What we do

Tokyo International Deaf Film Festival

  • Organization : Tokyo International Deaf Film Festival Executive Committee
  • Section : Project on artistic and creative focus
  • Type of Grant Program : Long
  • Art Forms : Visual Art / Media Art

Outline of the project

Year 1 project outline
1)Tokyo Deaf Film Festival Forum: Considering the possibilities for deaf film festivals
By provid-ing an opportunity for information-sharing with people interested in topics like deaf film festivals around the world and the activities of deaf creators, the forum contributed to improvement in the quality of film crea-tion and support activities by Japan’s deaf creators and people involved in the movie business.Moreover, a talk with the organizing committee chair-man of the Shizuoka Cannes Week collaboration with TDF that took place in May this year allowed us to ex-plore the synergies produced by cooperation between people from different fields, as well as present the possibilities for creating platforms that encourage mu-tual understanding between hearing people and deaf people.
Date/time: November 3 (public holiday), 2018
Venue: Cinema House Otsuka (Toshima-ku, Tokyo)

2)Instructors invited from Deaf Film Camp (DFC) for closed workshops
For the purpose of holding filmmaking workshops for deaf students in summer 2019, instructors Michael Kaufer and Storm Smith from America’s annual Deaf Film Camp (DFC) were invited to give Japanese work-shop organizers a realistic taste of the DFC workshops on which the Japanese ones would be modeled, and to teach local organizers the necessary workshop skills and operational management.
Date/time: Friday, January 11 – Monday, January 14 (public holiday), 2019
Venue: The Totto Culture Center (Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo)

Year 2 project outline
1)Tokyo International Deaf Film Festival 2019
This event was implemented together with local com-munities as an ongoing initiative and “open film festi-val,” put out to the world by the directors who will lead the future of deaf cinema. Over five days in Shibuya, screenings of around 20 films were interwoven with talks by a variety of guests. Screenings included movies from places like Asia (including Japan), Europe and America made from a “deaf” perspective or dealing with deafness, publicly solicited works, and Japanese films subtitled in Japanese for the first time. Organizers aimed to establish the festival in two ways: by providing an ongoing forum for the promotion and circulation of movies based on the deaf perspective, and by offering a continuous framework to help develop the cinematic arts for/by deaf people, and the human resources as-sociated with it.
Date/time: Friday, May 31 – Monday, June 3/Wednesday, June 5, 2019 (five days)
Venue: Euro Live, elsewhere (Shibuya-ku, Tokyo)

Year 3 project outline
1)Filmmaking workshops for deaf students
Workshops were conducted with guests Jason Robarts, the deaf film director who won the Audience Award at the Tokyo International Deaf Film Festival 2019, and Japanese film directors Mika Imai and Akito Imai. By creating an environment that draws out the imagination and creativity of deaf students, improves their commu-nication skills and gives them the freedom to create new ideas, the aim of these workshops, which offered a rare experience of filmmaking, was to foster highly cre-ative students as cultural leaders for the next genera-tion, and to cultivate those who would not normally have such an opportunity. Through making films with no right or wrong answers, and through post film-viewing discussion etc., partici-pants gained hands-on experience learning about dif-ferent values from their own, discovering their own unique perspectives and ideas, and wrapping up the creation of something in collaboration with people they would never normally have dealings with. The work-shops encouraged the development of deaf cinematic art and the cultivation of talent by providing deaf par-ticipants with the opportunity to grasp the potential unique to deaf people in a positive way.
Date/time: August 8-21, 2021
Ven-ue: online

2)Tokyo International Deaf Film Festival Forum 2021
As well as looking back on the activities and develop-ment of Tokyo Deaf Film Festival Executive Committee to date, there was a screening of works produced by basic course participants from the 2021 deaf filmmak-ing workshops.
Post-corona, we talked about the significance of hold-ing the film festival and the dissemination of works, and shared outlooks and challenges for the Tokyo Deaf Film Festival Executive Committee going forward.
Date/time: December 11, 2021
Venue: online


Tokyo International Deaf Film Festival Executive Committee
Tokyo International Deaf Film Festival is a voluntary organization established with the aim of provoking new reactions in Japan and the world through art from the world of the deaf, and based on the motto “visual intelligence.” What is characteristic of the Tokyo International Deaf Film Festival is that the films screened are selected from the perspective of the deaf person serving as festival director. As well as getting a lot of people to watch movies that reflect the world of sign language surrounding deaf people, and creating a forum for deaf and hearing people to share their own culture through film, the aim of the festival is to create a framework to help develop the cinematic arts for/by deaf people and the human resources associated with it through exhibitions, talks and the like in an environment where anyone can freely share their interest in movies and art.


Eri Makihara
Tokyo International Deaf Film Festival Executive Committee
Kuwanobiru2kai 6-23-4  Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo-to 150-0001 Japan