REPORT2019.04.2111th OIMF Comes to a Close

The 11th Okinawan International Movie Festival officially came to an end in the evening on Sunday, April 21 with a closing ceremony. Filmmakers and film fans alike filled the scenic Umisora Park to see some of the highlights of the festival. The evening kicked off with a high-energy performance by the Nishihara High School Marching Band, which thrilled the crowed with its expert playing and dancing.

The MCs were the Yoshimoto Kogyo comedy duo Garage Sale. They expressed their thanks for the good weather during the four-day festival, remembering that last year actors and actresses that had come from Tokyo and abroad got soaked on the red carpet. They said that the weather was perfect for the closing ceremony, with no rain and not too much sun.

Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki sent a message expressing his thanks for the festival, explaining that it has helped increase the number of tourists coming to Okinawa and has contributed to the local economy.

Naha Mayor Mikiko Shiroma expressed her thanks not only for the organizer of the festival, Hiroshi Osaki of Yoshimoto Kogyo, but also to everyone involved, including the many volunteers and audience members. She also vowed to work to make next year’s festival even better so it can promote all regions of Okinawa. Gori of Garage Sale added that Osaki has pledged to hold 100 editions of the festival, so they still need to hold 89 more.

Then it was time for the awards to be presented. Veteran actor Eiji Okuda presented the Audience Choice Awards. The Japanese film “How to Bring Women Back Into A Good Humor” was selected by audiences as their favorite. The comedy centers on a couples who arguments about their wedding plans push them to the brink of calling it all off. Accepting his trophy, director Shusuke Arita said “if there are men who are not getting along with their wives and are thinking about getting a divorce, seeing this movie can make them change their minds.”

The Jimot CM Awards are given to the best 30-second films presenting one or more of the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals in a specific locale. The winner in the Okinawa section was a video from the city of Uruma, which is about a local leader who teaches children about the importance of life. The prize for all other regions of Japan went to a video from the city of Hiroshima that introduces a restaurant owner who has spent decades cooking free nutritious meals for kids. Top honors in the international sections went to Ougon Jidai (“Golden Age”) a Yoshimoto comedy duo based in the Philippines, where they made a video showing that humans don’t mind throwing trash in the oceans where fish eat, but wouldn’t like it if people threw garbage into their food.

Next came awards for the Creators Factory U-25 Competition, which accepted submissions from filmmakers 25 or younger, since they rarely have a chance to participate in film festivals. “Trash,” a sci-fi story set in the 26th century, won both the Audience Award and one of the Special Jury Prizes. The other Special Jury Prize went to “Filament,” which explores the concept of a “hero.” The Grand Prize went to “Nana-chan,” which depicts the last day of high school life for a boy and a girl.

The audience then watched a video clip featuring many of the celebrities who visited the festival and set to the song “Egao no Manma” (“Always with a Smile”) which is the theme song of the Okinawa International Movie Festival.

Finally, Hiroshi Osaki appeared to thank everyone for joining the festival. And he announced the dates for next year’s festival. The 12th Okinawa International Movie Festival will run April 16th-19th, 2020, giving fans of movies and Okinawa something to look forward to.

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