Report2018.04.22New Innovations to the 10th Okinawa Movie Festival

The 10th Okinawa International Movie Festival ended Sunday, showcasing its strength as an important gateway to Asian film and as a socially responsible actor.

More than ninety percent of the line-up during the three-day event were films from Asia—China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Taiwan as well as many from Japan. The films depicted their countries past histories and changes brought about by rapid economic growth that has led to social and cultural changes. Theatres across the main island were filled with local and foreign spectators. Natsuko Tomarin saw six films during the fest. “I enjoyed every moment and learned so much about Asia,” said the university student who hails from Naha and wants to be a filmmaker herself. She echoed a common sentiment in the city where people wait eagerly for the festival each year.

Yoshimoto Kogyo chose Okinawa for the film festival due to its tremendous untapped potential. CEO Hiroshi Osaki has steered the 105-year-old company into the international arena by linking comedy, the mainstay of the firm’s business, with diverse fields such as film festivals, education and socially responsible business.

Okinawa is the happy benefactor of this company effort. The Okinawa Movie festival in Japan’s southernmost prefecture has earned a name for itself among aspiring moviemakers in Asia. The fest has raised and diversified the prefecture’s international profile not only as a tourist destination for turquoise blue oceans and golden beaches, but also as a place to watch wonderful Asian movies during the annual event. This year Yoshimoto launched an entertainment school in Naha where students study in 2-year courses with concentrations on acting, dancing, performing, filmmaking and animation, among other fields.

Also, a striking new addition to the film festival this year was the inclusion of 5-minute trailers screened at the beginning of every movie. Comedic in tone, the blurbs showcased the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), more evidence of Yoshimoto bringing film into the international social arena.