Almost 1,000 Snow-loving Cinemagoers Packed the Prestigious Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono for the Niseko Film Festival 2024.

A touch of Hollywood came to Hokkaido on Saturday night as almost 1,000 snow-loving cinemagoers packed the prestigious Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono for the Niseko Film Festival 2024.

The red carpet extravaganza included both indoor and outdoor screens in Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono’s Events Village, with Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono also curating a food and drink menu especially for the event.

Niseko local Sakka Hiranuma and former BBC television presenter Jonathan Benarr hosted the event, while Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono resident entertainer Daniel Park gave a live performance.

A record high 29 films were registered by filmmakers from within Japan and internationally from countries including the USA, Canada, France, Germany and the UK.

Since its inception in 2018, the Niseko Film Festival has evolved to become the highlight of the Niseko spring calendar, providing a festive opportunity for shoulder-season holidaymakers and locals.

It also serves as a platform to showcase the stunning Niseko region through the lenses of filmmakers from around the world.

This year Powderlife and Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono joined forces to sponsor the event and bring it to life.

All the films were judged by 10 representatives from different fields including pro-athletes Eric Pollard and Torah Bright; Taro Tamai, founder of Gentemstick; Matt Hamtpon, Founder of Rhythm Japan; a long-time Niseko Film Festival supporter and current Manager of General Affairs at Tokyu Grand Hirafu, Ryunosuke Tanaka; and Kentaro Hoshi, Hanazono Niseko’s Sales and Marketing Manager/Creative Director.

Judges score each film based on 5 criterias including Niseko soul, story telling, innovation, cinematography and production & editing.

This year’s winning film was “The Tape”, a 5 minute film produced by Léo Rattez from France.

Judge Kentaro Hoshi said “The Tape” was his favourite film this year.

“It has a lot of great winter film elements and beautiful landscapes but also a nice message that made us feel humble about what we have in this place we live,” Kentaro said. “You can tell the production team can ride but they didn’t showcase any actual snowboarding scenes which I thought was quite unique, and it highlighted their message more. There were many good films to watch this year as a judge but “The Tape” stood out right away for me. They brought the short film standard higher in their creative storytelling.”

Taking second place was “Sumuzu” by the Niseko Zen team, a local snowsports company.

In third place was “Melting Mountains” by Ivy Stanton.

The People’s Choice Award was a new award introduced this year, which was determined through live voting by attendees at the event.

The winning film, ‘Yugo’ by Issac Podmore and Daniel Masion, earned them a remarkable prize: a two-night stay at one of these amazing hotels in Asia: Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono, Hyatt Regency Bali, Hyatt Regency Bangkok, or Hyatt Regency Seragaki Island for two.

Niseko Film Festival founder Winse Heyward said “It’s exciting to see our film festival growing throughout the years. Not only do we have a record-high number of films entered, the partnership of Powderlife and Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono allows us to see the uplift of our spring event. ”

Due to time restrictions, only the top 17 films selected by the judges were shown during the night of the event. However, you can enjoy all of them on the Niseko Shootout YouTube channel.

Look out for the 2025 Niseko Film Festival details on the Niseko Shootout Website or Niseko Shootout Instagram.