President of Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia (SSFF & ASIA), one of Asia’s largest international short film festivals accredited by the Academy Awards®︎, paid a courtesy vist to Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building on Monday, May 23, 2022.
Upon hearing Bessho’s explanation that the theme of the festival, now in its 24th year, is “Meta Cinema,” Governor Koike said, “Continuity is strength. I think it is wonderful that we are celebrating the 24th anniversary this year. In addition, this film festival has become more & more well-known each year, and the number of people taking on new challenges has increased. Films enrich us, make us think, and give us opportunities. Feature films are interesting, but there are parts that are interesting only because they are short,” she praised and talked about the appeal of short films.
During the courtesy call, Governor Koike announced the outstanding short films in the Cinematic Tokyo Competition, a collaboration between SSFF & ASIA and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to promote the diverse attractions of Tokyo by inviting short films from around the world with the theme “Tokyo.” This year, 257 submissions were received from all over the world, and the winner of the Cinematic Tokyo best Short Award (Governor of Tokyo Award) was “Tokyo Rain,” directed by Michel Wilde and Robert Schneider of Switzerland.
Bessho introduced the film by saying, “It is a story about a businessman who falls asleep at his desk in his office at night and has a nightmare that Tokyo is caught in a flood. He also praised the quality of the film, saying, “The graphic beauty of the images and the elements of environmental issues are excellent!”
He also announced the completion of “Samurai Swordfish,” a short film from the “Cinema Sports Project,” a project to create original short films that express the vibrancy of Tokyo, where international sporting events are held, and make people want to visit the places where they were shot.
In addition to Hiroki Iijima, who plays the lead role, the cast included Maito Fujioka, Marty Friedman, Hiroshi Fujioka (special appearance). Keiichi Kimura and Takayuki Suzuki, gold medalists in the 2020 Para Swimming Championships, also made cameo appearances. The trailer was shown for the first time today during the courtesy visit. Governor Koike commented on the film, “I saw that the film is filled with the charms of para-sports and Tokyo, and that it will convey Tokyo’s appeal to the world.
After the courtesy visit, Bessho commented, “This year, we have decided to hold a full-fledged hybrid of live and online events. In an age where online and real life are overlapping, what kind of visual communication can we have as a film festival in the 21st century? I would like to communicate the power of films and images to everyone while making full use of the online platform,” he said, expressing his enthusiasm for the festival.
SSFF & ASIA has co-sponsored the Cinematic Tokyo Competition since 2016 with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government as a competition to promote the “Tokyo Brand,” a tourism policy of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. The Governor of Tokyo Award will be presented to “Tokyo Rain,” the best film in this category announced today, at the awards ceremony to be held on Monday, June 20. Tokyo Rain“ can already be viewed online at https://shortshorts.org/2022/en/program/tokyo/tokyo-rain/ , and “Samurai Swordfish” will be available on YouTube (https://youtu.be/D2Tsiy-h81c) from today.