Daily Report Day 2. October 14 Kyoto International Film and Art Festival
The Kyoto International Film and Art Festival started off Day 2, October 14, with a major announcement from Yoshimoto Kogyo. It has launched an Original Writing Development Project that will offer ordinary people the chance to publish their work, and win awards.
Yoshimoto Kogyo will collaborate with Kindle Direct Publishing (a service where users can directly publish their novels), Storys.jp (a website where writers can upload their personal stories), and Mediabang! (a manga comic creation site that offers free manga creation software) to offer awards on these platforms and promote creators from each of them.
For each winner Yoshimoto Kogyo will establish publishing opportunities via exclusive sales of physical books and e-books. It is possible these works could be used to create film or television scripts that would be distributed via Amazon Prime Video.
Each award will be promoted by Yoshimoto Kogyo’s two international film festivals, the Kyoto International Film and Art Festival (KIFF) and the Okinawa International Movie Festival (OIMF). Awards ceremonies and premiers of the visual work will take place during these high-profile events.
The Original Writing Development Project was created to maximize the power of original writing in this new era of online tools and promotion. It will take advantage of all the talented people who have not had an opportunity to have their work seen because they did not have a publisher or a PR agent. Yoshimoto will collaborate with the major partners mentioned to create a vibrant and visible platform for writers and creators to get their work seen and appreciated. This project will offer creative people a chance to reach millions of fans and generate hit contents, whether it be books, manga or film/TV/video. The vision of this inventive program is to find new ways to discover strong work and talented people who can meet the market demand, both internationally and domestically, for great new content.
Day 2 saw the screening of the touching Japan-Philippines coproduction Tomodachi in the morning at Aeon Cinema Kyoto Katsuragawa. This powerful work is based on a true story about a Japanese man, Toshiro, living in the Philippines just prior to WWII. He and Rosalinda, a lovely Filipina, fall in love but historical events keep them apart, turning their love to tragedy. Versatile actor/director/producer Jackie Wu portrayed the good-hearted Toshiro while up-and-coming Filipina actress Bela Padilla played the part of Rosalinda.
The work is hot item on the film festival circuit. After its Japan premiere at KIFF it will screen at the Berlin Art Film Festival and the Milano Film Festival in Italy.
Told in flashback fashion when Toshiro visits the Philippines many years later, we see the development of Toshiro’s strong bonds with the local community and his relationship build with Rosalinda. When the war tears them apart and then returns Toshiro to the country in the role of soldier the scenario is wrought with tension.
The film touches on cross-cultural themes and Wu explained “For me the most important thing about this story is that it is based on pure love between the two people. I really wanted to depict this pure love.”
In the afternoon KIFF offered a special treat. Hongan-ji temple, established in 1321, played host to a screening of Charlie Chaplin classic “Limelight” (1952), part of KIFF’s focus on silent movies.
Chaplin has been called the King of Comedy, and the world’s first great movie star, so much so that nearly 100 years after his career began, The Chaplin Society of Japan continues to promote his works, and its President Hiroyuki Ono explained the influence of Chaplin before the screening inside Nishi Hongan-ji temple.
A fan of Chaplin since watching “The Great Dictator” when he was ten, Ono explained that "there are many films that make you laugh, and there are many films that move you, but at the same time, Chaplin’s films make you laugh and burst in to tears."
Limelight featured an appearance by Buster Keaton, and is considered a highly personal work for Chaplin, yet due to the Englishman’s visa issues in the US at the time, went largely unnoticed in that country. It has since been re-evaluated as one of his finest films. Nishi Hongan-ji made for a timeless setting for the film. The largest of the Jodo Shinshu (Pure Land Buddhism) temples, it houses numerous national treasures of Japan, as well as four Noh stages, one of which is considered the oldest still in existence.