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Events - 01.11.2024

UNLOCK CINEMA | Short Films, Infinite Possibilities

UNLOCK CINEMA | Short Films, Infinite Possibilities


01.11.2024 (Thu.)


6:30 PM – 9:15 PM


TCL Chinese 6 Theatres



This event was held for a celebration of film and culture, marking the 5th anniversary of JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles, and the 25th anniversary of the Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia (SSFF). The Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia is one of the largest short film festivals in Asia and Academy Award® qualifying festivals; in this second collaboration in Hollywood, SSFF founder and President Tetsuya Bessho joined us in presenting the diversity and talent embodied in short films created by Japanese and international filmmakers.

The theme for this year’s SSFF was “Unlock” which represents short films’ potential as a bridge to feature-length films, as many filmmakers have unlocked their potential and forged their careers through short films. The event featured works from a diverse range of filmmakers, from up-and-coming Japanese talents to an Academy Award-winning filmmaker.

List of Films

In this event, we highlighted six short films including the 2023 SSFF Grand Prix-winning animation film “The Bridge” directed by Izumi Yoshida, and “Gratitude” directed by Eita Nagayama and starring Koji Yakusho, winner of the Best Actor Award at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. We also showcased Oscar-winning director Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s 2016 short film “Heaven is Still Far Away” which preceded his Academy Award-winning “Drive My Car,” and the North American premiere of Wim Wenders’ “Some Body Comes into the Light” which was created during the shooting of “PERFECT DAYS,” Japan’s official submission for this year’s Academy Award for Best International Feature Film.

In alphabetical order of film titles

*To view the flipbook in full screen, please click on the "Fullscreen" icon on the lower right-hand corner from the window above.


The screenings at TCL Chinese 6 Theatres were followed by a talk event joined by Short Shorts Film Festival founder and President Tetsuya Bessho and screenwriter and creator Takuma Takasaki, and moderated by USC’s Senior Director of Festival, Distribution & Talent Development, Sandrine Cassidy.
The recording is now available below.

The speakers on stage at the 2024 Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia  

About the Guest Speakers

Tetsuya Bessho
Tetsuya Bessho debuted in Hollywood in 1990 with the US-Japan joint film “Solar Crisis.” In recent years, he has performed in stage productions of “Les Misérables,” “Miss Saigon” and others. He founded Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia in 1999, which he remains the President of, for which he received the Cultural Affairs Agency Commissioner’s Award. He has also assumed the positions of “Visit Japan Ambassador” for the Japan Tourism Agency, as well as Tokyo Tourism Ambassador. He is a member of the Commission ...

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of Councilors at EIRIN (Film Classification and Rating Organization), and the Advisory Council for the JAPAN HOUSE project of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He received the Iwatani Tokiko Award Encouragement Prize from the Iwatani Tokiko Foundation in 2010, was selected as part of the Global Messengers of Japan Project by the National Policy Unit of the Cabinet Office in 2012, and received the 63rd Yokohama Culture Award in 2014.

Takuma Takasaki
Takuma Takasaki is the Creative Director at Novelist and Growth Officer at the Dentsu Group. He has worked on numerous advertising campaigns such as JR East’s “Get Back, Tohoku” and has received numerous awards both domestically and internationally, including Japan’s Creator of the Year twice. His activities span a wide range of fields, and his published work includes the novel “Auto Reverse” (published by Chuokoron-Shinsha), the picture book “Makkuro” (Kodansha), which is highly acclaimed overseas, and “Techniques of Expression” (Chuko Bunko).

About the Moderator

Sandrine Faucher Cassidy
Sandrine grew up in Morocco and France. She joined Unifrance in 1996 and discovered the world of festivals. The relationships she built with programmers gave her a specific insight into each festival and their subtle differences of style and mission. Sandrine moved to Los Angeles and since 1998, serves with passion as USC’s Senior Director of Festival, Distribution & Talent Development. She advises students and alumni on strategies for their student films and independent features in the festival circuit and reaching their career goals.

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She is responsible for the Licensing of the large catalogue of USC shorts. She has recently taken a creative role on screenplays, or films in post-production as Producer on independent features. Sandrine is often invited to participate in juries, panels or to give individual mentoring sessions. She has been on the Tribeca Festival screening committee since 2015.


In 1999 actor Tetsuya Bessho, member of the Screen Actors Guild of America (SAG), began work to introduce the then-emerging genre of “short films” which he had first encountered in the United States, to film fans in Japan as the American Short Shorts Film Festival. In 2001, the festival was renamed the Short Shorts Film Festival, or SSFF. In 2004, SSFF was recognized as an Academy Award® accredited film festival. In the same year, with the aim of promoting new visual culture from Asia and nurturing up-and-coming young filmmakers, the Short Shorts Film Festival Asia (SSFF ASIA, co-sponsored by Tokyo Metropolitan Government) was established and the two festivals are now known collectively as SSFF & ASIA.

To commemorate the festival's 20th anniversary in 2018, the Grand Prix film was named the “George Lucas Award" in honor of director George Lucas. In January 2019, the Short Shorts Film Festival in Hollywood was held to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the festival. Beginning with the 2019 festival, in addition to the Official Competitions (International, Asia International, and Japan), the Non-Fiction (Documentary) Competition and the Animation Competition Best Short Award winners have also become eligible for nomination at the Academy Awards. SSFF & ASIA will continue to support young filmmakers through the festival.

Official website

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