Damah Film Festival Back In Hiroshima

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Feature Film Doonby Screened Alongside 10 Short Films Vying For Top Prize.

The Damah Film Festival, the premiere spiritually themed short-film festival in the world, returned to Hiroshima, Japan, this month, as ten filmmakers battled for the top prize. The 3-day festival concluded with the awarding of three top prizes and a sneak peek at the feature film, Doonby, starring actor John Schneider and featuring an ensemble cast that includes Robert Davi, Ernie Hudson, Jennifer O’Neill, Will Wallace, Jenn Gotzon and others. Written and directed by British filmmaker Peter Mackenzie the film was shot on location in Smithsville, Texas and features an emotional storyline that highlights the effect each of us has on one another’s lives. The screening was the first to feature Japanese subtitles.

The festival’s Grand Prize was awarded to the film “The Return,” from South Korean director Lee Jihyung and two entries “The Dust That Anyone Has,” and “The Day To Return With Father,” were awarded a Jurors’ Award and the Audience Favorite Award respectively.

“Damah” is a Hebrew word meaning “Inspirational Metaphor,” and the festival “encourages an emerging generation of filmmakers from diverse perspectives to voice the spiritual aspect of the human experience through film and provides a forum for these artists to develop, discuss and display their vision.” This year’s competition found 76 films competing for the top prize including submissions from Japan, the U.S., Korea, Taiwan and other countries. The festival began in Seattle, Washington in 2001, and moved to Los Angeles in 2005. In 2009 it partnered with the city of Hiroshima for the annual Damah Film Festival in Hiroshima, Japan.

In the wake of Japan’s devastating earthquake and Tsunami earlier this year, some felt that the festival should be canceled, or at the very least downsized, showing only works submitted in past years. The Damah Hiroshima committee decided instead that it was the perfect time for this festival to take place, as they focus on films designed specifically to touch the hearts of viewers.

“We were so excited to be hosting such wonderful filmmakers again this year,” noted Damah Hiroshima director Kyoko Heya. “The best way we can rebuild the Japanese spirit is by inspiring those who have suffered so much to get back up and keep trying. We hope our films were an encouragement to those who have suffered and are continuing to suffer.”

For More information on Damah, please visit http://www.damah.jp/

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Bethany Thompson

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