor Yasufumi Terawaki took to the stage to announce the Best Pitch selection.
“When I first read the script, I wanted to see something with a happy ending in these trying times. I was very happy with this pitch.
I would like everyone to enjoy the interaction between children who will start to experience their world with those who have already experienced some.” In addition, when Ayame Goriki mentioned that Yasufumi Terawaki and Tetsuya Bessho will co-star in a musical, he expressed his enthusiasm for musicals, saying, “It’s a long period of work, but I want to be able to enjoy the work along with Tetsuya.”
The final award of the opening ceremony was the “Global Spotlight Award.” With the changing of the times, the situation of visual image production and the way of expressing and disseminating information continues to change. Everyone can communicate their creativity, sensibility, and problems arising in the world through different devices and share them with the world. This award was newly established this year to spotlight the immense possibilities and support the path that connects the world through short films. Works by Billie Eilish and Jude & Rafferty Law were among the nominated shorts.
Film festival ambassador LiLiCo appeared in the finale of the ceremony. To determine who gets the chance to introduce the short film to be screened at the end, Takayuki Yamada, Ayame Goriki, and Tetsuya Bessho again had a “rock, paper, scissors” duel. Ayame, who won in the opening, won again and the event closed with an introduction and screening of the short film.
About eligibility to the Academy Awards® short film category & festival Grand Prix George Lucas Award
The Official Competitions, supported by Sony, received more than 6,000 entries from approximately 120 countries and regions around the world. The jury selected from out 80 films the Best Short Award-winning film in the International, Asia, and Japan categories, as well as the Grand Prix, George Lucas Award. Each award will be announced at the award ceremony held at Meiji Jingu Memorial Hall on Monday, June 21. Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia 2021 will be screened and distributed starting today until Monday, June 21 at 4 venues in Tokyo and online venues that can be seen anywhere in Japan.
*Some films will be available online until Wednesday, June 30.