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PLEAIDES FILM FESTIVAL

Short film festival reaches for the stars

by Brad Silnutzer

They may run short, but to the directors of the films screening at the International Pleaides Film Festival, each is “a complete, miniature work of art,” according to the festival’s Web site.

Last year, the annual festival took place in 20 cities around the world. It touches down in Kamakura on June 16, Yokohama (17), and Tokyo (24), when on each of the three days, 12 films will be screened in a little more than two hours. The festival takes its name from the cluster of hundreds of stars in the constellation Taurus, only a handful of which are visible to the naked eye.

Screenings of shorts by the festival’s own up-and-coming stars — handpicked by specialists and fans — will take place simultaneously in Japan, Bulgaria, France, Italy, Britain and the United States. Five works by seasoned directors from established studios will also be shown.

At each screening, the audience sees 12 of the shorts and rates them based upon their personal preference. It is experienced filmmakers, though, who serve as official judges and at the end of the festival crown a winner. This year, the acclaimed French director Jean-Jacques Beineix serves as festival president and head of the jury.

The festival features American, European and South American directors. Also among the lineup is Japanese director Wataru Furuta, who will present his film, “Confession,” a 10-minute-long light comedy about parent/child relationships. In the film, parents expecting the return of their son from Tokyo to be both emotional and gratifying find him soiled by modern city life.

Born in 1971, Furuta began his career in computer graphics and has since moved on to directing and producing.

Screenings take place at Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine in Kamakura (June 16, 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., tel. [03] 3541-1131); Yokohama Kaiku Memorial Museum (June 17, 6:30 p.m., tel. [045] 201-0708); and Tsukiji Hongwanji Temple in Tokyo (June 24, 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., tel. [03] 3541-1131). Tickets are 800 yen in advance. For more information, visit www.pleiadesfestival.com.