A series of exclusive premieres of local / international environmental films selected by our film programmers in partnership with other film festivals around the world. We look to expand the idea of environmental cinema from the traditional to the experimental.

The following films comprised the environmental cinema programme for BEFF 2013. Stay tuned for more information about BEFF 2015!


Film Information

Year: 2011
Country: Japan
Duration: 77 min
Language: Japanese with BM subtitles
Director: Kawase Mika

Screening Date & Time

Time: 3pm, Sat 28 Sept 2013
Venue: Kompleks JKKN Sabah, auditorium

With a Special Live Film Performance of CHEZ LES MURUTS, PEUPLADE SAUVAGE DU NORD DE BORNEO accompanied by Hezekiah Asim

Film Supporters

Yoshioka Sachio is the next family heir in a long line of master dye craftsmen continuing back to the Edo period of Kyoto, Japan. 1950's Japan had little regard for the environment which caused much frustration with the then college-aged Yoshioka.

Upon inheriting his family's craft, Yoshioka decided to return to the old techniques of procuring natural dyes from the environment. The organic colors of Kyoto's pure spring water and plants were far more beautiful and enchanting than any chemical dye produced in a lab. Yoshioka teamed up with another dye specialist, Fukuda, to run a traditional organic dye factory, something which has become increasingly rare in 21st century Asia.

Environmental changes are a serious problem for farmers who raise the plants used in organic dyes. The Earth's climate has changed over the past 200 years, and natural dye ingredients are becoming increasingly sparse and difficult to grow. Dye craftsmen feel these changes everyday. "Humans are really just one part of the natural world. We must have more respect for nature." Is it still possible to produce dye with only natural ingredients? Things seemed hopeless, but Yoshioka does not give up.

Part of Yoshioka's work involves the restoration of ancient artifacts. He researches the techniques used to create the national treasures and traditional gigaku costumes kept in the Shosoin treasure house, recreating those same techniques in order to restore artifacts to their original glory. Yoshioka says that it is not modern science, but traditional methods that should be used to authentically restore ancient pieces of artwork. Fukuda works daily in the factory using ancient Indian sarasa silk printing and kyokechi dyeing techniques. However, Yoshioka and Fukuda do not always succeed, and there are still ancient techniques that even they have yet to uncover.

At Todai-ji Temple, there exists a 1,260 year old ceremony called "Omizutori", which involves praying for a plentiful harvest. At the ceremony, Yoshioka offers up traditional crimson Japanese paper, dyed using only the organic ingredients from safflowers. The deep red color, which comes from dyeing the paper many times, is a trademark of Yoshioka's.

This film presents the beautiful colors prevalent in the everyday life of a master dye craftsman, with no acting or camera tricks. After repetitive dyeing and hard work, treasures are hung out to dry, shining with brilliant colors.

Yoshioka's dream of continuing the traditional ways of dye making may in fact be one of the most cutting edge schools of thought in the modern world. In his old beat up factory, he slowly but surely creates work after work of dazzling beauty. Let this film serve as a doorway into his world.

Film Premiere

*Southeast Asian premiere