Japan’s Skip City International D-Cinema Festival has unveiled the line-up for its six edition (July 10-20), including a new section and awards designed to support local filmmakers.

The competition programme has been expanded from 12 to 15 features with the launch of the three-title Japanese Cinema section. The change aims to spotlight emerging local directors with films that are eligible for the grand prize.

The three titles that will compete as world premieres in the section’s inaugural edition are Kazuya Shiraishi’s Lost Paradise In Tokyo, Jun’ichi Kanai’s Courtship and Yusuke Murakami’s Piece: Peace.

In the 12-title World Cinema section, Israeli drama Valentina’s Mother competes as an international premiere while New York-set Serbian drama Here And There, Venezuelan-set German documentary El Sistema and Taiwan’s No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti compete as Asian premieres.

The grand prize carries a trophy and cash award of $62,700 (Y6m), sponsored by Sony with additional awards for best director ($20,900), best screenplay ($10,450) and the jury prize ($10,450).

Another means to support local filmmakers is the newly created Skip City award which grants one filmmaker access to Skip City’s digital post-production facilities for their subsequent feature.

This year’s competition jury is headed by Mishima: A Life In Four Chapters and Crows Zero producer Mataichiro Yamamoto. He is joined by producers In-Ah Lee (US/Germany), Paul Raphael (UK), Orlow Seunke (Indonesia) and Kei Haruna (Japan).

The 11-film domestic shorts competition jury is headed by Shall We Dance? producer Shoji Masui, who will award three prizes.

Shin’ichi Mishiro’s Listen To My Heart, staring Takako Tokiwa and Kento Hayashi, will have its world premiere as the opening gala ahead of its autumn release through Shochiku.

The 48 screenings also include a digital restoration of Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon, two films in the on-going Cinema Kabuki series and Belgian 3D animated feature Fly Me To The Moon.

This year also continues the D-Contents Market, where five directors are selected to pitch projects to potential producers.

The festival is held in Kawaguchi City, Saitama Prefecture, neighbouring Tokyo.

Skip City 2009 Competition Titles:

World Cinema

  • Crying For Love (Christian E. Christiansen, Denmark)
  • Adam’s Wall (Michael MacKenzie, Canada)
  • No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti (Leon Dai, Taiwan)
  • El Sistema (Paul Smaczny, Maria Stodtmeier, Germany)
  • God’s Ears (Michael Worth, US)
  • Masangeles (Beatriz Flores Silva, Belgium/Chile/Cuba/Switzerland/Uruguay)
  • Johnny Mad Dog (Jean-Stephane Sauvaire, France/Belgium)
  • Here And There (Darko Lungulov, Serbia/US)
  • The Eagle Hunter’s Son (Rene Bo Hansen, Sweden/Germany)
  • Nora’s Will (Mariana Chenillo, Mexico)
  • Valentina’s Mother (Matti Harari, Arik Lubetzky, Israel)
  • Awaking From A Dream (Freddy Mas Franqueza, Spain/Poland)

Japanese Cinema

  • LostParadise In Tokyo (Kazuya Shiraishi)
  • Courtship (Jun’ichi Kanai)
  • Piece: Peace (Yusuke Murakami)