The Concept Overview
While most of the international movie festivals don’t have many differences except line ups, the Okinawa International Movie Festival (OIMF) offers something unique. Known not only as the largest island of Japan’s southernmost prefecture, the population also noted as the longest-lived people in the world, where the distinctive traditions from other sides of Japan still strongly take places. The concept of ‘Laugh & Peace’ which coloured the festival through 5 previous events might also come from those unique things around Okinawa culture.

Now entering its 6th presentation, still with the same concept that full of enjoyment, happiness and smiles, the festival has developed a new catch phrase of ‘All Things Great in All The Islands!’, aiming to be a different pack of movie festival with music ; traditional and contemporary, image and variety shows including traditional performing arts One that brings together all the regions and people of Okinawa, and also sending information and entertainment through the charms of Japan, mostly Okinawa, to the rest of the country and the world.

The festival itself has various district support groups, from the officials of Okinawa Prefecture and citizens from local areas, Okinawa Convention Visitors Bureau, Promotions Associations to numbers of media and sponsors. To introduce them more, the commitee has done a year-round efforts, from Japan to overseas countries. In this year’s festival, the venues spread from the famous Kokusai-dori in the capital city of Naha, Sakurazaka Theatre, which known as the indie movie theatres bringing alternative movie to its audience, some satellite venues to Ginowan Convention Centre and largest mobile outdoor screen in Ginowan Tropical Beach.


Like the previous years, this year’s program consists of 9 categories. The main program, Competition (Laugh category & Peace category), brings a variation of fascinating movies with the concept of ‘Laugh & Peace’, movies from all over the world which make people laugh, feel happy and inspired. The juries, Sadao Nakajima (veteran director, President of the jury), Gary Tang (Hong Kong based movie and TVB drama director/producer), Yoko Narahashi (producer and casting director from United Performers’ Studio), Etsuko Higa (Ginowan City Museum comission director and Okinawa Prefectural University of Arts lecturer, singer), and LiLiCo (movie commentator) will pick the movie as Special Recognition Award in two categories to receive Golden Shi-sa Award (Golden Okinawan Lion Statue Award). As well as the jury’s choice, public and theatre audience will vote for the best movie, Laugh-category Grand Prize for the Uminchu Award and Peace-category Grand Prize for the Uminchu Award.

The other competition category are the project ‘Creator’s Factory’, newly conceived in last year’s festival, aiming to discover promising talents as the leader in next generation’s cinema with three awardings, ‘Best New Creator Award’, and Nibichi Movie Festival as a result of collaboration between two festivals. In this category, the contestants will compete for the best picture of wedding ceremony entertainments. Why aim the wedding, is because wedding ceremonies in Okinawa, unparalleled outside the prefecture are filled with entertainments, music and traditional dance.

There are also Special Invitation category ; movie screenings introduces unique and richly varied movies with strong drama and comedy feel, including Japanese movies soon to be released, major and much discussed foreign films, TV Director’s Movie, where the collaborated movies between TV stations and Yoshimoto Kogyo, the largest entertainment company in Japan will be categorized independently to encourage the production of even more ambitious Japanese film made for TV. As Japan known famously producing TV movies which also shown in cinemas, the new trend of their film industry, this new category is also run in cooperation with the AEON Group where all entries are expected to be screened at AEON Cinemas nationwide.

The next is Open Air Screen, following the past 2 years where the festival sets up a world’s largest mobile outdoor screen transported from Switzerland. This category will screen around the world’s masterpieces with numbers of events where the audience will feel a unique sense of openness and freedom through overwhelming scale of cinematic experience. While the Special Screening, a category that has been around since the first year of the festival, consists of Japanese Comedy / World Comedy, which screen the classic movie selected through ages, Sakurazaka Movie College Screening where movie lecturers and guests who are professional in their own field from directors, actors, musicians, comedians and film critics will give live audio commentaries of the selected movies. Panorama Screening, movies with wider themes regardless of the genre, Short Film Screening (presented by SoftBank and Yoshimoto comedians’ directed movies) and Deru-cine, a unique movie screening where the audience can participate in the actual filming set as extras and watch their own performance afterwards.


The last four categories are Local Origination Project, a screening of Community-based movies and Jimot CM Competition, both consists of movies with the charms from each region with information, lifestyle, legend and local area, Beach Stage Event featuring trending comedy/music live stage with Okinawan Residents Participation Stage, Laugh and Peace Town ; a new name for the booth exhibits and interactive entertainment, and Okinawa Contents Bazaar, a Yoshimoto Kogyo’s showcase event to connect Asia and the world through new joint ventures with Asia’s large entertainment company.

The Complete List of Movie Screenings :
Competition :
Laugh :
Antboy (Denmark/2013/Ask Hasselbach)
One Third (Japan/2014/Hiroshi Shinagawa)
Jackass Presents : Bad Grandpa (USA/2013/Jeff Tremaline)
Ultrafast! Sankinkotai (Japan/2014/Katsuhide Motoki)
Fukrey (India/2013/Mrigdeep Singh Lamba)

One third

Peace :
Miss Granny (Korea/2014/Hwang Dong-hyeok)
The Round Table (Japan/2014/Isao Yukisada)
Fuku-chan of Fukufuku Flats (Japan/2014/Yosuke Fujita)
Bay Blues : 25 Years and 364 Days (Japan/2014/Tomohiro Takayama)
Mr. GO (Korea/2013/Yong Hwa-kim)
Fuck Me Goethe (Germany/2013/Bora Dagtekin)


Special Invitation :
Oh! Father (Japan/2014/Michihito Fujji)
Grudge Match (USA/2013/Peter Segal)
The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty (USA/2013/Ben Stiller)


TV Director’s Movie :
Furiko (Japan/2014/Norihiro Takenaga)
The Love Session (Japan/2014/Eiji Haya)
Slight Fever of 100o C : Island Breeze of Life (Japan/2014/Koichi Okamoto)
NMB48 Geinin! The Movie Returns (Japan/2014/Hidemi Uchida)
Pirameki’s Children Story (Japan/2014/Yu Ota)

Open Air Screen :
Gravity (USA/2013/Alfonso Cuaron)
Jamaica Diary : An Unbelievable True Story (Japan/2014/Kiyotaka Tamiya)


Special Screening :
Japanese Comedy :
Cold Fish (Japan/2010/Sion Sono)
Dynamite Don-Don (Japan/1978/Kihachi Okamoto)                                                                                                                                            Why Don’t You Play In Hell? (Japan/2013/Sion Sono)

World Comedy :
The Sting (USA/1973/George Roy Hill)
Duck Soup (USA/1933/Leo McCarey)

Sakurazaka University Movie Screening :
Eega (Indian/Telugu/2012/S.S. Rajamouli)
Philomena (Britain-USA-French/2013/Stephen Frears)

Panorama Screening :
Summer, Kyoto (Japan/2013/Hiroshi Toda)
Photos That Bind Us, The Disaster Area ‘Now’ (Japan/2013/Kihachi Okamoto, Takuro Watabe)
Documentary SO.ON Project (Japan/2014/Sumiko Adachi)
High School Manzai 2013 The Movie (Japan/2013/Yo Hirose)
The Burning Buddha Man (Japan/2013/Ujicha)

Owarai Life Short Film Screening :
Shrinking Man (Minowa)
Crime and Punishment (Takahashi)
Cake (Maeda)
Surpriser and Surprised (Kazutoyo Koyabu)
Benjamin Bonus (Kawashima)
Everyone’s Strawberry (Iwao)
Benchi (Murakami)
Senpai (Fujiwara)
Toome (Oi! Kyuma)

Local Origination Project :
Community-based Movies :
TOP (2014/Nozomu Kayagi)
Sunday, Suzu Decided To Whistle (2014/Atsushi Kokatsu)
Light My Fire (2014/Kyoto Kawamura)
What is the Best Life! (2014/Hirokazu Fujisawa)
Naha NAHA Nafa! (2014, Yasushi Kyan)
Tamako and Chocika’s Incantation (2014/Soichi Takayama)
Life Sucks (2014/Gori)
The Path of Kumiodori (2014/Chikako Yamashiro,/Atsushi Sunagawa)
Run Seoul Run (2014/Takashi Koshika)

The Okinawa Contents Bazaar Showcase
Along with various movie screening in Okinawa Convention Center Ginowan, Sakurazaka Theatre and local venues, the festival opens with Okinawa Contents Bazaar Showcase at Okinawa Gender Equality Center, Tiruru. This showcase event marked the expansion efforts in Asia of the festival committee, Yoshimoto Kogyo Co, Ltd, now the largest major Japanese entertainment company. After the opening addresses by the head of Okinawa International Movie Festival executive committee Mr. Hiroshi Osaki, the event continues with presentations that includes their efforts to open up asian distribution of TV shows, taking over some international movie festival from other regions in Japan, and short film production with major asian broadcasters such as TVB, Astro and Media Asia Group.


Also presenting the collaboration plans on China-Japan International Film Festival, joint production with Thailand in Japanese TV content and digitalization of Thai TV, joint program production with the South Korean Comedy Association and also insights from Hollywood regarding the latest trend in television, the event ended by the signing ceremony between Yoshimoto Kogyo, Media Asia Group Holdings (Hong Kong), led by CEO and Chairman Peter Lam and Content Land, Inc. (Hong Kong), led by Johnny Yau, known for his long time experience in Asian television industry. In this new joint-forces, Yoshimoto will build the new media platform, produce more contents with Media Asia through Content Land’s large scale of distribution, not only for various national markets in South East Asia and China, but also aiming to connect Asia to the world.


Okinawa Location Tour
This year’s Okinawa International Movie Festival also introduces shooting locations in Naha City for the community-based movie ‘Naha NAHA Nafa!’ by the filmmakers and Naha Tour Association Guide. Naha City, the prefectural capital is marked by the world heritage site including Shurijo Castle from the old capital ‘Shuri’, the Kinjo stone-paved roads to the Bingata, a coral dyed workshop studio, Tomariiyumach fish market and the street markets on the famous Kokusai-dori. As the center of Okinawa’s politics, economics and culture, this part of Okinawa is also known as a spot where both history and culture are strongly alive.


On the indie scale production as their submission to the festival, this film directed by 18 y.o. Yasushi Kyan and starred comedian Hiroki Kawata from Garage Sale with some fresh young actors, told the 3 multiverse stories set in Naha ; about a high school student and a university student who works part time at the public market in ‘Yui Yui Yui at the Public Market!’, a road movie of a high school student aiming to become a movie director which bumps with a foreign tourist and the search for a girl in an old picture in ‘Amakuma Naha Machi Long Way’ and a tale of youth beyond a character’s father’s ‘Kobujutsu’ (ancient Japanese martial arts) in ‘Shall We Kobujutsu?


The Red Carpets
Kicked off the festival with the belle of every movie festival, where artists and celebrities walked the beachfront red carpet held in Ginowan Tropical Beach, the parade started with the introduction by Yoshimoto CEO Hiroshi Osaki. Followed by the MCs Koji Imada, Ayako Kisa and Mai Sato, Okinawan musicians and dancers then performed the Eisa traditional dance among the pounding of various kinds of drums.


The red carpet, which spread 170 meters long, filled with over 50000 wildly enthusiastic crowds. 595 paraders, from the host of TV comedy, talk shows, sponsors, hugely popular character such as Kamen Rider to famous actors like Shidou Nakamura, Manami Koshiki and Mana Ashida, directors from the submitted movies including China-Korean’s famous ‘Mr. Go’ and jury members, the whole show translate a great combination between movie and art festival.


While the 2nd Red Carpet, held on the 4th day of the festival on Kokusai-dori, Naha City filled with even more audience (58.000 people) crowding the street. With the 150 m carpet length, 371 paraders (from 40 teams) and a large screen above the main stage in Tenbusu Naha Culture Hall, this was actually the first red carpet event ever held in the heart of Naha City.


This 2nd red carpet event opened by Naha City Mayor Takeshi Onaga, Hiroshi Osaki from Yoshimoto Kogyo and Kyoraku Vice Chairman Yoshinori Enomoto. Some of the most awaited were Osaka-based girl idol group NBM48 and JackassJohnny Knoxville. With the all-ages crowds celebrate, reach over barriers to greet their idols, both were truly a fascinating one!


The Open Air Screen
Like the past two years, the festival sets up the world largest mobile outdoor screen (26.65m width / 14.76m height) transported from Switzerland. Not only screen world movies, the stage also filled with number of events for the audience to experience the overwhelming scale and the sense of freedom.


For this year, with the world premiere of a non-fiction documentary about I-VAN, a reggae dancer in Okinawa, ‘Jamaica Diary : An Unbelievable True Story’, Alfonso Cuaron’s Oscar nominee ‘Gravity’ is one of the program’s highlight. Screened under the stars, this sci-fi masterpiece gets a different cinematic treatment than ones we’ve ever seen before.


In the stage event, the comedy and music live both were performed on the stage, along with the local show of talents and linked TV programs like Okinawa TV ‘X Factor’. From Okinawan artist to other popular idol groups, there were ‘Chura-ii’ Girls Up! , comedians from Yoshimoto Okinawa Entertainment College, NBM 48, The Boom, Yawaranaraba, Kiyama Shoten, I-VAN and Kariyushi 58 that sets in the annual chorus finale singing the festival’s official theme song ‘Egae No Manma’ under the fireworks.

Laugh & Peace Town
Unlike most content exhibitions in any other movie festivals, ‘Laugh & Peace Town’, previously named ‘Content Land’ is more like a celebration for both the residents of Okinawa and the visitors from all ages. In this 6th festival, in addition to booth exhibits and PR performances, the organizer also develop more interactive experience in music, games and other professional skills of hobbies with Yoshimoto performers.


And furthermore, this creatively created spaces also filled with the 800 seat ‘Laugh & Peace Town Theatre’ that feature PR, live broadcasts, program tapings and live music, along with the new ‘Mini Stages’ for Okinawa Culture Smile Club, comedic performers to workshops in a fully packed additional program for a different movie festival.

Daniel Irawan


~ by danieldokter on March 26, 2014.

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