Sixty directors from Japan and abroad are making short movies in dedication to the victims of the March earthquake and tsunami, in response to calls from organizers of a film festival to be held in disaster-hit Sendai this autumn.
The films will be three minutes and 11 seconds in length to symbolize March 11.
In Japan, 40 directors including Cannes International Film Festival award-winner Naomi Kawase signed up when the organizers of the Sendai Short Film Festival 2011 made the request in April. Sendai is the capital of Miyagi Prefecture, which was closest to the epicenter of the earthquake.
The directors were asked to make movies on the theme of “tomorrow” to inspire hope for rebuilding the devastated region. Kawase has called on prominent Japanese and non-Japanese directors to shoot films of three minutes and 11 seconds on the theme “home.”
Twenty overseas directors, including South Korea’s Bong Joon Ho and Spain’s Victor Erice, have joined the initiative and their films will be compiled into a 60-minute omnibus.
The films shot through the two projects will be shown at the Sendai film festival in September as well as at similar events scheduled this autumn in Nara, Ibaraki and Yamagata prefectures. Film festival organizers in countries such as France, Italy, Switzerland and the United States are also said to be showing interest in screening the films.
“There are festivals everywhere, no matter how hard the circumstances are in any given place,” said actress-director Kaori Momoi, who is participating in Kawase’s project. She said that if the films can spread some cheer, the energy emanating from them will be helpful to reconstruction.