The Skip City Film Festival received a total of 810 feature and short submissions from a record high 85 countries, and featured movie entertainment from the cutting edge of digital technologies from around the world.
Hachi is a household name in Japan, so it was an honor to be on the 2010 film jury. I presented the Best Director award to Jie Liu during the closing ceremony event. After studying cinematography at the Beijing Film Academy, Liu worked as a cinematographer on Beijing Bicycle (2001), which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and was subsequently invited to many other international film festivals including Karlovy Vary, Helsinki, and Toronto.
He made his directorial debut with “Courthouse On Horseback” (2006) and subsequently directed “Judge” (2009). Both films were screened at the Venice Film Festival.
It was great fun to meet the Hachi fans. A popular Japanese celebrity was on the jury with me. She remembered me from the Hachi premiere, and said she heard I was engaged to be married.
I asked how she heard this. She said I’m well known in Japan. I was shocked! But, that’s how I understood the popularity of Hachi… and also about false rumors!
Hachi Was a Hit!
The grand prize was awarded to director Giorgio Diritti for his moving story that depicts the life of poor town folk engulfed in the horrors of WWII, as seen through the eyes of a mute eight-year-old girl.
After the Awards
I presented the Best Director award. After, there was a lavish buffet and it was great fun talking to all the nominees and winners! They all knew Hachi: A Dog’s Tale. In Japan, everyone knows about Hachi’s bronze statue at Shibuya Station.
He’s an icon.
While in Tokyo, I had a chance to visit Hachiko’s statue and, as usual, he was surrounded by enthusiastic admirers of all ages. There are tons of people trying to get photos with Hachi!