Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia officially opened on June 11. In a livestreamed opening ceremony, MCs Takayuki Yamada and Ayame Goriki welcomed festival president Tetsuya Bessho and audiences around the world to the event.

They acknowledged the difficulties of 2020 and expressed thanks to healthcare and frontline workers. The festival is holding some physical screenings in Japan with COVID-19 safety procedures in place.

The team also explained this year's festival theme, CINEMADventure, as a new idea combining cinema, advertising, adventure, and ventures.

The opening ceremony continued with a screening of The Egg and Ayako, directed by Ayumi Omori and starring Goriki. Omori appeared as well.

16090123713685b3527e1c9e62bd66099'The Egg and Ayako'Credit: Ayumi Omori

In the short, Ayako is a dance teacher for kids. She is pregnant with her ex-boyfriend Eita’s baby. When she had an ultrasound check-up and saw the embryo for the first time, she was powerfully moved by the sheer miracle and decided firmly to raise the baby on her own. But Ayako has an ongoing secret wish...

The team from Mirrorliar Films appeared as well to explain their new short film platform, which is set to launch this summer. They also plan to hold a film festival in 2022. You can learn more at the project's website. Similarly, there was a presentation for the CINEMA FIGHTERS project, which combines poetry and music in videos. This is a joint project by EXILE HIRO, Bessho, and lyricist Masato Odake.

Sad_beauty'Sad Beauty'Credit: Arjan Brentjes

Next up, several key awards were given to filmmakers.

The Shibuya Diversity Award went to the film Shut Up, directed by Noa Aharoni Maor.

Milbon and Book Shorts presented the Milbon Award to Etude, directed by Kahori Higashi.

AHURI and Short Shorts presented a trailer for By the Sea, and director Hironori Kujiraoka appeared with cast members Masato Wada, Mahiru Konno, Hiroto Takahashi.

The AMUSE Musical Award (Musical Short Film Pitch Competition winner) was presented to Kid at Heart by Meg Igarashi. The best pitch winner receives prize money and a chance for production.

The Save the Earth! Minister's Award, Ministry of the Environment was given to Sad Beauty, directed by Arjan Brentjes. The Save the Earth! J-Wave Award went to Migrants, directed by Antoine Dupriez and Lucas Lermytte.

The newly launched Global Spotlight Award was awarded to Travon Free for Two Distant Strangers.

This concluded the live opening ceremony, but you can watch the event in full (with English translations) below!

The festival was founded in 1999 as the Short Shorts Film Festival (SSFF). In 2004, SSFF added a program for Asian short films and established Short Shorts Film Festival Asia with the support of the Governor of Tokyo.

Now, the combination of the two festivals takes place annually in Tokyo as Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia, one of the largest short film festivals in Asia. This year's fest takes place June 11-21.

Check out the festival website here.