Since its start in 2009, the Okinawa International Movie Festival has been more than its name implies. It has the usual competition sections: one called Laugh for comedies and another called Peace for dramas, though not all the films fit neatly into these two bins. But it has also been a promo event for the mostly comic talent of the giant Yoshimoto agency, the festival’s organizer and main sponsor.

Now in its fifth edition, the festival is not only trying to strengthen its lineup under new executive director Kazuyoshi Okuyama (pictured below), but also to expand and deepen its connections with both Okinawa and other regions around Japan beyond its Kansai (Western Japan) base.

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