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International Movie Festival opens Saturday in Ginowan

By: By Bill Charles

Date Posted: 2012-03-23

Movies from Japan, the United States, Europe and other countries hit the screens in Okinawa for a weeklong run at the Okinawa Convention Center, at venues including Sakurazaka Theater in Naha, and at still others in Chatan Town and other prefecture locations.

It’s the 4th Okinawa International Movie Festival, bringing to the silver screens an eclectic mix of 13 Japanese films and several dozen international movies from France, the United Kingdom, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the United States and others. The themes are varied, with sets of screenings under the slogan of Laughter, Peace and Comedies.

The festival opens Saturday at with a Red Carpet ceremony at the Okinawa Convention Center’s main area. Both international and domestic guestswill walk on the world’s longest red carpet—some 300 meters long—before participating in the opening ceremonies. Those ceremonies launch the festival, which runs through March 31st, when closing ceremonies will wrap up the eight-day event.

The World Comedies division this year features a set of four horror comedies, with which the original producers worked to shatter stereotypic imagines while keeping viewers screaming, and laughing, before touching end scenes. Ghostbusters, which became a huge worldwide hit that resulted in two successful sequels heads the list, along with The Frighteners which brought director Peter Jackson, best known for his The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Casper, from executive producer Steven Spielberg, is the third film,, while Scrooged, a modernization of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” is set in New York City with a variety of ghosts—some scary, some innocent, others friendly, and ones mentoring for life decisions—who are all offering viewers messages.

Ghostbusters debuted in 1984, as a science fiction film, with three parapsychologists establishing a paranormal exterminator service known as ‘Ghostbusters’. Scrooged with Bill Murray, came out four years later.

On the international side, The Artist from France, Attack the Block, a United Kingdom production, and Joyful Reunion by Tsao Jui-Yan of Taiwan head the list of 13 films.

The concept Laugh and Peace is paramount to this 4th Okinawa Movie Festival, recognizing that laugher captures the essence of life as a human being. The festival’s organizers think laughter has the power to open the hearts of people burdened with the worries and tensions of living in a stressful society, and believe this year’s entries provide a variety of styles of expression. Okinawa was chosen for the festival because it is “the island with the power to heal.” The festival will pay homage to the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami, which occurred just before last year’s Okinawa International Movie Festival that took on a charitable purpose to provide recovery support.

A community-based project is a part of the festival again this year, with two categories: Community-based Movies and JIMOT CM Competition. The community-based movies brings local information, life, and traditions to views, along with information about industries, products and tourism information. Movies were produced in five communities in the country using local residents. The community concept is expanded to encompass collaborations with Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia and Taiwan. JIMOT CM Competition is a competitive project to create a community movie for individuals’ home towns. Both projects are linked to a 47 prefectures Area Project promoted by the lead manager of the Okinawa International Movie Festival Yoshimoto Kogyo Group.

There is also a music beach stage established for Saturday the 31st, featuring performances by Begin, Rimi Natsukawa, and Kariyushi 58. Shirayuri Club, a music group based in Ishigaki Island, and which has been active since the end of World War II, will make their first appearance at the festival.

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