20 Short films you shouldn’t miss at the 15th Sapporo International Short Film Festival & Market

These are twenty short films you shouldn’t miss at the 15th Sapporo International Short Film Festival & Market (Japan) which is taking place online from October 10th – 31st, 2020.

About the festival:
The Sapporo International Short Film Festival continues to attract between 2800 and 3500 entries per year across all genres cementing its reputation as one of Japan and Asia`s largest and most respected showcases of short form cinema. The festival offers one of the best opportunities available for filmmakers looking to expose their creative works to large audiences and to submit for appraisal by high profile international jury members in the heart of the burgeoning Asian transnational film scene.

Since its inception in 2006, the festival has received more than 35,000 entries from 141 countries and boasts an average annual festival audience of more than 10,000 film enthusiasts. The high volume of entries each year allows for the curation of an extensive and diverse array of programs of both Japanese and International films of the highest quality in various competitive categories. Selected films are professionally showcased, subtitled in Japanese, and screened in state of the art cinema surrounds.

The Japanese and International programs in competition are complimented by specially curated programs by festival and industry partners from around the world, an extensive selection of off- theatre Japanese shorts programs, along with numerous industry workshops and seminars. A total of around 150-200 films are screened each year in competition and in one-off boutique programs.

Selected Films:

Air Conditioner in Panmunjeon by Taehun Lee – South Korea | 2019 – 25 minutes | Section: International Films Asia

The AC repairman who visits Panmunjeom in order to fix the air conditioner, He’s shocked when he realizes the outdoor fan was installed in North Korea…

Alien by Jegwang Yeon – South Korea | 2019 – 15 minutes
Section: International Films Asia

Reonghee and I are illegal aliens. Yesterday, Reonghee died while running away from the Immigrant Office Agents. The company we worked for is only concerned about covering up the mess. I’m going to find Reonghee, who’s body the company has hidden somewhere and give her funeral that she deserves.


Birdland by Takeshi Kogahara – Japan | 2019 – 20 minutes
Section: National Films

An old man spends the remainder of his life on his bed with an occasional visit by a caretaker. One night, he sees snow outside the window which awakens memories from his past.


Cat’s Home by Imao Shinobu – Japan | 2019 – 20 minutes
Section: National Films

Rina visits her ex-boyfriend, Hiroshi, at his apartment, where they lived together until recently. When they broke up, they once decided Hiroshi would take their cat, Eve. But now, Rina is to take the cat because Hiroshi says he has become allergic to cats. At one point, Eve runs away from the apartment, so now they must find the cat….

Creative Evolution by Song Yungsung – Japan | 2019 – 5 minutes
Section: National Films

This movie is based on the history of modern art centered on “creative evolution” written by Bergson and the birth of Delaunay’s abstract paintings. The creative worlds of Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso, Black, Delaunay and many artists are connected with each other, and the story of the evolution of new life begins.


Drowning by James Honeycutt – Japan | 2020 – 17 minutes
Section: Out of Competition – Japan Panorama

Yumi, a Japanese student, struggles to cope with the loss of her friend and an inattentive mother while juggling her last year of high school and romance.

Hikari by Yuuki Kanazawa – Japan | 2019 – 9 minutes
Section: Out of Competition – Japan Panorama

“There is no name in her mind again.” The only soothing thing of Tsukasa Kishijima, who spends days doing dispatch work, is at a coffee shop in the neighborhood. “I’m not interested in my boyfriend,” says the manager, who always tells the store manager that his eyes are…


Honey & Lemon by Keiko Umenoki – Japan | 2020 – 15 minutes
Section: Out of Competition – Japan Panorama

Single mother Misato watches over her high school daughter as she grows into womanhood. With her budding interest in wearing makeup, Misato’s little girl is no longer a child. She is growing up to be a sweet, caring young woman considerate of the well-being of the mother.


Living in Japan and Dying in Bangladesh by Fujii Shota – Japan | 2020 – 6 minutes – Section: Out of Competition – Japan Panorama

A documentary about Jerome, the most famous singer among Bangladeshi in Japan. The film depicts how he quit his job and tried his new business to build a nursing home for elderly pople in his home village in Bangladesh after spending 32 years in Japan. He ended up failing and why he didn’t stop pursuing his dream in spite of the financial difficulties.


Mekakure by Akifumi Nonaka – Japan | 2019 – 6 minutes
Section: National Films

Shun regretted this. He still can’t understand why he was playing with these four who are not really friends, nor actually people he likes.The unbearable heat and the heavy atmosphere at the shrine deepen Shun’s depression


Montage of Hong Kong by Ikuma Horii – Japan | 2020 – 28 minutes
Section: National Films

HongKong. Free city as known as “The pearl of the Orient” In 1997, Hong Kong was returned from the UK to China. Now, from control by the Chinese government, Endless protests continue throughout Hong Kong, calling for true democratization and liberation from Chinese government. Why do Hong Kong young people fight?

We interviewed people involved in the demonstration in various ways and followed their trajectory from Nov. 19, 2019 to Jan. 1, 2020. Reconstructed the records in 24 hours.


Ouroboros by Youngho Gye – South Korea | 2019 – 20 minutes
Section: Out of Competition – Horror

Min-ji wrote a screenplay at her university until mid night. One day, Min-ji hears screams.


Proxy Exam by Nakyung Kim – South Korea | 2019 – 17 minutes
Section: International Films Asia

Daughter of a North Korean defector, Hyun-joo is a stateless.Without an ID, she can’t go to school nor do anything ordinary that a teenager would do.Being unable to even attend her favorite idol’s fan meeting, Hyun-joo decides to borrow Joo-hee’s identity in exchange for taking a proxy exam.

Someone by Ai Kawamata – Japan | 2020 – 26 minutes
Section: Japan Premiere

One day, Yuko receives a divorce notice signed by her husband who had already left their apartment. Being struggling to put her stamp on it to agree to a divorce, she goes to work and makes and sells stamps for customers. She is asked by her elder sister to look after her nephew after work, and reluctantly spends half a day with him. While spending time with her nephew, Yuko starts questions herself about “not having become a mother”, “non-returnable time with her husband”, and “her own future”.

Sound of the sea by Kenichiro Ashitaka, Toshinori Watanabe – Japan | 2019 – 3 minutes – Section: Hokkaido Selection

A girl who has never seen the sea. Her childhood friend gives her the shell. “When you put your ear on the shell, you can hear the sound of waves.

Stain by Hashida Nana – Japan | 2020 – 29 minutes
Section: National Films

Yoko, who lives with her father Takashi, is spending her last summer break in senior year. One day, they receive a postcard sent by Yukiko, Takashi’s sister and Yoko’s aunt. They visit Yukiko’s house for the first time in seven years after her husband, Makoto, disappeared. On a summer’s day, the delicate hearts of each of them sway in the nostalgic sea breeze.

The camera has stopped by Yui Wakita – Japan | 2020 – 18 minutes
Section: Hokkaido Selection

Shinpei is aspired to be a film director, but his camera is still on his desk today again. Yori wants to be an actress and it was her dream to be in Shinpei’s film. Shinpei only dreams about film making, and frustrated Yori starts her own projects.

Twilight by Teppei Isobe – Japan | 2020 – 19 minutes
Section: Japan Premiere

Yumi, an office worker who is struggling with the death of her best friend in high school. She recalled that she buried a softball with her friend in the school backyard where people rumored that wishes come true if you bury something important to you. When Yumi visits her alma mater that has already been closed for the first time in seven years, she meets a boy who discovers the whole area behind the school building.

Vampire Bus Stop by Yuta Katsuyama – Japan | 2020 – 14 minutes
Section: Hokkaido Selection

The novelist was reading a book at the bus stop in search of material. There was a woman walking towards him. talking on the phone angrily.. Whenthe battery ran out and she couldn’t call, she asked the tree, “Do you have a mobile battery?”

Windup by Yibing Jiang – China, US | 2020 – 10 minutes
Section: Family & Children B

A father tries to reunite with his young daughter, whose illness has taken her inside a world of her own.


For more information about the festival and the programme please visit the festival’s website here:

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