Filmart 2012: Okinawa Fest Looks to Move Past March Disasters

Japan Topic Page 2011
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A ship washed inland by the March 11 tsunami sits in an open area covered with debris in the city of Kesennuma in Miyagi prefecture on March 16, 2011. Japan's Emperor Akihito delivered a rare address to a jittery nation in dread of nuclear catastrophe on March 16 as millions struggled in desperate conditions after quake and tsunami disasters.

The 4th installment of the Japanese island event seeks to emulate the feel of the Festival de Cannes.


The 4th Okinawa International Movie Festival, organized by talent management agency Yoshimoto Kogyo, will unspool with its ‘Laugh & Peace’ slogan on the tropical Japanese island from March 24 to 31.

“Our president Hiroshi Osaki visited Cannes and wanted to create a festival with a similar feel in the sunshine by the beach, in Japan,” Ryutaro Ko, Yoshimoto’s head of Asia, told The Hollywood Reporter during Hong Kong Filmart.

Okinawa, which is closer to Taiwan than it is to Tokyo, is easily accessible from Asian countries, pointed out Ko.

Despite being held immediately after the giant earthquake and tsunami in March last year, the festival attracted a total of 370,000 admissions to its events. The organizers said they hoped to cheer the country up in the aftermath of the disasters and proceeds from a number of charity events during the festival were donated to the affected areas on Japan’s northeast coast.

The fest also launched a Contents Bazaar last year, which will run on March 25 and 26 at this edition. Yoshimoto hopes the market will spur international deals, particularly between American and Japanese TV producers.

“The target is to reach 400,000 visits this year over the eight days,” said Ko. “We aim for a real festival atmosphere and many of our visitors come half for the events and half to relax and enjoy the island.”