Japanese Film Festival 2023 Opening Night 

The grand return of on-site screenings of award-winning and highly regarded films from Japan began this weekend at with the opening night of the Japanese Film Festival 2023. The festival kicked off with a spectacular ceremony at the Grand Atrium of Shangri-La Plaza which featured esteemed guests from the local film community, keynote speeches by esteemed dignitaries, as well as engaging displays of Japanese culture by the organizer, The Japan Foundation, Manila, followed by the with the screening of the featured film “Belle” at the Red Carpet Cinema. 

Welcoming remarks from Japan Foundation, Manila’s Director Ben Suzuki filled everyone with the spirit of creativity, purpose and cooperation between Japan and the Philippines in film and in the arts.

Kenichi Matsuda, Chief of Mission and Minister of the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines, noted the warm and fulfilling relationship between Japan and the Philippines and the mutual appreciation of film of the arts, citing the universal appeal of the opening film “Belle.”

Johnny Rios, Head of Operations at Shangri-La Plaza, assured of the continued support and partnership between Shangri-La Plaza and the Japanese Film Festival by the Japan Foundation, Manila over the years in presenting highly-acclaimed Japanese films to a wider Filipino audience.

Tirso Cruz III, Chairman and CEO of the Film Development Council of the Philippines, got to talk of the enduring friendship and cooperation of the Philippines and Japan over the years and the support of the Japanese towards the development of Filipino films.

Yukimura Sato, ASEAN Sales Representative of Ozeki Corporation, expressed the support of Ozeki Corporation to the Japanese Film Festival through their quality products and taking a part in the celebration of Japanese culture in the country.

Director Ben Suzuki, Kenichi Matsuda, and Johnny Rios led the Kagami Baraki, where the round, wooden lid of wooden barrel of iwa-zake, or celebration sake, was broken open with wooden mallets, which stood for breaking open good fortune for the event.

It was then followed with the toast signifying the opening of the Japan Film Festival 2023, much to the approval and cheers to everyone in attendance.

Japanese traditional dances and performances engaged the attendees and showed the appreciation of Japanese arts and culture.

Attendees were treated to wonderful food, splendid drinks, and even authentic Japanese sweets and confectionaries.

The ceremonies were followed with the screening of the opening film of the festival, “Belle,” a cinematic and award-winning masterpiece shown and applauded the world over, and which the audience loved and appreciated very much.

Our congratulations and thanks to everyone at The Japan Foundation, Manila, along with their supporters and sponsors, for a successful opening night. It was a delightful event for all attendees and set a festive and fulfilling tone for the Japanese Film Festival 2023.

The Japanese Film Festival has always been one of the biggest and most popular film festivals in the country as it draws over 25,000 fans and film enthusiasts every year, and in 2023, it starts on-site screening from January 22 to February 22, 2023 at different venues around he country, with simultaneous screenings at SM City Baguio, SM Seaside Cebu, SM City Davao from January 27 to 31, 2023; followed by Cinematheque Manila, Cinematheque Negros, Cinematheque Iloilo, Cinematheque Davao, Cinematheque Nabunturan from January 28 to 29, 2023; and UP Cine Adarna (Quezon City) from February 17 to 22.

arkadymac.com has been the media partner to the Japanese Film Festival since 2016, and we are grateful to the Japan Foundation, Manila for always inviting us to do coverage. Many thanks to our Correspondents Rica and Sab for covering this event for us.

And thank you for dropping by, and do visit us again for more features here at arkadymac.com.


Xtian Mack

Xtian Mack took up AB English Studies, Major in Creative Writing at UP Diliman. Currently works for a medical transcription company. He is the Founder of arkadymac.com, doing photography, writing, and reporting for the website. He has covered over 300 cosplay, anime, gaming, and pop culture events in the last five years. Loves cute and furry things.

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