A Glimpse at the Films at the Tokyo Student Film Festival 2020

31st TougakusaiLogo

Tthe 31st Tokyo Student Film Festival runs from October 15th to October 17th in Shibuya Eurospace and 19 have been selected for audiences to enjoy. The line-up consists of films produced by students from across Japan and they are submitted to the festival which is run by a small team of students who have created a space where the free-flowing and unique ideas people have in their student days can thrive. Some of these films go on to the international festival circuit so this is a good way to check out future talent.

This event is the largest student film festival in Japan with the longest history and people who have cooperated in the past include Nobuhiko Obayashi, Mamoru Oshii, Yuya Ishii, Satoko Yokohama, Yoshihiro Nakamura Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Shinji Aoyama, Kazuo Hara and more. This being a student festival, funds are tight so organisers have arranged a crowdfunding campaign to help with the venue cost and the printing cost of flyers and pamphlets.

Here are the films with information pulled from the festival site and the YouTube pages for the trailers as well as other resources I discovered (badly translated):


パピルス  Papirusu

Release Date: 2019

Duration: 52 mins.

Director: TANYŪ   (Kyoto University of Art and Design, Tokyo Zokei University) / Furui Hito

Writer: TANYŪ

Starring: Mon, Kyuu, CHOU VETCH B, YO-CHIN

Described as “a trip on the subway that unfolds in a set like a “trompe l’oeil” built in the living room of a rental apartment,” the shooting of the movie took place entirely in the living room of a rented apartment and is full of handmade props and artistic lighting that sell the world of the film.

I originally wrote about this when it played at last year’s Kanazawa Film Festival. I had been following the website of the director for quite a while now and enjoying its updates on games, art, and life and this film. You can follow more of her work here.

Synopsis: Deep underground is a train that travels long distances. Travelling in this underground world is not that exciting because there is only darkness outside so the passengers are getting very bored …

Tandake gakkai jiken

蛋ヶ岳学会事件Tandake gakkai jiken

Duration: 20 mins.

Director: Ryo Teraishi (Film School of Tokyo (Eiga Bigakko))

Synopsis: Numakawa is a part-time cleaner at a hospital who secretly repeats an experiment in a room in his apartment…



Release Date: September 28th, 2019

Duration: 47 mins.

Director: Risa Negishi (Waseda University)

Writer: Risa Negishi (Script), 

Starring: Meirin, Manami Usamaru, Mokuren, Shohei Yamashita, Nagisa Umeno,

This one was released last year as part of a special series of screenings to upcoming talent. It stars Manami Usamaru who had a lead role in the film Sisterhood (2018)

Synopsis: You’re far away when you’re together. Being here properly even though you are far away. The loneliness that only I feel when I’m two is highlighted.

River of Youth

夏日春風 Kajitsu Harukaze

Duration: 62 mins.

Director: Han Chengyu (Musashino Art University)


Synopsis: Xinxiang City, Henan Province in China, just before the summer vacation. We follow the lives of the main character, a high schooler, his mother and his older brother, who is studying hard to enter a university in America. The main character works part time at a poultry farm and doesn’t go to school very often. His female friend shows him some notes from class but he is uncertain about her feelings. Meanwhile, his father, who has been absent for a decade, suddenly returns home.



Release Date: N/A

Duration: 35 mins.

Director: Miyaka Naruse (Film School of Tokyo (Eiga Bigakko))

Writer: Sakiko Yashige (Script), 

Starring: Aki Morita, Yukari Saito, Atsushi Oda, Yoko Akita, Natsuki Murata


Synopsis: Shoko, a 40-year-old  high school teacher, feels the desire to touch a girl and when a lonely student in her class pursues her, she gets her chance.

Light / Walk

Release Date: N/A

Duration: 25 mins.

Director: Kosuke Yonezawa (Nagoya University of Arts and Sciences)

Also playing at the Nara International Film Festival where it receives its world premiere.

Synopsis: Ayumu, a 23-year-old young man working part-time as a detective. One day, his older sister visits his house for the first time in 10 years. She wants him to look after her 9-year-old daughter, Hikari, from August 9th to August 14th. This will be their first meeting. His niece. A life with a mysterious sense of distance. Meanwhile, Ayumu is doing detective-work and investigating the identity of a man.

Until Winter Fray

冬のほつれまで Fuyu no hotsure made

Release Date: N/A

Duration: 68 mins.

Director: Daisuke Tamochi (Musashino Art University)

Writer: Daisuke Tamochi (Script), 

Starring: Chisa Aone, Kyoka Kitazaki, Naoki Kondo, Yuri Hirose, Yudai Tsuruta, Keita Hosokawa,


Also at the Pia Film Festival

Synopsis: Ikumi Nemoto is a second year high school student and her hobby is observing. Her routine is going to high school and watering the plants on the balcony of an empty classroom, keeping an eye on what happened during class and what the coffee shop customers say and do after school, and then drawing a picture based on her observations in her sketchbook. Honoka Tachibana, a classmate who is interested in her behaviour, tries to interact with Ikumi. However, Ikumi does not want to be interfered with at all. Her time flows to her.

When we see and consider Ikumi Nemoto’s way of life, the story gets audiences to questions the establishment of oneself, how the people around us change, and whether there may be human beings who live only for themselves.

Pray for the Afterglow

残光に祈りを Zanko ni inori o

Duration: 30 mins.

Director: Akira Muramoto (Nihon University)

Starring: Hidemichi Miyata, Narumi Uno

Synopsis: “The roar of fireworks, the cry of an unnamed young man”

One day at a fireworks display, a young man who calls himself the Prime Minister appears to have launched a “nuclear firework”, a traditional rocket that has radioactive substances.

Tonda Shisen

飛んだ視線Tonda Shisen

Duration: 20 mins.

Director: Soto Wakita (Tokyo Zokei University)

Synopsis: Aki immerses herself in Natalie’s house almost every day. Natalie says that the image of her staring from the next room comes to mind. The voice of a man reading a poem can be heard from outside. Both, when together and when alone, begin to think about the “mysterious gaze.”



Duration: 33 mins.

Director: Soichiro Uchida (Keio University)

Synopsis: A story about a man with insomnia and a woman trying to put him to sleep. The woman speaks kindly to the man and tries to rest him, but his symptoms do not improve. The woman finally collapses because of physical and mental fatigue.


Release Date: N/A

Duration: 64 mins.

Director: Maiko Seki (Japan Institute of the Moving Image)

Writer: N/A

Starring: Takuji Seki, Momoko Seki, Maiko Seki, Kanata Ikemura, Mirasol Seki

Also at the Pia Film Festival

Synopsis: A documentary about the director’s own family. She and her sister live with their unstable father and they have “three mothers”: the mother who gave birth, the mother who raised them, and the mother who is living with them now. However, nobody can say, “This person is my mother.”

Short Film Competition

Elephant in the Shower House

浴場の象Yokujo no zo

Duration: 04 mins.

Director: Jialin Cheng (Tokyo Zokei University)


Synopsis: In the late 90’s in China, there was a factory bath in the town where I lived. You could meet an elephant there. As the times change, a mysterious story unfolds.


Duration: 12 mins.

Director: Yutaka Tsunemachi (Tama Art University)

I couldn’t find information on this one.


Duration: 07 mins.

Director: Takuya Miyahara (Enbu Seminar)

Synopsis: It’s not six tatami mats, but in the space of one room, I think that human activities are still going on today.

This is Broadcasting Room to Major Tom

こちら放送室よりトム少佐へKochira hoso-shitsu yori Tomu shosa e

Release Date: N/A

Duration: 11 mins.

Director: Takuya Chisaka (Nihon University)

Writer: Takuya Chisaka (Script), 

Starring: Tokuma Kudo, Chika Arakawa

Also at the Pia Film Festival

Synopsis: It is the summer of 1989 and a lonely broadcaster boy and a girl attending night school make a relay radio drama together through a cassette tape. This work was produced as a third-year college training assignment and shot on 16mm film.



Duration: 12 mins.

Director: Keita Tsuji (Musashino Art University)

Synopsis: A boy and a girl are lost in a town where the moon shines in the dark. The two who were confused by the dark night forgot what they should return to or where their souls are.

Strawberry Candy

いちご飴Ichigo Ame

Duration: 07 mins.

Director: Nianze Li (Tokyo University of the Arts)

Synopsis: She has an unspeakable secret but the memory is gradually fading. The little girl is no longer sure if it was a dream or reality.


I don’t want to forget it, but I’m not sure

忘れたくないのに定かじゃないWasuretakunai no ni sadaka janai

Duration: 12 mins.

Director: Fumiko Fujimaru (Musashino Art University)

A mix of live-action and animation and a cracked sense of humour makes this a unique film.

Synopsis: The story of pets. I want to remember everything, I don’t want to forget anything. It’s so important, but I’m really disappointed that I don’t remember.



Duration: 10 mins.

Director: Yukiko Miyata (Nihon University)

Synopsis: A 17-year-old girl feels inferior to an adult.

4 thoughts on “A Glimpse at the Films at the Tokyo Student Film Festival 2020

  1. Pingback: A Glimpse at the Films at the Tokyo Student Film Festival 2020 — Genkinahito – 狂ったトウモロコシ

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