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Event 2017.04.23The Sun Shines Bright on Joyous Closing Ceremony of OIMF9

For the second year Naminoue Umisora Park in Naha provided the stage for the closing ceremony of the All The Islands Okinawa Festival, as it transitions its name from the Okinawa International Movie Festival to be increasingly inclusive of all corners of Okinawa.

While events on previous days endured in the rain, on Sunday the sun shone bright and spirits were high through the crowd as dozens of people queued up to enter the park for the ceremony and All-Ending event on April 23rd.

The Closing Ceremony began with MCs Gori and Kawata of Garage Sale and saw politicians from around Okinawa take to the stage to celebrate the success of the festival.

Takeshi Onaga, the Governor of Okinawa Prefecture, was first to speak. "Thank you for coming from around Japan and abroad to this festival, it' s wonderful to see everyone happy and smiling, I am glad you enjoy these four days!" he said. "This time Miyako, Ishigaki, and Iheya also joined with various events including far away islands, so that the whole of Okinawa shared this festival."

"Okinawa is becoming the place where we can feel the dynamism of Asia on the streets with lots of tourists and where trade and business is increasing. Okinawa wants to be a bridge connecting Japan to the world using its local charm" he added.

Masaharu Noguni, Mayor of Chatan said that “ like the title, all of Okinawa has become the place to communicate entertainment with lots of smiles and laughter and with thoughts of happiness and peace we hope to send out a message to the world. Okinawa has a lot of new talent and entertainment. We do hope to have development in the 10th year."

Mikiko Shiroma, Mayor of Naha and Vice President of All the Islands Okinawa Festival gave her best wishes to the success of the festival and celebrated this year' s success.

Minister of State for Special Missions Yosuke Tsuruho, and Masahisa Miyazaki and Shuhei Kishimoto from the House of Representatives each took to the stage to congratulate Yoshimoto and thank the organizers for their efforts in Okinawa.

The JIMOT CM Grand Prix Competition section was announced by Dentsu' s Akihiko Souda. "This year we collected films related to food culture around Japan and we held the competition final yesterday," he said, with finalists from Aomori, Chiba, Fukui, Mie, Kagawa, and Oita. The Yoshimoto 47 Shuffin Award went to Aomori' s "Dashi Activity" by Aomori agriculture and forestry Marine Products Division synthesis sales strategy section Soup stock @AOMORI MEDIA LABO. The winner was selected by housewives from across the nation.

The work was focused on lowering salt content in food, from a prefecture with the lowest life expectancy in the country. The video promoted dashi as a healthy alternative for salt. The film also won the Grand Prix Award selected by a Yoshimoto Kogyo Jury, meaning the surprised winners walked straight back the stage to receive the 470,000yen prize.

Yonabaru Town' s “ Where are you Going Each Night? “ by Yonabaru Cheer Squad won the local prize chosen from the 41 municipalities of Okinawa. Two girls from the squad wearing traditional fighting suits used when playing tug-of-war collected the prize of 410,000yen.

The Creator' s Factory Awards, given out at the end of the ceremony to new scriptwriters and directors, were then presented. Film Director Yuji Nakae explained that the awards "I hope that movies and the young talent born here will fly out to the world!" he said. "We are looking to discover the movie project ideas and to help creators develop their screen play."

The Shisa trophy was awarded to "Half Time" by Yuki Favian Nishiki. "Thank you to the support of the festival to help create the script, I will do my best to make a great story. I am a comedian and I am glad to expand my way of expression and appreciate the opportunity."

The under-25 section award went to Yasuhiro Ogawa for "Other Side." Ogawa, looking genuinely surprised, said "I hope to make an even more interesting movie next time! I do hope it will be seen by everyone here!"

Shigenobu Asato, Vice President of the Organization Committee welcomed the leaders of Cheering Squad support groups from various regions of Okinawa as dozens of people filled the stage waving flags.

Hiroshi Osaki, Chairman and CEO of Yoshimoto Kogyo and President of the Okinawa Film Festival closed with the final speech alongside Tamako Miyagawa. "One month ago, with Tamako I visited several islands, and went to a party and rakugo event in Iheya village on Iheya island. The mayor cried and was deeply moved."

"The festival will try its best for the 10th edition and I hope to find a boyfriend by then, otherwise I will date Mr. Osaki!" said Miyagawa.

The 10th Okinawa International Film Festival was confirmed for 19-22rd April 2018.