Non-Ski/Snowboard Film Wins Niseko Shootout Short Film Festival for The First Time!

A mini-documentary on a much-loved 88-year-old local artist has won this winter’s Niseko Shootout Short Film Festival held at Hanazono Ski Resort.

It’s the first time in the event’s five-year history that a non-ski/snowboard-related film has trumped the field.

Painter is an artistic, 4-minute-long film following a day in the life of Shigeru Tokumaru, one of Niseko’s most loved artisans.

Filmmaker Toshi Pander won ¥180,000 in prize money thanks to Niseko Shootout major sponsor Don Julio 1942 Tequila – who also supplied a shot of tequila to festival goers on arrival.

Niseko Shootout founder Winse Heyward said he was excited to see more diversity in the entries this year.

“It’s great to see our film festival growing in size and depth over the years,” Winse said.

“We’ve now got films that are not just about the amazing skiing and snowboarding but also the spirit and uniqueness of the local people, making it a true Niseko cultural event.”

More than 400 people packed Hanazono EDGE – Hanazono Ski Resort’s premier slopeside dining hall – on Friday March 17 for the fun-filled 2-hour event.

Hanazono EDGE also provided food and drink specials for guests, with a roving beer-vendor pouring draught beer from a keg strapped to her back (as is seen at Japanese baseball games).

In all, there were 16 short movies entered by filmmakers from within Japan and internationally from the USA, Austria, New Zealand, Argentina, UK and more.

Judge Ryunosuke Tanaka said the judging was difficult due to the variety and individuality of the entries.

“Among the works that conveyed the charms of Niseko from unique perspectives, Toshi’s Painter stood out from the crowd”, Tanaka-san said.

“Beginning with a quiet but powerful Niseko landscape and moving to focus on the painter, Tokumaru-san, the beauty of the images continues to the point where one can almost feel his breath.

“As the Niseko area has a very high awareness of powder snow, skiing, and snowboarding, exciting powder riding pieces are inspiring, but Painter does not include any skiing scenes.

“However, it gives us a strong sense of the people who live and work here.”

Taking second place Niseko Daydreams, a film by Austrians Bernhard Braun and Mattias Wehinger following skiers exploring the magical Niseko backcountry terrain and enjoying local onsens and hospitality.

In third place was another biographical short documentary, Envision, by Yuichi Ishida and featuring the local legendary calligrapher Yoko Arano.

Ioanna Morelli, Niseko Tourism director and event subcommittee member said it was great to see the return of the festival to Hanazono this season.

“The quality of filming, editing and storytelling in each short showcased Niseko as a visually stunning and culturally rich environment.

“Congratulations to winner Toshi Pander and thank you to everyone who participated to make this year epic.”

All the films can be watched on the Niseko Tourism YouTube channel.

The winners of the Season-long #NisekoShootout Instagram Contest were also announced during the event.

All images uploaded to Instagram and hashtagged #nisekoshootout this winter were eligible, with almost 900 entries in the three categories – Ski, Snowboard, Open.

2022-23 Niseko Shootout Winners (View all photos on Nisekoshoot Instagram)

Skiing Category Snowboarding Category Open Category
1st Place: Teddy Laycock @teddylaycock for his shot with James Winfield  @thejameswinfield 1st Place: Agustin Villalba @austinpowder for his shot of Stefan Boers @stefanboers 1st Place: Greg Homann @nisekosnowboard
2nd Place: James Winfield @thejameswinfield for his shot with Chris Davenport @steepskiing 2nd Place: Kage @kagephoto for his shot with Makoto Yamada @fs5050 2nd Place: Jack Woods @woodsy_8
3rd Place: Ruairidh Squair @ruairidhs for his shot with rider Chris Smith @chrissmith_really 3rd Place: Troy Daniel @somethingblack and

Saki Hayashi @saki_chow

3rd Place: Chad Clark



Make sure to follow Niseko Shootout &  Niseko Tourism social media to find out more about the Niseko Shootout Summer contest.

Thanks again to all our sponsors & partners and until next year.