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RSIFF 2021 Will Showcase Over 75 Films This November

The Rising Sun International Film Festival (RSIFF) will launch its 2nd edition in Kitakyushu, Japan with in-person screenings from November 5 to 7, 2021. RSIFF will showcase more than 75 films over those three days at venues all around the city. RSIFF will also feature interactive talks with filmmakers, as well as an animation workshop for children of all agesall in an effort to promote cinema as the cornerstone of local and international culture.

“The pandemic didn’t slow us down last year,” says festival director M.J. Di Rocco, “which only means we have an opportunity to make the 2021 event more dynamic!” The festival has quickly become an important event for audiences, filmmakers and producers/financiers alike, with distributors from North America, Europe and Asia already committed to buying films shown during the inaugural edition of RSIFF. We are proud to facilitate meetings between producers and distributorshelping further make RSIFF Japan’s destination film festival. For this year, there will be a separate market selection providing advance access of all selected films to distributors as early as October.  

RSIFF headquarters is in the dynamic heart of Kitakyushu in the Kyushu region of South-Western Japan. With one million residents, the city has long been celebrated for its appreciation of the arts. Dubbed Japan’s “Movie Town”, Kitakyushu is a major supporter of RSIFF and it boasts an enthusiastic audience for festival screenings. “The festival was a success and had a truly international feel for our city. It was exciting to have so many great films in our city!” said Wakako Ueno of the Kitakyushu Film Commission  “Last year, we had a great audience with many of our in-person screenings selling out in advance,” according to Di Rocco. “This commitment shows that there is a broad market throughout the city for the films we showcase.”

RSIFF’s commitment to cinema education and enthusiasm is a year-round endeavor. The festival holds monthly “encore” screenings of festival favorites. The response to these screenings has been overwhelmingly positive and it has helped the films find new and appreciative audiences, while also assisting the festival in gaining media buzz and international popularity. “During this pandemic, people have a strong desire to see good movies and don’t have a lot of places to go see them,” argues Di Rocco. “It’s our honor and privilege to show some of the most incredible films from around the world to our ever-growing audience.”


RSIFF provides an excellent opportunity for both Japanese and International cinephiles. The festival includes English and Japanese subtitles with many films, with some of the translations prepared by members of the festival’s staff and committed volunteers. “We want to reach the widest audience possible,” Di Rocco explains. “By adding Japanese subtitles to the films we can reach many more local people who can discover great cinema from previously unfamiliar regions.” Previous festival selections have included films from South Korea, Senegal, Egypt, Greece, Taiwan, and Malta, and all have been embraced by local audiencesfurther cementing RSIFF as integral to the movie-going climate of Japan. “Japan is such an important destination for filmmakers… We are so pleased with the press and great notices we received thanks to [RSIFF] offering us exposure on an international stage,” said Niels Mueller, director of Small Town Wisconsin (the 2020 RSIFF Best Film Winner 2020) and The Assassination of Richard Nixon (with Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, and Don Cheadle)

RSIFF is proud to be transparent about the diversity of submissions, facilitating submissions from around the world through the industry standard portal of FilmFreeway. The festival’s mix of judges bring decades of experience and are drawn from the likes of Montreal’s Fantasia Festival, as well as from local and international writers and critics. “Japan is such an appealing market for filmmakers, with such a rich history of cinematic expression,” says Di Rocco. “Folks from all over the world wish to screen their films for our audiences, and we aim to make the process of finding these gems as painless as possible.” 

If you are a filmmaker wishing to submit to RSIFF, you can do so now via FilmFreeway:

For parties wishing to sponsor or partner with RSIFF, please inquire at [email protected]


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