Review: Fukuyama Film Festival 2008



Fukuyama Film Fest winners (left to right): Kyo, Isaac, Toby, and Ethan. (Photo by Kyo Morita)

By Bill Lawson

First, let me say that one of the hosts, Bill Lawson, was totally great and the other host, I think his name is Matt Hazel, needs a hair cut. Really, what was he thinking?

The 3rd annual Fukuyama “Let’s” Film Festival was held on May 31, 2008. As one of the organizers of this event I can say without any bias that this one was definitely one of the top three ever! With each year, attendance at the festival has increased and we hope to see that trend continue into the future. This year the amount of participants decreased, but the level and spirit of the movies and commercials in the festival was right on par.

There was anticipation in the air right from the start, and everyone was very excited to see what the filmmakers had created. This year the line was “Are those real?”, the prop was a can of ramen or corn soup and the location was a karaoke box. The winning movie, “Welcome to Fukumichi,” was a big hit with audience members. Like most movies in this year’s festival, this film by Toby Ley and Ethan Kate was a comedy. I think it showed that not all foreigners living in Japan are as cool as they think they really are. The top commercial went to “Botch Punch Cleaner” by Bill Lawson, Michael Halualani and Matt Hazel.

Second place went to “Oh Brother, Where Aren’t Thou,” the story of two brothers who come to Japan for different reasons. Third place was won by “The Pocky Kid,” the third installment of the Pocky trilogy. But no matter if a movie placed or not, I think that everybody who took the time to make a movie was a winner that night. They were rewarded with the sounds an audience makes when they see or hear something that is funny, scary, smart or exciting.

Everyone who made a film or commercial took a chance and made something they can call their own. One of the people who created this festival is starting animation school this year, so, like him, you might even find your calling through the Fukuyama Film Festival. So, get your camera out and start filming! To watch this year’s or past years’ movies go to