Japanese org joins with UTB on competition

TOKYO — The Japan External Trade Organization (Jetro), a Japanese government trade promotion org, will join with United Television Broadcasting Systems (UTB), an L.A.-based Japanese-language broadcaster, to present an unusual competition of Japanese shorts.

Called “Picture Battle vs. Show Biz Japan (PB vs. SB),” the contest will unspool at Hollywood’s Egyptian Theatre on Nov. 8.

Of 60 shorts submitted by Japanese filmmakers in Japan and the U.S., seven have been selected as finalists. The head  of the competition jury is Kazuyuki Izutsu, a veteran Japanese helmer (“Pacchigi!”) who has developed a parallel career as a sharp-tongued critic. Other members of the jury are producer Arata Matsushima, helmer and scripter Chris Tashima, producer Clayton Townsend, producer Eric Calderon, consultant Jeremy Kahn and Kadokawa Pictures USA prexy-CEO Takashi Sakuda.

The seven jurors will critique each of the pics in front of the theater aud, “American Idol” style, and crown a winner.

UTB will air the show and the winning pic on Jan. 1.

Jetro is also partnering with AFI to present three pics at this year’s AFI Fest, which unspools Oct. 30-Nov. 9 at the ArcLight Hollywood and other Hollywood locations: Takeshi’s Kitano’s “Achilles and the Tortoise,” Norihiro Koizumi’s “Gachi Boy — Wrestling With a Memory” and the Michel Gondry, Leos Carax and Bong Joon-Ho omnibus “Tokyo.”

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