Documentary movie set in Miyako Islands wins prize at Locarno International Film Festival

Documentary movie set in Miyako Islands wins prize at Locarno International Film Festival

One scene from Sketches of Myahk (photograph provided by the Koichi Onishi Film Office).


August 17, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo

Sketches of Myahk (directed by Koichi Onishi), a documentary movie focusing on the spiritual songs passed on through the ages in the Miyako Islands was awarded Special Mention of the Critics Week Jury 2011, a second Grand Prize in the category of Critics’ Week in 64th Locarno International Film Festival held in Switzerland from August 3 to 13.

Onishi said, “The movie succeeded in introducing to the world the songs and culture of the Miyako Islands, Okinawa and Japan.”

   Koichi Onishi


Seven movies were screened in the category of Critics’ Week, which features documentary movies from all over the world.
Sketches of Myahk was screened on August 7 and 8. Onishi and Makoto Kubota, the musician who proposed the story and supervised the film, attended the screening. A Swiss filmmaker won the Grand Prize in the competition.

With regard to the screening of his film, Onishi said, “The audience seemed to react far better to my film than to those of other competitors. The applause just seemed to go on and on.” Onishi continued, “Organizers of other film festivals want to screen my film, so I think that the timing is good to pass on information about the Miyako Islands, Okinawa and Japan to the world.”

The film focuses on the culture and religion of the Miyako Islands by telling stories about elderly people who have inherited spiritual songs and folk songs that have been passed down in various regions of the Miyako Islands, and of women engaged in religious work.
The film will be screened in Okinawa from this November.

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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