by Chris MaGee
Yoshimoto Kogyo is a huge Japanese entertainment conglomerate with its fingers in everything from theatre to amusement parks. It also manages a huge stable of comedians and the company spends a great deal of its resources producing and promoting television and film projects for them. Now word has come down from Tokyograph that Yoshimoto Kogyo is branching out into the film festival circuit by creating the Okinawa International Movie Festival.
The brand new fest will take place between March 19th and 22nd next year with its inaugural theme being "Laugh and Peace". Obviously this means that comedy will play a major role in the line up and Yoshimoto Kogyo has already ear-marked over ¥7 million worth of prize money for the fest's top awards.
Of course there will be tie-ins with the company's stable of comic stars. Yoshimoto Kogyo plans to showcase its project that it started last June in which 100 of its comics were commissioned to direct short films. Yuichi Kimura, Shoji Murakami and Seiji Chihara are among a few of the stars who have participated by helming films.