The Opening Ceremony


            In the middle of the beautiful autumn colors in Kyoto, at the Gion Kobu Kaburenjo Theatre in Gion district, October 16th 2014, the first ‘Kyoto International Film and Art Festival’ opened with 125 guests including French actress Iréne Jacob and Japanese film industry’s big names such as Fumi Nokaido (actress, ‘Why Don’t You Play in Hell’) and Kiki Sugino (actress, producer and director, ‘Kyoto Elegy’) walked along the red carpets attended by more than 900 audience.

            Iréne Jacob, who’s lately been around in Japan during a theatrical tour of ‘La Metamorphose version Androide’, Franz Kafka’s ‘The Metamorphosis’ play adaptation whom she worked with acclaimed Japanese director Oriza Hirata and leading roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro, will be receiving ‘Most Respected Filmmaker from Paris’ based on the friendship city treaty between Kyoto and Paris.

            The opening ceremony filled with the elegant and fascinating traditional dance show by Maiko and Geiko in Gion Kobu, and some introduction speech of its stakeholders. The executive producer of the festival, Mr. Kazuyoshi Okuyama, who recently became the head of Yoshimoto Kogyo’s Katsu-do Co., a new production and distribution division, expressed his excitements about the relaunch of this potential festival, bringing Japanese movies back to where they were first introduced in Japan.

            Okuyama also recalled his personal relationship with Japanese veteran director and his personal mentor, Kinji Fukasaku (‘Satomi Hakkenden’/ ‘The Legend of 8 Samurai’, 1983) about the point of revolution is always based by tradition. Director Sadao Nakajima, the chairman of the festival then gave his insights in the hope to restore this roots, where Kyoto once again could became a center of Japanese movie industry.

gion kobu kaburenjo

            The legendary Clint Eastwood, this year’s recipient of KIFF’s Most Respected Award for renowned actors and directors, expressed his support through a little thankful note, an acceptance message that said “It’s especially gratifying to be recognized by the film community in Kyoto. The support you’ve given us over the years is much appreciated, and though we’re currently in post-production on ‘American Sniper’ (an upcoming Eastwood’s film starred Bradley Cooper in the title role), we wanted to send along our sincerest thanks for this wonderful tribute”.

            With more than 15 venues including Yoshimoto Gion Kagetsu for classic film screening, the newly opened AEON Cinema in AEON Mall Katsuragawa for the main section, in total 48 film screenings, and the rest, including Hotel Anteroom Kyoto, Kyoto City University of Arts Gallery (KCUA), Kyoto City Hall Square, Former Rissei Elementary School, The Museum of Kyoto, Ooe Nogakudo and Kyoto Station Building for various art exhibitions, Yoshimoto Kogyo has began their attempts. To restore Kyoto existence in the cinema industry, like Okuyama said, not only by providing the platform to show classic films where one can always learn from the archives, the main goal lies in discovering a new and promising talents.

The Final Result

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            While the awarding and closing ceremony was ready to take places in the evening of October 19th 2014, the last day of the festival still packed with events. The screening of Creator’s Factory’s semifinal was held in Oe Nogakudou, while some lineups in TV Director’s Movie still screened in Katsuragawa. But the largest crowd can be seen in Yoshimoto Gion Kagetsu, with the screening of two Toshiro Mifune’s classic, the 1950’s ‘Rashomon’ and the 1966’s ‘Samurai Banners / Furin Kazan’.

            ‘The Shozo Makino Award’ was given to Daisaku Kimura, Japanese veteran cinematographer and director, while the newly established ‘Toshiro Mifune Award’ was given to Japanese actor Koji Yakusho, who did many notable works both in local and overseas film industry. As Okuyama said, the voters of this long-planned award, celebrating Mifune as the first Japan actor who received the international status, were very careful about choosing a recipient over some candidates.

            The award for Koji Yakusho was presented by Mrs. Teruyo Nogami, script supervisor in most Akira Kurosawa’s works, now 82 years old, while a signature scarf made by the Tokyo-based French artist Michail Gkinis, also a jury for this year’s Creator’s Factory, handed to him by the son of Toshiro Mifune, Shiro Mifune, along with traditionally artful flowers and small local trees.


            Expressing his thoughts on the festival, Yakusho said that he hopes the festival could grow well in the newly international concept, making Kyoto becomes Hollywood of Japan that once considered. He also said that he was very surprised at first when asked to receive this award. “I never thought I was qualified enough by such honorable with the name as big as Toshiro-san. However, I respect him very much so I decided no matter what people say and think, this is something I had to accept. If we can see the film business as the Olympics, Toshiro Mifune must’ve been the one to receive most gold medals among all. By receiving this award, I personally think that this award should be pushing myself more and more in my future carreer. Thank you very much”. At the end of the awarding ceremony, they did a little retrospective talk remembering Toshiro Mifune’s carreer, from being Akira Kurosawa’s first choice, mostly, to his involvement in European or Hollywood movies.

            The Most Respected Award given to Clint Eastwood and Irene Jacob still handed symbolically, along with the winners of Creator’s Factory in three category ; film section for Aki Yamamoto, Art Section for Yuki Harada  and Kids’ Art for Chiho Matsuo. Comes from different age and background, the winners of the Creator’s Factory were all women, thus before wrapping the whole event with Sadao Nakajima, Okuyama said that this is becoming an era of woman as filmmakers.

             By the data collected until before the closing ceremony, with the total 48 films and 120 various art exhibitions, the total number of admission has reached about 40.000 people. This is not bad for the first attempt to relaunch a local festival in its international status, but surely, for the next event, the Kyoto International Film and Art Festival should be bigger than this, and as well getting more and more attention throughout the world. (dan)


~ by danieldokter on October 20, 2014.

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