At the Motion Picture Association, we believe that generations of emerging artists and filmmakers deserve to be supported and encouraged. That is why I joined with a group of Japanese film students at the Tokyo Film Festival this week for the second annual MPA-Digital Hollywood University film workshop.

Focused on the topic of “story,” this popular one-day intensive master class was an opportunity for emerging Japanese writer/directors to be mentored by established members of the industry, like our special guest Lord David Puttnam, as they compete against one another in a film pitch competition. This year’s winner, Hayato Sakuta beat out the competition with his comedy, “Virgin Mafia Boss.” and will travel to Los Angeles where he will participate in a comprehensive five-day film immersion program in the lead up to the American Film Market (AFM). I am proud that this annual event has now been formally incorporated as part of the Tokyo International Film Festival.

The creativity from the newest generation of Japanese filmmakers, which was on full display from the students who participated in this workshop, is indicative of the talented generation of filmmakers we see throughout the global film community. Each has a unique story to tell in their own way, and the technological advances which provide new production and distribution methods, are allowing these filmmakers to connect with today’s ever growing international audience.

In recent weeks, I have had the opportunity to travel to a number of the film festivals around the world and meet with creators from various nations. I am continually amazed by the great work that is occurring everywhere I go. As an industry, we need to do everything we can to ensure an environment that continues to nurture this emerging talent. Towards that end, the MPA is committed to continue hosting these types of workshops which are stepping-stones for creative voices around the world to develop their careers and share their innovative stories with the world. I was also struck by the words Lord Puttnam shared with the film students in Tokyo. Filmmakers, he said, have a big responsibility to tell stories that will influence the decisions we make about our society. I, for one, look forward to seeing what the students in Tokyo, and all of the other emerging filmmakers throughout the globe, contribute to this wonderful art form in the years ahead.

For photos from the event, please click here.