Yubari bites the (coal?) dust

Aaron Gerow aaron.gerow at yale.edu
Thu Jul 27 21:42:47 EDT 2006

The papers were all reporting that the Yubari International Fantastic 
Film Festival has been cancelled for good. The festival started in 1992 
as one of the many projects that Yubari City, a region in Hokkaido that 
was once known for its coal mines, had started in order to find a new 
city image and economy. While a small festival, it always got good 
press nationally for showing new Hollywood films or showcasing new 
Japanese fantastic movies. Yubari City, however, has fallen so deeply 
into debt that it has become only the second local government in 
Japanese postwar history to essentially file for bankruptcy. The 
wideshows are enjoying themselves showing all the wasted projects that 
Yubari made (like amusement parks and museums that get 10 customers a 
day), so it was only a matter of time until they announced the ax would 
fall on the festival. With the Tokyo International Fantastic Film 
Festival also biting the dust, it seems that these local or alternative 
festivals are seeing hard times.

Aaron Gerow
KineJapan owner

Assistant Professor
Film Studies Program/East Asian Languages and Literatures
Yale University

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