2019 Overview


The 16th edition of the SKIP CITY INTERNATIONAL D-Cinema FESTIVAL 2019 was held over 9 days from Saturday, July 13, to Sunday, July 21 at SKIP CITY in Kawaguchi, Saitama and other venues. It featured not only competition sections as the festival's centerpiece but also special programs.


The opening gala film, Aesop’s Game, directed by three directors, Naoya Asanuma, Shinichiro Ueda and Yuya Nakaizumi, had its world premiere. All three are emerging directors whose films were nominated in the festival’s previous editions. Saitama Prefecture and SKIP CITY Sai-no-Kuni Visual Plaza co-produced the film as a way to help discover and nurture young talent. Cast members Ruka Ishikawa, Hiroe Igeta, Guammer, Yuichiro Saito and Hinako Saeki as well as the three directors attended the screening and greeted the audience. The film opened the festival with a glamorous atmosphere.


The films competed in in three categories, the International Competition, the Japanese Film Feature Competition and the Japanese Film Short Competition. We received a total of 861 entries from the record number of 92 different countries and regions. From these, 10 international competition, 5 Japanese feature competition and 9 Japanese short competition films were screened. 4 feature films and 4 short films in the Japanese competition had their world premiere screening at the festival. Many guests including directors, producers and cast members from around the world attended the festival and took part in Q&A sessions with the audiences. Takashi Miike for the International Competition and Naoko Ogigami for the Japanese Film Competition led the Jury. It must have been encouraging for the young filmmakers who participated in the festival.




This year’s special screening program was “The First Steps of Top Runners”, featured the theatrical debut films from four renowned directors; George Lucas, Clint Eastwood, Steven Soderbergh and Takashi Miike. Naoto Okamura, from “Asa 10” Film Festival Committee, attended post-screening event of Play Misty for Me, while Director Takashi Miike, Actor Kippei Shiina, Producer (our festival director) Tsutomu Tsuchikawa talked after the screening of Shinjuku Triad Society. They covered topics like the background of the film and intriguing episodes from the film shoots. The box-office success One Cut of the Dead, which featured many scenes shot in SKIP CITY, was screened as a barrier-free screening with Japanese subtitles and hearing guides for the hard-of-hearing and those with low vision and attracted a large audience.


We also organized other related events and a new program. In “Camera Crayon”, films produced by Kawaguchi Kids Movie Club as well as the best works which were produced by elementary-school students at the TV Program Workshop were screened. In “Mama Theater”, mothers with babies enjoyed the screening. “Made in SKIP CITY”, screenings of works made by filmmakers based in SKIP CITY Sai-no-Kuni Visual Plaza, presented a short film on an innovative 180-degree dome-shaped screen. The festival has been putting a spotlight on new technology since the first edition in 2004 and this new program showed the evolution of cinema to the audience. In “Screenings of Films Shot in Saitama”, two films shot in Saitama were screened at Media Seven located in front of JR Kawaguchi Station. Both screenings played to a full house.


The closing ceremony was held on Sunday, July 21. The Tower (Norway, France, Sweden), directed by Mats Grorud, received the Grand Prize as well as the Audience Award in the International Competition. It is the first feature animation to be nominated in the festival’s main competition. Sacrifice (Japan) directed by Taku Tsuboi and The Distant Light (Japan) directed by Tatsuya Utsuno received the Best Picture in the feature length and short length categories respectively, of the Japanese Film Competition. F is for Future (Japan), directed by Teppei Isobe, received the SKIP CITY AWARD which is given to a Japanese filmmaker whose next feature project is highly anticipated. Isobe received awards two years in a row as he’d previously received the Best Picture in the short length category of the Japanese Film Competition with Who Knows about My Life.


The 2019 edition concluded with great success with visitor numbers totaling 49,020 people. The 2019 edition of the Festival was held as a gateway to the further success of young filmmakers into the world and as a festival for spreading the joyful experience of cinema to the audience.


◊ page top ◊