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Head of Jury Peter Webber delivers the Nikola Stojanovic Legacy Award to Shuichi Okita at the 10th Japanese-Serbian Film Festival (JSFF) held from June 14th to 16th at UPLINK Kichijoji in Tokyo, celebrating cinematic excellence and cultural exchange between Japan and Serbia.

Peter Webber and Shuichi Okita (JSFF)

Day 1: Opening and Initial Screenings

The festival commenced with an opening ceremony featuring speeches from notable figures such as director Peter Webber, JSFF Managing Director Jovana Stevic, former Japanese Ambassador to Serbia, Toshio Kakuzaki and programme director Jaksa Nikodijevic (Yakusha). This was followed by the first short film program, which included a variety of compelling works from both Japanese and Serbian filmmakers. Highlights included "MY UNIVERSE HERE" by Tsuyoshi Sone and "YOUR GUARDIAN" by Mimi Vlaović, with a Q&A session after the screening of "DETOURING BLUE" by Ryo Kimura. You can access complete JSFF program here >>

A panel discussion titled "What Filmmakers Can Do for Cultural Exchange between Japan and Serbia: Possibilities of Co-Productions with Serbia" brought together filmmakers with experience in cross-cultural productions. This insightful discussion featured contributions from directors and producers who shared their experiences and the opportunities available for future collaborations.

The evening concluded with the screening of the feature film "BEHEADING" by Siniša Cvetić, a powerful Serbian film that captivated the audience with its intense narrative and high-caliber performances.

Makoto Kawamura, Ryo Kimura, Masao Konno, Toru Kizu, Noah


Day 2: Celebrating Award-Winning Films

The second day focused on award-winning films from JSFF 2023 and featured another short film program, including titles like "SPRING SUMMER FALL WINTER... AND" by Takeshi Sone and "THE OLD YOUNG CROW" by Liam LoPinto. These films showcased the unique storytelling styles and artistic visions of both Japanese and Serbian filmmakers.

A significant panel discussion on "What Filmmakers Can Do for Cultural Exchange between Japan and Serbia: Understanding the Japanese Co-Production System" provided invaluable insights into the intricacies of Japan’s co-production system, with contributions from major Japanese TV broadcasters and cultural institutions. Director Shuichi Okita used his film "Sakana no Ko" as a case study, sharing his experiences and the challenges of international collaborations.

Toshikazu Nishigaya, Yoko Narahashi, Noah
Akiko Iwase, Kitaki Kazz

The day concluded with a screening of the feature film "Sakana no Ko" by Shuichi Okita, followed by a Q&A session with the director and producer, offering the audience a deeper understanding of the film’s creation and themes.

Toshikazu Nishigaya, Shuichi Okita

Day 3: Closing and Reflections

The final day of the festival featured three feature films, each offering unique perspectives and storytelling techniques. "HAVE YOU SEEN THIS WOMAN?" by Dušan Zorić and Matija Gluščević provided a raw and honest depiction of middle-aged women's lives and emotions, while "THOSE LEFT BEHIND" by Rionne McAvoy caputed important social topic of single mothers in Japan which ended with longest Q&A session of this JSFF edition.

The closing ceremony celebrated the festival's achievements, announced award winners, and featured the screening of "WHERE THE ROAD LEADS" by Nina Ognjanović. This film, with its powerful narrative and exceptional performances, left a lasting impression on the audience.


Masterclass by Peter Webber

A notable highlight of the festival was the masterclass conducted by Peter Webber, the head of the festival jury. Aimed primarily at actors, Webber’s masterclass delved into the practical aspects of film production, offering insights into the roles and challenges faced by actors and technical staff on set. His detailed and practical approach provided valuable learning opportunities for all participants.

The 10th Japanese-Serbian Film Festival in Tokyo offered a platform for cultural exchange and cinematic excellence. The variety of films showcased, the insightful panel discussions, and the engaging masterclass all contributed to an enriching experience for attendees. As the festival continues to grow, it promises to further enhance the cultural ties between Japan and Serbia, paving the way for future collaborations and artistic achievements.

Thank you to all who participated, supported, and attended this year’s festival. We look forward to another year of outstanding films and cultural exchange.


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