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KIFF 2019 Kicks off with Lavish Opening Ceremony at Nishi Hongwanji Temple

2019/10/17 Event

The 2019 Kyoto International Film and Arts Festival opened on October 17 with an elegant traditional ceremony held at the Minami Noh Butai of Hongwanji, the head temple of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism.

Actors, directors, artists, guests and media gathered at the prestigious World Heritage Site to witness the opening presentations of the four-day festival, as performances and speeches were held on the konoma (stage).

As in previous editions, an ensemble of geisha known as “kuruwa no nigiwai” performed first, playing traditional songs on flute, taiko drums and shamisen, setting the tone for the ceremony. Their 15-minute performance had the audience in silent rapture, ending with teu chi handclapping as they walked off stage.

Shortly thereafter, Sadao Nakajima, Honorary Chairman of the Kyoto International Film and Art Festival Executive Committee, took to the stage to announce the festival open, which was warmly applauded by the audience.

Kazuyoshi Okuyama, who has long worked with Yoshimoto at both their Okinawa and Kyoto Film Festivals, took to the stage to discuss the ongoing Creator’s Factory project, which has helped develop new young talent in the Japanese film industry over the last decade.

Each year the festival awards one actor with the prestigious Toshiro Mifune Award in honor of the great Japanese actor. This year, the winner was announced as Kiichi Nakai, 58, who previously has won multiple awards at the Japanese Academy awards, including Rookie of the Year in 1981, Best Supporting Actor in 1994 (for “47 Ronin”) and Best Actor in 2003 (for ”When the Last Sword is Drawn”).

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