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Sunday, July 24, 2005

KANSAI: Who & What

Short-film festival next weekend in Osaka:
Osaka Short Shorts Film Festival 2005 will take place next weekend at Osaka Business Park (OBP) Enkei Hall (formerly known as MID Theater) in Chuo Ward.

The seventh annual festival, starting Friday and lasting until Sunday, will feature some 100 short films from all over the world. These include works by Mexican brothers Alfonso and Carlos Cuaron, known for the 2001 movie "Y tu mama tambien" ("And Your Mother Too") and other international hits. Among other offerings are two shorts featuring Gael Garcia Bernal, an actor who starred in "mama." Also on hand are some prize winners from the Cannes Film Festival and the Academy Awards.

This is the Kansai leg of a national tour, but there are many programs shown exclusively in Osaka, including Canadian short animations and joint productions by Japanese and Korean filmmakers.

The festival is comprised of 14 programs, with showings every two hours. On the first day, screenings will be from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., while the second day will run from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and the final day from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Tickets for one showing are 1,000 yen in advance and 1,400 yen at the door. Advance tickets are available at Ticket Pia.

The festival will also be held from Aug. 6 to Aug. 28 at Kokumei Shogeki theater, also in Chuo Ward, with different programs. Tickets will be 100 yen more than the OBP programs.

For more information, call the festival's executive committee at (06) 6343-8711 or visit its Web site (in Japanese) at osaka.eigasai.com/

Free Japanese classes on offer in Kyoto:
The Kyoto City International Foundation is seeking foreigners to attend a free Japanese-language course to be held Aug. 14, 21 and 28 at its facility in Sakyo Ward.

The three-session course will be aimed at giving foreigners the opportunity to improve their language skills by studying what they want with several volunteer teachers. Participants at any level are welcome to this concentrated course.

The classes will be held from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Participation is free, but reservations must be made in advance. Twenty applicants will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Participants are required to attend all three sessions.

For reservations or details, call the foundation at (075) 752-3511 or visit the organizer's base, Kyoto International Community House (also known as Kyoto-shi Kokusai Koryu Kaikan), a six-minute walk from Keage Station on the subway Tozai line.

Exhibition features Spanish picture books:
An exhibition of Spanish picture books will be held Aug. 3 to Aug. 7 at the Kyoto City International Foundation's facility in Sakyo Ward.

About 200 illustrated children's books from Spain will be on display. Some are translated into Japanese.

There is no entrance fee. Reservations are not required. The display will be in the Sister City Exhibition Corner on the second floor of the center, open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day.

Also, there will be two lectures on Spanish publications for young readers at 2 p.m. on Aug. 6 and Aug. 7 at the foundation's conference room. The lectures will be given by Montse Mari, director at Centro de Intercambio Hispano-Japones Extension, an exchange center in Osaka. The Aug. 6 lecture will focus on introducing many popular picture books from Spain, while the Aug. 7 session will be on the theme "Picture Books: My Another Life."

Both lectures will be conducted in Japanese. Reservations must be made in advance. The lectures are open to everyone older than junior high school students. Eighty applicants will be accepted for each session.

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