Photo/IllutrationA scene from “The Land of Sunshine” where a man and a woman flee from zombies as they seek a “paradise” (Provided by the Okayama prefectural government)

  • Photo/Illustraion

OKAYAMA--An Okayama prefectural government film that mixes zombies with the charms of the prefecture won an award at one of the largest festivals in Asia dedicated to short films.

“The Land of Sunshine” took the Tabimoja Award at the Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia.

The prize is awarded to works of excellence produced to introduce the charms of local areas.

Prefectural officials submitted two shorts, “The Land of Sunshine” themed on sightseeing and the other focused on fruit, for the Visual Tourism Award category. Both films were two-and-a-half-minutes long.

The film project was called “Harewood Movie,” a pun on Hollywood and the prefecture’s self-proclaimed nickname, “Hare no kuni” (land of sunshine). The nickname stems from the fact that various parts of the prefecture have been chosen as shooting locations for films.

The officials publicly solicited cast members and released the clips online in September last year. The films were directed by actor Tomoya Maeno, who serves as PR ambassador for the prefecture.

“The Land of Sunshine” tells a story of a man and a woman headed to “rakuen” (paradise) while fleeing from zombies in the pouring rain. They make their way to the Okayama Korakuen garden under the clear blue sky.

The film received positive reviews at the festival. Some viewers said it left a strong impression by contrasting a dark and desperate situation where people are attacked by zombies with cheerfulness and hope at the safe haven in Okayama.

The short was picked for the award from about 100 submissions.

“It is such an honor,” an official from the prefectural government’s public relations and publicity section said. “We want to use it to improve Okayama’s image.”

The film can be viewed at a special website created by the prefectural government (http://8092-okayama.jp/) and also on YouTube and other websites.

As part of the second “Harewood Movie” project, two other shorts themed on “relocating” and “attracting businesses” were released on Jan. 19.