This year's Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia will shine a spotlight on global issues amid ongoing conflicts and disasters worldwide, while also showcasing the first-ever movie entirely written by artificial intelligence.

With the theme "Illuminate your life," organizers are seeking to use the selected films to foster empathy, discovery and inspiration among viewers.

Among the more pertinent pieces is "Palestine Islands," a French film that centers around a Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank.

A still from the French short film "Palestine Islands." (Photo courtesy of Committee for Short Shorts)(Kyodo)

The film tells the story of a young Palestinian girl who embarks on a mission to make her blind grandfather believe the Israeli wall separating their refugee camp from his native land of Jaffa has fallen.

"We wanted this film to be a utopian tale, between drama and comedy," said co-director Nour Ben Salem.

In the smartphone category, "Siren! Air Raid Alert! Head for Cover!," a 5-minute Ukrainian documentary made from footage shot by survivors of a Russian missile attack on Kyiv in October 2022, illuminates another prominent global conflict.

Meanwhile, "Efe," a documentary directed and filmed by Shiori Ito -- a journalist who became a symbol of Japan's #MeToo movement after going public with a high-profile rape case -- shows life after the Turkey-Syria earthquake in February 2023 through the eyes of a 14-year-old boy.

Promotional poster for Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia 2024. (Courtesy of Committee for Short Shorts)(Kyodo)

The festival, founded by Japanese actor Tetsuya Bessho in 1999, is the only international short film festival in Asia that is eligible to nominate five films, including animation, for the following year's Academy Awards.

Taking place in hybrid form with both online and in-person screenings, this year it will showcase about 270 films selected from 4,936 submissions in 114 different countries and regions.

With technology a running theme in recent years, audiences will also be able to enjoy a special line-up of films made with the assistance of AI.

A still from "The Artificial Conjuring Circle," an Austrian experimental animated film made completely by artificial intelligence. (Photo courtesy of Committee for Short Shorts)(Kyodo)

This includes the Austrian experimental animated film "The Artificial Conjuring Circle," the first film made completely by AI to be featured at the festival, and the Chinese film "Dragon Gate," the first ink-wash style short animation using AI-generated content.

Other features this year include Life Log Box, an online marketplace for short film creators to connect with business opportunities, and voting in a festival promotional video contest using NFTs, or non-fungible tokens.

Short Shorts Film Festival and Asia will screen at several venues in Tokyo from June 4-17. Some films are already available to watch online until June 30.

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