International Competition


The main competition, featuring only young directors from around the world.

We gather films from young filmmakers from around the world. This is a competition where we show the great works that have passed our strict selection process. Exceptional films receive the Golden SHIKA Award (work of excellence) or the Audience Award. Award recipients have the privilege of submitting a proposal for the next NARAtive film project, and if their proposal is accepted, they will be chosen as the director of the film.


Dust and Ashes

An unknown face of Hae-su. On her way from the factory, she calls someone who doesn't answer. She doesn't answer a call from someone. She is planning a funeral for her mother who died suspiciously. All these people, questions, and stares. While her anxiety grows, can she keep her secret plan?


Japanese Premiere

The End of Love

Julie and Yuval are in love and have just had a baby. When Yuval returns to Israel to renew his visa, they start sharing their family routine via video call. But it begins to take its toll on their relationship. Will their love survive the perils of this new form of “interaction”?


Japanese Premiere

My Mexican Bretzel

As Kharjappali says “we live searching for ways to forget our vulnerability,” if not through Lovedyn, through tequila, butter, a lover, God or war. – Vivian. With no character voices, the story portrays the text of Vivian’s diary. This unique, bittersweet drama captures us with literal and visual beauty.


Japanese Premiere

Stories from the Chestnut Woods

In a decaying forest on the Yugoslav-Italian border in the years after World War II, a stingy, old carpenter and a lonely, young chestnut seller share imaginative memories of the past as they weigh fateful decisions for the future, in this touching homage to a lost way of life.


Japanese Premiere

We Are Thankful

A film based on real events, re-enacted by those who lived through them, we follow Siyabonga who dreams of becoming an actor. When a film production comes to his town, Siyabonga does his best to seize this chance. His surprising journey leads him to a meeting with the director, which gave birth to this film.


Japanese Premiere


Donna has recently been convicted of “DWI” and is ordered to perform community service at the local animal shelter. When an elderly dog is scheduled to be euthanized, Donna decides to take the dog home and quickly realizes his companionship can ease her loneliness.


Japanese Premiere


In a remote mountain village of Darjeeling, ten-year-old Tashi and his old grandma live next to a family who helps them to fend for their livelihood. Their job is to look after the cardamom orchard at night from the wild animals. An approaching wedding event at their patron’s house finds Tashi excited and restless. Will they be invited?


Japanese Premiere


When a teenager is killed by his classmate public attention intensifies through the media. The murderer’s mother becomes a public enemy overnight while the victim’s mother receives abundant sympathy. Yet, the truth reveals in this “Social Media Era” that both mothers have some tough decisions to make.


Japanese Premiere


Eric Khoo

Juror President

Director| Head of Zhao Wei Films

Award-winning filmmaker Eric Khoo is the head of Zhao Wei Films and has been credited for reviving the Singapore film industry. He was the first Singaporean to have his films invited to major film festivals such as Venice and Cannes. His award-winning films include 15 (‘03) and Apprentice (‘16). His first animated feature, Tatsumi, was invited to the 64th Cannes Film Festival. He served on the Cannes short film competition jury in 2017, and was the show runner for HBO's Folklore (‘18).

Nobuko Nakano

Neuroscientist|Medical Doctor

Graduated from the Dept. of Applied Chemistry at Univ. of Tokyo in 1998. In 2008, she completed the Doctoral Course in Neuroscience at Univ. of Tokyo Medical Science Graduate School, and worked as a doctoral research at the French National Centre for Scientific Research. After coming back to Japan in 2010, she has devoted her energy to research and writing on themes involving the brain and psychology. Has been a professor at Higashi Nippon International Univ. since 2015. In addition to being a television commentator and writing regular columns in newspapers, she is an established voice on viewing the phenomena that can occur in human society from a scientific perspective and deciphering people. She is a well-published author.

Isao Yukisada


A highly-regarded filmmaker from Kumamoto, Japan. In 2000, his feature Sunf lower won the FIPRESCI Award at the Busan IFF, and Go! (‘01) brought him into the limelight, sweeping a number of film awards. He is well-known for his huge hit Crying Out Love in the Center of the World (‘04). While continuing to make films, he has been devoted to the restoration of Kumamoto. His recent films include Theatre: A Love Story (released Jul, 2020) and The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese (released Sep.11, 2020).

Programing Advisor

Jacob Wong

Asian Film Programming Advisor

Director of HAF and Industry Services

Jacob Wong has been Curator of the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society for over two decades. He is currently Director of the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF). He is also the Berlin International Film Festival’s Delegate for China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Daniela Persico

Locarno IFF Selection Committee, Film Critique

Daniela Persico is part selection committee for Locarno Film Festival and Berlin Critics Week and a curator for L'immagine e la parola, spin-off of the Locarno Festival. She's founder and editor in chief of the online quarterly Filmidee ( She is also devoted to helping various young filmmakers in developing films.

Sculptor of the Award Trophies

Shoji Kubota

Traditional Artisan Kubota Ranma Shop

Has worked as an artisan since 1972. He does the fretwork and carving of wooden transom windows above traditional Japanese sliding doors, in addition to official seals and carvings for shrines and temples. He has received many awards, including awards from the government, trade ministries and so on.