Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia (SSFF & ASIA), co-organized by Tokyo Metropolitan Government, is an annual international short film festival in Tokyo that takes place in early June. With over 5000 short film entries from more than 100 countries and regions per year, SSFF & ASIA has become one of the largest short film festivals in Asia. Since 2005 the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognizes SSFF & ASIA as a qualifying festival for the Short Films categories of the annual Academy Awards. The winner of Short Shorts' Grand Prix is eligible to receive an Academy Awards nomination the following year.
George Lucas has been a great supporter since 1999, and we are for his continued backing of the festival each year. We are also grateful to Martin Scorsese, famed Hong Kong director Johnnie To, Sofia Coppola and many more filmmakers who have sent us letters of support as well as their short films. We call their shorts "Maestro Shorts," and in the past we have screened Lucas' 6 short films, including "THX1138-4EB," which inspired elements of the "Star Wars" series. Furthermore, the festival has also introduced rare short films by Jane Campion, Roman Polanski, Tim Burton and many more. It's thrilling to screen these early, successful works by great filmmakers. These film screenings have been a valuable opportunity for Japanese audience members and filmmakers alike.
SSFF & ASIA is known for its international activities, with screenings in Singapore, Myanmar, Mexico, Sweden and at the historic Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. The festival has close relations with its business partners and always invites them to participate, along with other friends, in these events. As a result of such activities and the wide-range of media exposure we have received, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences accredited the festival as an official qualifier of short films for nomination to the annual Academy Awards. The winner of Short Shorts' Grand Prix is eligible to receive an Academy Awards nomination the following year. We are one of the few festivals in the world able to provide this opportunity for films in competition and we hope to be the doorway for a Japanese filmmaker to receive an Oscar.
As one of the major international short film festivals in Asia, SSFF & ASIA goes on "tour" and holds additional screening events after the main June festival both internationally and domestically. Forming collaborations and partnerships with various communities, we hope to revitalize local towns and cities.
The history of "tours"
- 1999-2005: Naha, Miyako-Island, Hiroshima, Osaka, Nagoya, Matsumoto, Kawagoe, Sapporo
- 2001-2002: Singapore
- 2002-2003: Los Angeles
- 2003-2005: Myanmar
- 2006: After five years in Sapporo, the “tour” became an independent film festival
- 2006: Mexico City
- 2006-2008: After 3 years in Nasu, the “tour” became an independent film festival
- 2008: The first movie theater specializing in short films in Japan, Brillia Short Shorts Theater, was established in Minatomirai, Yokohama
- 2009-2013: Screenings of short films in other Asian countries (Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Philippines) and the Middle East (Qatar)
- 2014‐2015: International screenings in Malaysia and Mexico. Domestic screenings at Knowledge Capital (Osaka) and United Cinemas (Toyosu, Toyohashi, Fukuoka)
In 2004, the festival received a request from the Governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara, to develop film programs showcasing only Asian short films. Thus, "Short Shorts Film Festival Asia (SSFFA)" was born. SSFFA has anchored itself as a unique exhibitor of Asian short films and as a facilitator for cultural and artistic exchange between Japan and other Asian countries. Promoting the city of Tokyo through its activities, the event is held alongside the original festival in June, and the two events are known collectively as Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia (SSFF & ASIA).
The Ibaraki Short Film Award was established in 2014 in order to boost tourism by promoting the attractive elements of the region (scenic locations, local culture, cuisine), and to increase screen tourism. Nominated works selected from the 140+ submissions received over the last two years have been screened at the festival, the award winners announced at a special ceremony. Furthermore, the films have gone on to be submitted to domestic and international film festivals, screen at municipal libraries and events, and be broadcast on Ibakira TV.
We started a new competition in 2010 called "Let's Travel! Project” in order to further promote the tourism destination that is Japan. Images of the beautiful nature in Japan and of the many encounters that are a part of travel here were used as themes for these short films. In 2012 we created a new competition titled "Visual Tourism Award". Soliciting promotional videos about tourist destinations, local idols and "yuru-chara" (local mascot characters) from regions throughout Japan, the award celebrates the role of film in tourism promotion.
1st Visual Tourism Award winner and special mention
In order to raise awareness about global warming, a serious and universal problem, we created the STOP! Global Warming Competition in 2008 with support from the Ministry of Environment. We gather shorts from around the world that address the prevention of “Global Warming” problems. Since 2013, we have changed the competition name to “Save the Earth!,” in order to continue raising awareness about growing environmental problems through the power of film.
We organized “Short Shorts Film Festival EXPO 2005” as part of “EXPO 2005 Aichi Japan”, featuring short films related to the theme “Nature’s Wisdom.” We received 2,773 film submissions from 89 countries and regions.
For this project, a specially produced short film, “Shabu-Shabu Spirit”, is screening via the official project website alongside a “WA-SHOKU (Japanese Food) Program” comprised of five carefully selected short films. Available freely to audiences worldwide, the aim is to spread the attraction to Japanese Food and Food Culture both domestically and internationally. "Shabu-Shabu Spirit" was also screened at Expo Milano in May 2015, held in Milan, Italy.
Foreign embassies in Tokyo support us by offering to cover filmmakers’ transportation or accommodation costs during the festival. We hope that such collaborations will continue, allowing us to go on facilitating international cultural exchange.