Little Miss Sumo

Japanese Focus

Japan features prominently in the minds of New Zealanders this year with the forthcoming Rugby World Cup, Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

We too are bringing Japanese culture into the spotlight by partnering with the Asia New Zealand Foundation, the Japan Foundation and the Embassy of Japan for this year’s Show Me Shorts Film Festival.  When our Festival opens at cinemas across the country on 5 October, audiences in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch will get the opportunity to experience a selection of top short films from Japan.

Seven Japanese short films will feature in the Japanese Focus section of our 2019 Festival. They are Prowler by Toshiharu Yaegashi, The Broom by Yo Kohatsu, Little Miss Sumo by Matt Kay, Boze by Fuyuko Mochizuki, Beard and Raincoat by Kimi Yawata, My Little Goat by Tomoki Misato, and Robu by Kai Hasson.

The seven short films in this collection explore the lives of modern Japanese – their concerns, fears, hopes and dreams. Also animated goats, a comedic search for coins, an obsession with beards, a manga comic book coming to life, a twisted fairy tale, and a documentary about sumo wrestling women. The shorts demonstrate the wide breadth of new filmmaking talent in Japan’s creative sector.

We, along with the Asia New Zealand Foundation, the Japan Foundation and the Embassy of Japan are proud to be hosting a delegation of Japanese film industry representatives during the Festival.

Filmmaker Fuyuko Mochizuki will introduce the world premiere of his film Boze at the Japanese Focus launch in Auckland. He will also take part in a pōwhiri welcoming ceremony, the official Opening Night and Awards Ceremony on 5 October, and a moderated Short Film Talk discussing how he made his film. Kimi Yawata will attend Wellington Opening Night, speak about her filmmaking journey at the Short Film Talk and Japanese Focus special events in Wellington, plus other networking events.

The delegation also includes programmer Eiji Shimada from Sapporo International Short Film Festival & Market who will be part of our national awards jury. Sapporo International Short Film Festival is one of Japan and Asia’s largest and most respected showcases of short form cinema.

“It is wonderful that Japan’s short films will be showcased for Show Me Shorts. With the ability to draw viewers into the world being portrayed, films are an excellent form of cultural exchange and I am sure that through these short films, people will be able to connect with Japanese culture in a meaningful way. I hope that you will learn, appreciate, and enjoy new aspects of Japan by watching these short films.” – H.E. Mr Hiroyasu Kobayashi, the Ambassador of Japan

“We’re really excited to be supporting this project,” says Asia New Zealand Foundation arts director Craig Cooper. “The films that Show Me Shorts have selected perfectly represent the diversity and depth of the filmmaking coming out of Japan. Audiences will no doubt leave feeling challenged, empowered, joyful or even unsettled by these cutting-edge works.”

The Japanese Focus section of the programme will screen at Rialto Newmarket in Auckland, Light House Cuba in Wellington and Alice in Christchurch.

There will be special events to launch the premiere of the Japanese Focus short films in Auckland and Wellington:

  • 5:45pm for 6:30pm films start on Wednesday 9 October at Rialto Cinemas Newmarket in Auckland.
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  • 5:30pm for 6:15pm films start on Wednesday 16 October at Light House Cuba in Wellington.
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These events will include a pre-screening networking event with complimentary drinks. The films will be introduced by Festival staff and one of the visiting filmmakers will stay for a Q&A after the screening.

Tickets to the Japanese Focus screenings in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch are now on sale from the cinema websites.

The full programme for the 2019 Show Me Shorts Film Festival will be announced on 5 September.