In Japan, it’s said that “autumn is the season for the arts.” One film festival appears to share the sentiment.
Taking place from Oct. 17 to 23 at two venues in Tokyo, Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia Cinema Carnival Autumn will celebrate the pinnacle of contemporary short film.
Among the shorts to be screened are “Midnight of My Life,” starring Martin Freeman as English rocker Steve Marriott, and the delightfully awkward Steve Buscemi in “Mildred & The Dying Parlor.” Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia representative Hideyuki Takahashi recommends Kristof Deak’s “Sing,” which won the Grand Prix in the International Competition this year. “I really like when Zsofi confides in Liza about her ‘secret’, ” he says. “The way Liza comforts her really makes it a touching scene.”
Aside from being purely emotional, Takahashi says that shorts can sometimes be better than full-length features at reflecting issues of the day — and particularly in recent times.
“This year there were a number of works that dealt with issues of refugees and human rights,” he says, “and because of the nature of short films, they can be produced in a more timely manner than full-length films and portray what is happening in the world at a given point in time.”
A first for the festival, there will be a “Branded Shorts” section this year — Jude Law stars in the International Category winner “The Gentleman’s Wager II,” connected to Johnnie Walker Blue Label whisky— a sign of the media world in modern times.
“The boundaries between advertising and entertainment have become blurred,” Takahashi says. “We thought it was important, as a festival who supports the film industry, to help give value to these branded movies.”
Sponsored or not, the films may make for a quick fix before the main festival is scheduled to return in summer.
Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia Cinema Carnival Autumn takes place at Andaz Tokyo in Minato Ward from Oct. 17 to 19, and at Tokyo Photographic Art Musem in Meguro Ward from Oct. 20 to 23. For more information, visit www.shortshorts.org/2016/autumn.