This is information of TVF, Victor Company of Japan sponsored it from 1978 to 2009.
The history of TVF began 30 years ago with works submitted by junior high school students. It was a time when showing films made by children officially in such a public space as TVF was still unthinkable. What amazes us even more is that the first TVF attracted many ambitious works from obscure young artists who are now professional movie directors in their 50s leading the Japanese cinema world, and that all of them failed to receive an award. Submissions from experienced artists in the TV world also disappeared soon, and this shows that TVF has stayed away from movies and TV since its beginning, and has been aware of its mission to focus on “presenting the opinions and video expressions of citizens,” a type of film that was still in its infancy in those days. During the next 20 years, the majority of submissions comprised the personal expressions of seniors, women, and children. TVF, therefore, looked like an amateur contest at first glance, but its beginning was also seen as the birth of “citizen journalism,” the voices of the general public who had had nowhere to express their opinions until then.
It is this mission that has allowed TVF to develop its unique history. The reason why only TVF has managed, desperately, to remain alive while many other amateur video contests launched during the same period disappeared immediately after the bubble economy burst is because it has been recognized that this “citizen's video festival” represents a “culture” that is necessary to maintain the integrity of journalism around the world. For example, don't you think that it would be exciting if we could achieve a calm communication-oriented world where works at TVF are run on TV all day long and peace is earnestly sought after? This kind of world must be our future target!
The past 10 years have seen a sharp increase in the number of submissions from young people caused by major changes in video equipment, which have become increasingly digitized. These young people will shape our future. The members of the amateur force that began film-making with 8 mm films and supported TVF for 20 years after its inception are now in their 80s and are still active as “enlightened citizens.”
TVF has now become a place where we can learn many lessons about communication and journalism. We must take advantage of this precious “historical heritage,” and fully utilize it for a better future.
It is thanks to the tremendous efforts of JVC and the TVF Office staff that TVF has continued until today. TVF this year attracted entrants from 54 countries and regions, which I think was possible only with JVC's global network. TVF is a historical milestone in the video industry's mecenat activities. Unlike movies and TV programs, TVF focuses on “video communication” every year, which can only be expressed through dialogs among citizens. This “video communication” can also be called “citizen's video” or “cathode-ray tube democracy.” No matter what the images may be, TV cathode-ray tubes reproduce them in an absolutely equal manner. There are no distinctions between professionals and amateurs, or among nationalities, genres, or ages. Similar to these cathode-ray tubes, TVF is also a totally borderless festival for all global citizens. Fortunately, the popularization of VHS, DV, and DVD formats has made VCRs an everyday item, and this has led to a gradual increase in the number countries from which there have been entrants, allowing us to see the current status of citizens around the world, which is not available through other media. While watching the opening of Vietnam to the outside world in the 1980s, video art in Eastern Europe and the U.S.S.R, the fall of the Berlin Wall around 1990, the birth of indios video in the Amazon region, and other events, I have noticed that I am playing the role of a living witness to modern times by screening submissions that communicate to society what is happening in the world. When the TVF Symposium was held in June last year, we discussed the Akihabara stabbing rampage. It has been reported that the suspect gradually came to feel alienated while writing numerous messages on an Internet bulletin board, and began to place what looked like murder notices on the board. It seems unfortunate that the suspect did not have his own community. Communities are places where people can feel fulfilled as citizens in their daily lives. Communities include not only local communities but also TVF, which serves as a media community that gives energy to people. There are many people who are moved, reflect on their own attitudes, and find something to live for after viewing TVF films. Although it is not certain how many more years the storms of racial wars and the global recession will last, I am sure that citizen's video will function as an oasis that will energize our impoverished society. See this year, for example, “Melanie-I'm Going My Way,” which documented the life of a girl who had a disability for a long time; “Clarinet Polka,” in which the filmmaker realizes the difficulty of communicating while shooting her classmate; “Her Grown Own Hair,” a film about a woman who returned alive from a fight against disease; and “A Way We Walk along Together” and “Short and Yet Long Distance to Father,” films about family nursing. These are not particularly cheerful films, but will allow you to experience the joy and agony of living. In addition, “NPO Minkan Inasaku Kenkyujo's Pursuit of Ideal Rice Farming,” which explores food safety issues; “A Way to Master Silkworm Raising,” a film about a foreign man raising silkworms; and “Faraway Hometown,” a film about an old woman who returns to her hometown, are also works that will remind you of the taste of happiness in life that you might have forgotten.
I completely confined myself to my room to watch the submitted works for four days before the final screening. While doing so, I kept asking myself “Do I want to watch this video again with someone else?”. This is the stance I take every year when I watch submissions. The reason I take this stance is because I consider it very important to share a filmmaker's experiences with someone else. The intention of the filmmaker lying behind the creation of his film, as well as the relationship between the filmmaker and the subject to be filmed, must be valued at all times. The viewer should not forget to respect their value. While offering convenience, mobile phones, PCs and many other personal media are causing people to lose respect for other people. However, TVF is, in my belief, building something that opposes this trend-something beautiful and fulfilling.
Of all the works I watched, there is one work that particularly struck me. It is “20 years-Just Video-ing my Children (a video salad of my 3 sons +1)” created by Kidlat Tahimik from the Philippines. Tahimik is often regarded as a kind of godfather of independent filmmakers. He has already received some prizes at TVF. A large wooden box placed in his room is filled with films he has shot in various formats, such as 8 mm and 16 mm film, 3/4 inch cassettes, and VHS-C tapes. These films are a total mess in the box, looking like “spaghetti” as Tahimik calls them. They are fragments of his dramatic films as well as others showing people he and his sons met in various countries. They include shots in Japan, and even films that are hard to view due to noise. One of the filmmaker's sons is a PC expert who helps his father with editing. This huge pile of films in the box is a portrayal of the filmmaker's family and, at the same time, a personal video history. Tahimik's work will probably never end; as long as there are filmmaking tools-in whatever forms-available, he will probably continue to hold one and aim it at someone. The history of video is, in fact, a chain of people's communication linked through this kind of endless effort. I want to pay my respects to the powerful determination of filmmakers who have built a history.
I cannot refer to other works here because I am running out of space in which to write. But, I would like to say thank you to all of the entrants this year who have won my respect more than in any other years.
It is already more than 10 years since I became a TVF judge. I am amazed at how tremendously the quality of entries has improved over these years.
For this year's festival, all works, whether documentary or drama, were created by artists who know what to do in accordance with theories of film-making, and many works were masterpieces of unique individuality.
As the age range of applicants has widened, the number of works created by young people surged like a swelling tide in the top 100 list, and I strongly felt-once again this year-the pleasure of enjoying the cutting edge of the times through these personal videos.
I was also amazed that each work precisely conveyed, not only the motivation of their artists to make the work, but also the aims of each artist.
As for overall trends, there were many works that pursued their themes very flexibly, without being constrained by the stereotyped classification of genres that had been maintained until quite recently. It seems to me that this flexibility contributed to upgrading the overall quality level of entries.
When comparing Japanese to overseas works, I found that the way works are produced is fundamentally different, with many Japanese works created by individuals and many overseas works by organizations such as production companies or organizing committees. This difference is not a matter of being professional or amateur, but is probably due to differences in attitudes toward film-making.
No matter what kind of work it may be, whether a home-crafted work filmed by an individual or a larger-scale work by an organization, the key to winning this type of contest is ultimately how deeply a work can draw viewers into its world. In this sense, I was thrilled by the competition among the variety of works this year at TVF.
I have also been astonished by significant technical improvements of entries during the past five or six years. We have probably entered era of the close association between hardware and software.
In this year's TVF, I was amazed by the fact that a number of excellent documentaries had been created by women of middle and advanced ages. I was impressed all the more by the energy of modern women and technological advances of video filming and editing equipment supporting those women to produce their films.
The basics of making a home video are to edit recordings of close family members and, while looking back to the past, add narrations in such a way that they convey the enthusiasm and intention of the artist. However, even in such basic home videos, when scenes captured or the subject family members filmed are powerful or meaningful, the videos often begin to speak directly to the viewers without relying on-or occasionally even by betraying-the enthusiasm and intention expressed verbally. When there is a subtle gap and a struggle between the artist's enthusiasm and intention and the subjectivity and objectivity of the video, the viewer directly faces the presented scenes and, by keeping somewhat away from the artist's enthusiasm and intention, is allowed to explore his own thoughts and feelings about the work. The viewer can also, for example, measure the closeness of the artist to the subject family member, admire the relationship, and build trust in-or maybe doubt and criticism about-the artist.
Experiencing this type of triangular of the artist, subject, and viewer is in fact the true charm of viewing videos seriously, as well as the time when we feel that videos are a source of energy. I had many such experiences in this year's TVF again. These include “The Way We Walk along Together”, which maintains an exquisite distance from the husband, and allows the filmmaker to be a part of the film like another leading character, “Melanie -I'm Going to My Own Way”, “Section 60: Arlington National Cemetery”, “A Debut with her own hair”, “Giant Water Bugs - breeding and observation-”, “Ideal Rice Farming - Pursuit by NPO Minkan Inasaku Kenkyujo (Private rice farming Institute)”, “Master the Sericulture”, “COCAIS -a Rediscovered Town-”, “Faraway Hometown”, “Clarinet Polka”, “Skylark”, “Still Long but a Shorter distance to Father”, “Trafficked Children--Children Sold by Their Parents”, “Memories Can't Wait!”, “Portrait of Peace”, “Sealed Heart”, “Variable” and “Red Paper Boat”.
I was impressed that overseas entries include many excellent dramas and fantasies created by professionals and would-be professionals this year again. There are many interesting overseas works even in the “Selected Works” category, such as “Nanny Goat Emissary”. There were not many animations, but some works, such as “Under construction” and “Memory”, incorporated animation techniques and were amazing achievements.
I enjoyed viewing entries very much this year.
I was particularly struck with admiration by “Melanie - I 'm Going to My Own Way”, “A Debut with her own hair”, and “The Way We Walk along Together”. All these works succeeded in matching the intention of the filmmakers with the resultant expressions, which I thought was wonderful.
However, what is striking about this year's TVF is that there are still many other excellent works, such as “COCAIS -a Rediscovered Town-” and “Whole View of Memory.” “Skylark” is a good film, too, which delightfully captures the intersection of the lives of the little bird and people. “My Big Happy Family” presents in a comical way the facts of the 21st century in which we all need to reconsider what the family is. In previous TVFs, I always felt that about half of the top 30 works still lacked expression somewhat, but this year I felt for the first time that 30 is not enough. A very long time ago, I was told by Mr. Masahiro Ogi, then a judge of TVF, that “You are a prophet crying out in the wilderness. If a work is recommended by you that has realized even one tenth of what you advocate, I will also recommend it for the Grand Prize.” After Mr. Ogi passed away, Mr. Shigeru Kawata, a genius of an artist, appeared and completely changed TVF. But even after this, there were still only a few outstanding works. However, this year is completely different. I think that this may be called the beginning of a new culture.
This tendency is evident even in works created by high school students, such as “Did the High School Students Obstruct People from Getting on the Train?” and “12.7%”. While depicting an event surrounding them in their own style, these young filmmakers are also well aware that there is a different society from theirs. I felt this when I saw, for example, “12.7%”, which points out that there are many teachers who do not know how constitutions began to be established in countries.
The number of videos whose starting point is to look deeply into the inner self is on the increase. While it seems that current literature and journalism still do not have a broader perspective to see how the inner self appears on the surface and looks to other people, videos are now beginning to have that broad perspective as well.
Did our predecessors who opened up the video era imagine that a day like this year's TVF would come?
This year saw a great number of impressive works in many genres.
It can probably be safely said that citizen journalism has finally fully bloomed. It is no exaggeration to say that citizens have now acquired literacy in video, and are able to identify, give insight into, and reconstruct-from the viewpoint of citizens-the nature of various incidents taking place around them.
“The Way We Walk along Together” presents us in a comical yet careful way the potential crisis of “elder-to-elder nursing”, an issue that is becoming increasingly serious. The true feeling expressed by the wife who is concerned about her sick husband's health, as well as the casual tone of the narration telling us about the future of the old couple, are striking.
“Melanie - I 'm Going to My Own Way” is a film about the pure mind of a blind girl whose attitudes are always more than earnest, as well as about the comfortable distance maintained between her and other people with disabilities around her in a mature society.
“Giant Water Bugs - breeding and observation-” is a film carefully created by junior high school students. The film is not just a report on the lives of giant water bugs, but also proposes new potential for video.
I would like to express our thanks to the Chinese people who sent us more than 1,000 entries. Many are excellent works that convey the current social conditions, life, and people's feelings in modern China.
“Olympics in a Hongqiao Backstreet” which narrowly missed the Excellence Award, is a likable film depicting the feelings of ordinary Chinese people at the time of the Olympics. “Red Paper Boat” is a portrayal of children who are anxiously waiting for the return of their parents working away from home. These films present scenes that Japanese and other people once saw, and are very impressive.
Both “A Debut with her own hair” and “Energetic to the End” are films about people fighting against a disease, and give us courage and energy.
Including these precious works, the total number of entries in the present and past 31 TVFs has exceeded 52,000.
Works created by people in their 20s or younger accounted for more than 70% this year, and the works are becoming increasingly diverse. Citizen journalism will be accelerated more than ever-This is what I felt about the future of video after completing the screening.
I would like to extend our gratitude to all of the entrants at TVF and people from the video industry for supporting this festival for so many years.