Biola University students traveled across the world to create the foreign language film Jitensha. Translated Bicycle, Jitensha was shot on location in Japan during interterm 2009. The film won the Vision Award for Best Short Film and received one of the Crystal Heart awards at the Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis, Ind. on Oct. 18, 2009.

Dean Yamada, the director of Jitensha and professor of Cinema and Media Arts at Biola, was in attendance at the awards ceremony in Indianapolis.

“The students and I are in awe of the success that God has bestowed upon Jitensha,” Yamada said. “I was stunned when the presenter announced Jitensha as the winner.”

The Heartland Film Festival, established in 1992, honors films with a positive message. The festival spans 10 days each October. The top three awards given are Best Dramatic Feature, Best Documentary Feature and the Vision Award for Best Short Film.

The Crystal Heart awards are given to films the judges feel best meet Heartland’s mission of creating uplifting films.

The film premiered internationally at the 66th Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy and will be shown at the Starz Denver Film Festival in November 2009.

Jitensha is a story about Mamoru Amagaya, a young man struggling to find meaning in life,” according to the film’s website.

Amagaya is alone and out of work when his bicycle begins to disappear piece by piece and in its place is a note signed “God.” Amagaya receives a list of addresses where he will find each piece of his bicycle and begins to find the missing pieces to rebuild his bicycle.

“As he puts his bike together piece by piece, he realizes that he himself is in the process of being reassembled in the same way, by one far greater than himself,” according to the website.

Fourteen film students worked on Jitensha. The CMA department takes on a film project like Jitensha every two years. The project spans an entire academic year with a pre-production class in the fall semester, production during interterm and post-production in the spring semester.

Learn more information about Jitensha.

Written by Katherine Smith, Media Relations Intern. Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Coordinator, can be reached at (562) 777-4061 or through email at