Corona Couldn’t Stop Niseko Short Film Festival 2020

22 great films were streamed online LIVE to share with everyone around the world!

2019-20 Niseko Shootout Short Film Festival – Watch Party

As events across the world call time out due to COVID-19, Niseko Shootout organisers found a way to make sure the show went on.

The second annual Niseko Shootout Short Film Festival was broadcast via a Facebook Watch Party on Saturday night, March 14th – at the same time the event was originally scheduled to take place at Hanazono’s Edge slope side restaurant.

Last year more than 400 people crammed into Hanazono’s 308 building for the inaugural event shown on a big screen and MC’d by famous Hokkaido filmmaker Neil Hartmann and Niseko local Sakka Hiranuma. This year 100-200 people tuned in to the party and enjoyed the creativity born out of Niseko over the past winter, and to see who would take out the now hotly
contested event.

In all, there were 22 films entered and viewed over 90 minutes, before a live awards ceremony beamed from Hokkaido Core Lodge at the base of Moiwa Ski Resort.

This year’s winning film was The Secret of Bottom Turn Island, a 3.5-minute-long James Bond-esque spy thriller featuring Gentemstick pro rider Alex Yoder covertly recording locals in an onsen (hot spring) bath to discover how to get to their secret island snow/surfing paradise.

Contest organiser Winse Heyward said The Secret of Bottom Turn Island raised the bar for films that will go into the running for future festivals.

“This little movie displayed everything we want the Niseko Shootout Short Film Festival to inspire,” he said.

“Out-of-the-box creativity, engaging storytelling, beautiful cinematography and plenty of epic local scenery to help promote this amazing destination. Cameos by Gentemstick founder Taro Tamai and a host of other local Gentem legends added an epic twist and altogether made this a clear winner. Huge thanks to filmmaker Ian Durkin and all entrants for entering this year’s Niseko Shootout Short Film Festival. We hope budding film makers will take some inspiration from this year’s entries and take it to another level again next year – we want to see some Oscar-worthy productions next year!”

Taking second place was Wave Forms by Richard Seehausen.

And in third place was Shiribeshi Area by popular longtime local Japanese snowboard film makers InCrew.

To rewatch the watch party, simply join the Niseko Shootout Film Festival Facebook Group and click on the watch party. *”The Secret of Bottom Turn Island” is doing a global festival tour, therefore it was shown only during our LIVE stream and no longer available on reply.

Keep an eye on all the future Niseko Shootout announcements by following Niseko Tourism Facebook page or check out

A special feature and one of our favorite films, “Ski Fever”. The script, the production and capturing 80’s ski vibe are simply a work of art. Great job, guys!!!!!

The Niseko Shootout was born from an Instagram-based photo competition in the winter of 2017/18. This winter more than 1,500 local photos were hashtagged #nisekoshootout and therefore eligible to win the competition.

2019-20 Niseko Shootout Winners (View all photos on Nisekoshoot Instagram)

Skiing Category Snowboarding Category Landscape Category
1st Place:@jarasijka 1st Place:@_kj.theday_ 1st Place: @lcpilon
2nd Place: @Taikinaka 2nd Place: @chilledmoose 2nd Place: @teddylaycock
3rd Place: @torin.barnes 3rd Place: @tonirodriguezshoots 3rd Place: @rujigallery

1st Place Landscape




1st Place Skiing



1st Place Snowboarding