2023 Overview


The 20th edition of the SKIP CITY INTERNATIONAL D-Cinema FESTIVAL was held as a hybrid festival like last year both on screens over 9 days from Saturday, July 15, to Sunday, July 23 and virtually over 5 days from Saturday, July 22, to Wednesday, July 26.


The Opening Gala film, Confetti, a refreshing friendship drama produced to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the film festival and the 90th anniversary of the establishment of Kawaguchi City, had its world-premiere. The film is the feature debut of Director Naoya Fujita, whose short film Stay won the Best Picture in the Japanese Short Film Competition at the film festival in 2020 and was later released in theaters. Shion Matsufuji, Sara Hayama, and Reiko Takashima, who appeared in the film, gave a stage greeting before the screening to kick off the film festival lavishly.


The films competed in three categories, the International Competition, the Japanese Feature Film Competition and the Japanese Short Film Competition. We received a total of 1,246 entries from 102 different countries and regions. From these, 10 international competition, 6 Japanese feature competition and 8 Japanese short competition films were screened. Film producer Masao Teshima for the International Competition and Director Ryota Nakano for the Japanese Film Competition led the Jury, and the Jury members decided the award winners.


During the festival term, guests including directors and producers from Japan and around the world attended the festival and took part in post-screening Q&A sessions and talk events, and video interviews with the guests who couldn’t come to Japan were also screened. The audience could interact with the filmmakers and experience the merits of the film festival.


Two special screenings were held this year. One was a screening titled “SKIP CITY Alumni Reunion”. We invited five directors who participated in past editions of the festival and are active both domestically and internationally to return to the festival, and held a talk event after each screening of their latest films to look back on their progress thus far.


The other was titled “New Wave of Chinese Cinema~KATSUBEN Selection~”. As a joint program with the film review and information web channel “Katsuben Cinema Club”, we screened A New Old Play, which is the first fiction feature film directed by a prodigy, Jiongjiong Qiu and is hailed as one of the best Chinese films in recent years, as its Japan Premiere.




We also organized three other related events. In “Camera Crayon”, the films, which were produced by children at the Audio Visual Learning Program organized by the SKIP CITY Sai-no-Kuni Visual Plaza as well as by Kawaguchi Kids Movie Club, were screened. After the screening, the professional audiovisual artists and filmmakers evaluated the films. In the “Barrier Free Screening”, Small, Slow But Steady directed by Sho Miyake was screened with Japanese subtitles and hearing guides for the hard-of-hearing and those with low vision. The film received Best Film at the 96th Kinema Junpo Best Ten and Best Actress at the 46th Japan Academy Film Prize. In addition, the “Outdoor Screenings” program was resumed for the first time in four years, the animations produced by an Irish studio, Cartoon Saloon, The Secret of Kells and "Puffin Rock" were screened. Both children and adults could enjoy the films.


As for the online screening, in line with previous years and with the cooperation of the streaming website “CINEMA DISCOVERIES”, all 24 films in the competition sections were streamed on the custom-made page for the festival.


The awards ceremony was held on Sunday, July 23, which was the last day of the festival. In the International Competition, When the Seedlings Grow (Syria), directed by Rêger Azad Kaya, received the Grand Prize. I Woke Up with a Dream (Argentina, Uruguay), directed by Pablo Solarz, received the Best Director and Six Weeks (Hungary) directed by Noémi Veronika Szakonyi won the Special Jury Prize. The Audience Award chosen by audience votes went to Midwives (France) directed by Léa Fehner.


In the Japanese Film Competition, Alien’s Daydream (Japan) directed by Yoshiki Matsumoto received the SKIP CITY AWARD which is given to a Japanese filmmaker whose next feature project is highly anticipated from all Japanese films in the International Competition and the Japanese Film Competition as well as the Best Picture in the Japanese Feature Length section. In the Japanese Short Length section, Hunting Results (Japan) directed by Minami Ikemoto received the Best Picture and Mimic (Japan) directed by Akihiro Takahama received the Special Mention. Meanwhile, Hierophanie (Japan) directed by Kazuomi Makita in the Feature Length section and Don’t Go (Japan) directed by Daichi Amano in the Short Length section received the Audience Award.


The 2023 edition concluded with great success with 7,736 admissions in theaters and 3,657 streaming viewings. The Festival will continue to try to discover new talent as a gateway to the further success of young filmmakers and to become a festival for spreading the joyful experience of cinema to the audience.


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