Let’s Horror Festival 2008: It gave us the heebie-jeebies!

mattrosehorrorfestBy Matt Rose

There were no red carpets and no Hollywood starlets, but Saturday November 8 saw a very successful conclusion to the first Fukuyama Let’s Horror Festival nonetheless. About 85 people — JETs, expats and Japanese — gathered at Fukuyama’s Cinemamode Annex to view the nine submitted entries projected on the silver screen.

In addition to being delightfully creepy, the event also raised money for a good cause. The horror fest was a fundraiser for Baan Dada’s Children’s Home in Thailand, and we raised almost 100,000 yen – enough to vaccinate all of the children at the orphanage for the whole year! You can learn more about the orphanage at http://baandada.org/.

Every entry had to follow the rules of the festival, and include the three following ingredients:

  • Prop: Chopsticks
  • Location: Somewhere Green
  • Line: “It had to end this way.”

Entries were received from all over Hiroshima-ken, and included animation, contemporary urban ghost stories, psycho killer features, and tales of simian revenge. There was even one film submitted from England, giving the festival an international, if somewhat bizarre, flavor.

Audience voting at the event gave first prize to “BamBOO!,” submitted by “Team Onomichi +1,” led by Toby Ley.

They described the video this way: “One man leads a rag tag band of adventurers through a bamboo forest on a mission to find a lost castle, in order to become a famous (and sexually alluring) explorer. On the way, they are picked off one by one by a furious simian avenger from the past.”

It had gore, humour and a great soundtrack. It was also the only entry to be entirely dual language, subtitled in English or Japanese as the scene required, which probably made it the most accessible of the whole festival.

Check it out at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v-960r8PkMpwk.

The Let’s Horror Festival is a spin-off of the annual Fukuyama Let’s Film Festival, a short film festival that has been held in Fukuyama every spring for the past three years. The 2009 Let’s Film Festival will run in either April or May – keep an eye on Facebook, AJET newsletters or indeed Wide Island View for details of the entry requirements.

Ready! Set! ACTION!

Making a movie is easier than you think

These days you don’t need any specialized knowledge, ore even any specialized equipment, to put together a short film. Although a video camera will provide the best results, most point-and-shoot digital cameras can take small video clips. Some cell phones have surprisingly good video cameras built into them, too.

Need some ideas to get started? Films from previous festivals are available for viewing on the Let’s Film Festival Facebook Group at http://tinyurl.com/5k67j2.

Once you have taken your footage, you can edit it together and add titles, music and sound effects on your computer. It’s very easy to download video editing software.

Macs come with the spectacularly easy-to-use iMovie; download iMovie HD 6 for best results. Donwloads are available at http://support.apple.com/downloads/iMovie_HD_6.

Windows computers can download Windows Movie Maker for free. Find it at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/updates/moviemaker2.mspx.

Come up with an idea – throw together a story board – get shooting!