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Video Matsuri 2021 Judges’ Comments

This is the 13th year of the Video Matsuri student short film contest. The judges and contest staff would firstly like to thank all of the teachers and students for their ongoing support of this competition. We were pleased to receive 61 entries this year, despite challenges faced by many schools including closures and lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The submissions this year demonstrate great ingenuity and ideas on how entries could be made remotely without students getting together face-to-face. We were also impressed with the student’s use of new ICT skills including the use of  video conferencing systems, various new apps and digital animation programs. Students also displayed impressive visual and sound editing skills. Creativity was also exhibited non-digitally through the use of props and skilfully crafted sets. It was a pleasure to watch and assess the submissions, which appear to improve year after year.  A big congratulations to all who have entered this year. 

This year’s signature item was a チョウ, butterfly, the Japan Foundation logo motif in celebration of 30 years of supporting Japanese language education in Australia. The judges were thoroughly entertained by how the item appeared in each video. Some made a distinctive appearance such as a チョウ flying around on the screen, others made it less obvious with cleverly plotted, subtle appearances in the story. The judges looked for and appreciated those videos that delivered a clear message through their script and included チョウ as a key part of the story.  

In the primary division, there was a wide variety of submissions including performance, drama and a puppet play, which showed originality, creativity and great teamwork. The winning team displayed a clear storyline while introducing Japanese culture through school activities. The students performed a well-rehearsed script, where a butterfly was used in the transition between scenes, with the butterfly song beautifully sung by the students throughout. The Judges were intrigued by how cleverly the word チョウ(超)〇〇….’ was used in the script as a pun, such as chō hayai (super fast)! 

In the junior section, the submissions utilised チョウ in a diverse range of ways, many showing them as mysterious symbols associated with suspense, fear or misery. Some displayed them as a lucky symbol or as a symbol of change and self-growth which conveyed a positive message. The winning video had a humorous twist, where a butterfly helped students by giving them answers during their class test. The students delivered the story through a well-acted performance using acquired language clearly.    

In the senior division, the judges were impressed by the use of more advanced Japanese expressions that are not usually used in everyday conversation. This demonstrated that they must have worked hard on their language study. The butterfly was embedded well throughout the videos and became the centre of the story for many. The winning video captured the judges’ attention from the beginning by showcasing a strong mixture of digital animation and acting. Various camera angles, mysterious music and other sound effects were used skillfully and had the judges entertained and glued to the screen until the end.

In the tertiary division, the judges were thoroughly impressed by the high quality and sophistication of techniques used to build drama, suspense, action, along with excellent editing and use of music and sound effects. Butterflies made an interesting appearance as the key item and showed originality in how they were depicted by the students. The judges found it hard to choose an outright winner in this division, and as a result chose two winners, “Batafurai Kouka” and “Rotten Eyes”. “Batafurai Kouka” had an entertaining storyline revolving around the idea of the butterfly effect in which small occurrences lead on to larger consequences. In this case, with a comedic twist. Their attention to detail through the use of props and digital images was outstanding. The rapid changing of scenes and characters, one after another, engaged and intrigued the audience. “Rotten Eyes” was a well thought out psychological horror video with a clever plot. Illustrations were superbly done and showed fine delicate details such as raised eyebrows. Expert audio effects strongly supported the story with impression voice acting across a range of tones, pitches, and speeds well pronounced and clear, augmented by cleverly placed subtitles. Eerie music and periods of silence created an ambience which kept the judges on the edge of their seats.  

A small number of videos submitted this year had an interesting storyline, but unfortunately had no logical flow nor clear ending. The judges also had some difficulties in understanding the speech due to poor sound quality or pronunciation.  We recommend using a microphone to ensure good sound quality. If you are using video conferencing, make sure that the volume is consistent for each person. We would also like to encourage entrants to have their scripts checked and pronunciation checked by their teacher or a Japanese speaker.  It is important to watch the video and reflect as a viewer before submitting the entry to ensure that the storyline and ending is clear, and make any improvements.

The process of video making is a great way to promote language learning, as well as creativity, teamwork and the integration of skills from other areas of study. We hope that this video contest will continue to give students the opportunity to showcase their Japanese and other skills, reflect on their own learning, so that they can proudly share their videos with friends, families and beyond!

Thank you all for taking part in Video Matsuri—especially the teachers, family and friends who supported the project. We look forward to seeing your wonderful videos next year!

The Video Matsuri Judges

Division Winners


Kono choucho wa, chou subarashii desu!

Dominic College (TAS)

Junior Secondary

The Test

The Armidale School (NSW)

Senior Secondary

The Butterfly Effect

MLC School (NSW)

Tertiary (Tie)

Rotten Eyes

UNSW Sydney (NSW)

Tertiary (Tie)

Batafurai Kouka

Curtin University (WA)

Special Mentions


Cho Chokoreto

Illawarra Primary School (TAS)


Travel Japan

Park Lake State School (QLD)


JapaNews Friendship

Berry Springs Primary School (NT)

Junior Secondary

Iro ga nai sekai

Tarremah Steiner School (TAS)

Junior Secondary


Santa Maria College (VIC)

Junior Secondary

Paper Wings

Applecross Senior High School (WA)

Junior Secondary

The Art Of Deception

The Armidale School (NSW)

Junior Secondary

Bank Robbery

Lake Joondalup Baptist College (WA)

Senior Secondary

The Ultimate Meal

Girraween High School (NSW)


Kemushi no yume

UNSW Sydney (NSW)

View All 2021 Video Matsuri Entries

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