"Waseda rules" Yubari International Film Festival
For 5 days from March 19, "Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival 2008" was held in Yubari-shi, Hokkaido. The two nominated films directed by a student and a researcher of Waseda University were shown, and one work won the Award of Governor of Hokkaido, drawing tremendous applause from audience. They fueled the film festival, which was resurrected after 2 years by citizens to cope with the city's financial collapse.
The two works were nominated among a total of 256 applications in the Off-Theater Competition Section, which is said to be the gateway to success for young film directors. The work that won the Award of Governor of Hokkaido "Seikilos-san to Watashi (Mr. Seikilos and Me)" was jointly directed by Kenji Itoso and Hiroshi Kamebuchi, who graduated from the master's course of Graduate School of Global Information and Telecommunication Studies (GITS) and are now researchers of Kohei Ando's Laboratory. They combined animation and live-action and produced a mysterious story, in which a scholar discovers a gravestone in Turk and deciphers the epitaph on it, and the will put into the gravestone 2,000 years ago and the will of the scholar cross each other, and the scholar travels between the Turk 2,000 years ago and the present age. They won the award, because their beautiful moving pictures were highly evaluated.
On the other hand, "Seishun-hakaba (Grave of Youth)" was directed and starred in by Yosuke Okuda, who graduated from Kawaguchi Art School in March 2007. Based on his actual experience, he wrote a violence action play in which two college students make a move on a young woman in a supermarket, go to her house, encounter and battle gang members. Its interesting, funny story line made audience laugh loudly and applaud from beginning to end.
Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival was initiated in 1990. French actress Anna Karina and director Quentin Tarantino also participated in this festival in the past. It is said that director Tarantino was impressed by this film festival, and named a character "Gogo Yubari" as hommage in his work "Kill Bill." The three nominees at the present festival are also expected to flourish in the movie and film-making fields.
Comment from Mr. Kenji Itoso (http://www.itoso.net/)
"Seikilos-san to Watashi (Mr. Seikilos and Me)" is the work produced based on a real story. We challenged the difficult joint directorship for this work. The two directors exchanged their senses candidly. So, we learned a lot through this work.
As this work received the "Award of the Governor of Hokkaido," I would like to express my thanks, at this opportunity, to judges, Humantrust Co., Ltd., which offered a fund for filmmaking, the staff of Nobuhiko Obayashi and the members of Ando Laboratory of GITS, who helped us during filmmaking, and other staff, who assisted us in creating this work.
Thank you very much, indeed.
I would like to keep creating works in a humble manner without becoming cocky after this evaluation, and convey my thoughts to various people.
Comment from Mr. Yosuke Okuda
Nice to meet you, everyone. I am Yosuke Okuda. This Yubari festival is the first one for me. When my movie was on screen, I was afraid of seeing your reactions, and so I hung around the town of Yubari. After the movie, one of the audience got out of the theater and approached me, and said, "Your film was interesting." Such a thing occurred many times. I got delighted, indeed. I felt dizzy. Then, I thought I want to experience such a thing again.