Four Columbia Alumni Films Screened at Short Shorts Film Festival (SSFF & ASIA) in Tokyo

BY Cody Beltis , September 25, 2020

Still from Greenhouse, image courtesy of the Short Shorts Film Festival

Four Columbia alumni had their films screened at the Short Shorts Film Festival (SSFF & ASIA) in Tokyo. Greenhouse, a short film written & directed by Xixi Wang '19  and produced by Haichao Fang '19, screened on Monday. Patisotam, written & directed by student Kio Shijiki ’21, screened on Saturday, and Lian, a film by undergraduate Film Studies alumnus Darren Teo ’19 had his film screen as part of the Asia International and Japan Program on Saturday. 

 

Greenhouse is about a young man, Xiaojun, who is eager to inherit the house that his grandfather left behind, and must reconcile with the relatives whom he had not been close with since his father died some time ago. As a result, the memory of his father is reawakened. 

 

Wang is a Chinese writer and director. Her films have screened at major Chinese and International festivals. In 2019, her work was selected by Asian Film Academy, co-hosted by Busan International Film Festival, and also was shortlisted for Locarno Film Academy 2019. In May 2019, Greenhouse won the Vimeo Award for Best Director, IFP Audience Award, and Jury Selects at Columbia University Film Festival. She has been selected as a 2020 Director and Screenwriting Lab Fellow by the Sundance Institute. Wang received her BA from Beijing Film Academy. She is currently teaching in the Department of Screenwriting and Film Studies at Beijing Film Academy.

 

Fang is a Chinese-born filmmaker. She has produced several shorts in Asia and the US and is currently developing her first feature. Fang obtained a BA in Psychology from DePauw University in 2015.

Still from Patisotam, image courtesy of the Short Shorts Film Festival

Patisotam is about an aging make-up artist who’s right hand stops moving after she receives a mysterious phone call. 

 

Shijiki is an award-winning film director, screenwriter and producer of half Korean, half Japanese descent. Her first directorial short film, Eureka, received The Best Indie Drama Award at Top Shorts Film Festival, Jury Prize at Around Films Film Festival in Berlin, and was included in official selection at Portland Film Festival and The World’s Independent Film Festival in San Francisco. In 2018, she produced a short film Secret Lives of Asians at Night, which won Jury Award at DGA Student Film Awards for Best Asian-American Student Film, Audience Award, Best Narrative Short at Boston Asian American Film Festival and Air Canada Short Film Award at Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival. 

Still from Lian, image courtesy of the Short Shorts Film Festival

Lian concerns a young girl and her family hiding inside a container on a ship. One day the girl is caught and her family is accidentally locked in a container, and she must endeavor to save their lives.

 

Teo is a Canadian filmmaker currently residing in Singapore. He graduated from Columbia University with a BA in Film Studies. His screenplays have been placed in the BlueCat Screenplay Competition and the Academy Nicholl Fellowship. His film Lian, produced by Fran Borgia (A Land Imagined, Crazy Rich Asians) premiered at the Oscar-qualifying Singapore Film Festival.

 

In 1999, Short Shorts Film Festival (SSFF) in Tokyo was founded by actor and member of the US Screen Actors Guild (SAG), Tetsuya Bessho with the aim of introducing Japanese audiences to short films. In 2001, the festival was officially recognized by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. In the same year, Short Shorts Film Festival Asia (SSFF & ASIA) was established with support from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government in 2004, to introduce new Asian video culture and to nurture young filmmaking talents from the region.

 

In 2018, commemorating the 20th Annual festival, the Grand Prix prize was renamed the George Lucas Award. In January 2019, the first “SSFF in Hollywood” was part of the 20th anniversary celebrations. SSFF & ASIA continues to support young filmmakers through this festival.