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10 Short Films you shouldn’t miss at the 16th Osaka Asian Film Festival

These are ten short films you shouldn’t miss at the 16th Osaka Asian Film Festival, which will take place on cinemas from March 5th – 14th and online from February 28th – March 20th (selected films from previous editions).

About the festival:
The Osaka Asian Film Festival (OAFF) aims to facilitate human resources development and exchange, to invigorate the Osaka economy, and to increase the city’s appeal, through providing opportunities to watch excellent Asian films, supporting filmmaking in Osaka and attracting filmmakers from Asian countries and regions to Osaka.

Marking its 16th edition this year, OAFF, under programming director TERUOKA Sozo (暉峻創三), will again select high-quality Asian films. The Competition section, which receives increased recognition every year, will again select films previously unreleased in Japan. The Indie Forum section, special programs and other sections will also feature a wide variety of excellent Asian films.

Selected Short Films:

A Rainbow-colored Trip by Imaoka Shinji – Japan | 2021 – 39 minutes
Section: Indie Forum | World Premiere

What should be a fun family holiday is the source of anxiety for Haruka (SAKURAI Yuune), a schoolgirl (fifth grader) whose parents, Nobutaka (KOBAYASHI Ryujyu) and Kumiko (OGINO Yuri), are about to divorce. The atmosphere is terrible around them as they are in constant conflict and so Haruka goes deep into the forest that surrounds the campsite alone to escape them. She has another reason for going and that is to make it to a special waterfall where she can make a wish come true. On the way, she meets a boy the same age as her and they both arrive at the waterfall where Haruka makes a wish for her family to start over. Will her wish come true? (OAFF 2021)

Cast: Sakurai Yuune, Ogino Yuri, Kobayashi Ryujyu, Saiuchi Outa

Screening Date:
March 6th, 2021 (Saturday) | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 18:45 pm
March 11th, 2021 (Thursday) | Cine Libre Umeda 3 | 16:15 pm

Boundaries by Fukuchi Rico – Japan | 2020 – 20 minutes
Section: Housen Cultural Foundation | Japan Premiere

In this 20-minute sci-fi short, it is the year 2078 and the main island of Okinawa has been devastated by a disaster. The habitable land has been divided between a “safe area” for Americans and the wealthy, and a lawless city outside. Three kids from the safe area, tired of their peaceful lives, venture out into the urban wilderness, drawn by the promise of adventure and relics of a bygone age.

A dialogue-free story where the environmental details and ambience of the locations – an abandoned city, lush island topography, the ocean – and the look and behaviour of the characters do the talking, this is an intriguing experience where dystopian themes of pollution and hyper-surveillance, reminiscent of the film “THX 1138”, wash against a yearning for simpler cleaner times. [Jason Maher – OAFF 2021]

Cast: Taira Yuma, Tanaka Ryosuke, Aytikin Yarmuhemmed

Screening Date:
March 9th, 2021 (Tuesday) | ABC Hall | 13:20 pm

Excuse Me Miss, Miss, Miss by Sonny Calvento – Philippines | 2019 – 16 minutes
Section: New Action! Southeast Asia | Japan Premiere

What if the impossible is the only way to have a work-life balance? This is the speculation that funny comedy “Excuse Me, Miss Miss Miss” which begins as a neat satire of the ways capitalism makes us wage-slaves before transforming into a nightmarish fantasy of corporate life.

Vangie (Phyllis GRANDE) is a contracted sales lady stuck in retail hell at Trendysitas (trendy mall). She is one of a number of staff labouring under oppressive rules of conduct and appearance and an impossible workload as enforced by the high-achieving ma’am Charo (Angelina KANAPI), a manager who seems to be the very definition of corporate perfection. With her neatly coiffed hair and a stunning red dress (and more than a whiff of sulfur about her) ma’am Charo seems to be everywhere as she relentlessly strides around the shop floor and barks orders at the workers whilst appeasing customers. When Vangie gets on the wrong side of her boss, she has to beg for forgiveness and this is when she discovers the ultimate jaw-dropping secret to regularisation. [Jason Maher – OAFF 2021]

Cast: Phyllis Grande, Mailes Kanapi, Bob Jbeili

Screening Date:
March 9th, 2021 (Tuesday) | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 16:10 pm
March 12th, 2021 (Friday) | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 10:15 am

Trailer:

Green Grass, Pale Fire by Huang Yin-yu – Taiwan, Japan | 2021 – 21 minutes
Section: Taiwan: Movies on the Move, Classic and Contemporary | World Premiere

The film is a reenactment based on true historical events. It takes place in the 1930s on one of the outlying islands of the Japanese Empire. We follow a band of “PINGINUMU,” or escapees, who attempt to flee from the infamous “Green Jail” coal mine. They then lose their way in the tropical jungle…

It is a harrowing watch as these escapees suffer from starvation and run the risk of being beaten up if caught. If lucky, they can swim to the nearby shore and regain freedom from the nightmare but the film takes a supernatural bent to show that for some these people, there was no escape. It is said that after the war, locals of the island have witnessed the miners’ ghosts wandering about, as if they are poor souls that lost direction. [Jason Maher – OAFF 2021]

Cast: Atom Lai, Felis Chen, Lee Guo-Chiang

Screening Date:
March 6th, 2021 (Saturday) | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 18:45 pm
March 11th, 2021 (Thursday) | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 16:15 pm

Hope by Wallace Feng – China | 2020 – 21 minutes
Section: Spotlight | International Premiere

One of the effects of Covid-19 is the exposure of just how fragile links between people, businesses, and communities become in every country around the world. People lose jobs, they are trapped because travel is restricted, and some are left isolated. This is the reality faced by Wang Yan (ZHAO Siyuan), a pedicurist whose boss wants to shut down the salon. She tries her best to keep it open but there are few customers. There is one persistent visitor, a young mute boy named Xiao Tao (LIU Haotian) who seems to have been left to his own devices. Some view him as an irritant as he hangs around the salon watching the people inside but his presence may provide a solution to the lack of customers…

Director Wallace FENG depicts our present reality of fragmenting ties in his film, a story set in a town where everything has been affected by the pandemic, but he also offers some hope in showing how bonds can be formed and solidarity with others can lift up people and even save lives. [Jason Maher – OAFF 2021]

Cast: Zhao Siyuan, Liu Haotian, Hu Dan, Wang Huan, Cheng Zihan

Screening Date:
March 9th, 2021 (Tuesday) | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 16:10 pm
March 12th, 2021 (Friday) | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 10:15 pm

Trailer:

In-young’s Camcorder by Oh Jeong-seon – South Korea | 2020 – 23 minutes
Section: Spotlight | International Premiere

In-young (IM Yeong-ju) and Jeong-eun (JOO Ga-young) are two besties who are going camping for their last winter trip together just before their senior year in college. In anticipation of the trip, In-young has dug out the camcorder she used as a child to keep a record of her life, and she uses it on the trip to shoot the things that she likes such as the landscape and, maybe unconsciously, Jeong-eun whose appearance on the viewfinder is near constant. In-young’s behaviour catches the attention of Jeong-eun…

This subtle work from OH Jeong-seon captures ephemeral emotions of love and loss as two friends on the verge of big changes feel the boundaries of their relationship. [Jason Maher – OAFF 2021]

Cast: Im Yeong-ju, Joo Ga-young, Jeong Gyeon-ga

Screening Date:
March 12th, 2021 (Friday) | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 12:15 pm
March 14th, 2021 (Sunday) | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 12:15 pm

Morning Elsewhere by Han Feng Yu – Singapore | 2021 – 30 minutes
Section: New Action! Southeast Asia | World Premiere

For reasons she keeps secret, a young woman named Fei (Nancy YUAN) has embarked on a dangerous pursuit of vengeance as she puts herself forward as a drug mule for a gang. She certainly shows grit but her naive heroism places her in a potentially lethal situation. However, an unexpected companion offers a salve to her hidden agony through a familiar warmth.

A simple story told with commitment by the cast and concise direction allows the film to cycle through crime film cliches to become its own original work as it takes an unexpected turn and plumbs the depths of contrition to end on a bittersweet note. [Jason Maher – OAFF 2021]

Cast: Nancy Yuan, Wang Ziqi, Johnny Ng, Peter Tian

Screening Date:
March 9th, 2021 (Tuesday) | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 16:10 pm
March 12th, 2021 (Friday) | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 10:15 am

Trailer:

Naked Bulb by Zoljargal Purevdash – Mongolia | 2020 – 18 minutes
Section: Spotlight | World Premiere

We watch a few days in the life of a writer (Nomin BATBAYAR) who lives with her daughter in a rented apartment while her husband is away. He is only seen via video calls because he has emigrated to South Korea for work. While the husband is absent, the wife must maintain the apartment and it’s a lonely job, a feeling reinforced when the bathroom light bulb breaks, she finds she cannot fix it and has her landlord look at it to fix that along with a broken window. When the landlord does show up, what the wife gets is a charming middle-aged man (Tamir NARMANDAKH) who she becomes infatuated with…

The sexual frustrations of a young mother are illuminated in this short film set in Mongolia where some symbolism and sensitive framing get across feelings of aching desire and guilt that radiate from the strong performances of the cast. This short comes from the director’s examination of her own experiences of being separated from her husband when he worked for two years in Japan. Through the drama, she questions how relationships change over long distance relationships and the responsibility each partner has in maintaining intimacy. [Jason Maher – OAFF 2021]

Cast: Nomin Batbayar, Tamir Narmandakh

Screening Date:
March 12th, 2021 (Friday) | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 12:15 pm
March 14th, 2021 (Sunday) | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 12:15 pm

Night is Young by Kwok Zune – Hong Kong | 2020 – 26 minutes
Section: Special Focus on Hong Kong 2021 | Japan Premiere

Since June 2019, Hong Kong has been in the grip of political violence. Protests and police brutality fill the city’s streets as people fight for democracy. This powerful fiction short presents different viewpoints of current events through a jaded taxi driver (Peter CHOI) who picks up, observes, and converses with random passengers over the course of a long and tumultuous night shift.

Highly relevant to Hong Kong’s current social unrest, this film is a perfect entry point into understanding and experiencing some of the complexity and emotions involved. It has been recognised for at different festivals and awards such as Kaohsiung Film Festival, the 26th ifva Awards, and the 57th Golden Horse Awards where it won Best Live Action Short Film and the 20th South Taiwan Film Festival where it won the South Award. [Jason Maher – OAFF 2021]

Cast: Peter Choi, Ryan Sung

Screening Date:
March 12th, 2021 (Friday) | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 12:15 pm
March 14th, 2021 (Sunday) | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 12:15 pm

Trailer:

The Graduation of Edison by Pham Hoang Minh Thy – Vietnam | 2019 – 21 minutes
Section: New Action! Southeast Asia | Japan Premiere

“The Graduation of Edison” is a beautiful, gentle, and slightly surreal tale set in a village where every child is born with a tree on their head. It’s a tradition in that village that when people turn 18, they will have a graduation day to signal their move into adulthood. On that day, each individual’s tree is cut from their head and planted in the ground. Our protagonist is Minh, a 10 year-old boy who has yet to grow a tree. In contrast is Minh’s beautiful sister who is proud of her pretty tree. While he struggles to fit in, treeless as he is, she decides to keep her tree forever. That’s when trouble brews… [Jason Maher – OAFF 2021]

Cast: Cao Hai Ha, Nguyen Thanh Tu, Le Thien, Hoang Sang, Trinh Quang Minh

Screening Date:
March 12th, 2021 (Friday) | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 12:15 pm
March 14th, 2021 (Sunday) | Cine Libre Umeda 4 | 12:15 pm

Trailer:

For more information about the festival and the programme please visit the official website here: http://www.oaff.jp

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