Japanese Film Festivals

Alex Zahlten Alex.Zahlten at gmx.de
Tue Sep 21 22:02:40 EDT 2010


the oldest still film festival still running today is, as far as I know, the Yufuin Film Festival.

PIA and Image Forum are interesting in that they are staged at different locations as well (Tokyo, Osaka, etc.). Yamagata does a very reduced version of this by staging screenings in Tokyo (very soon at Pore Pore Higashi Nakano, in fact). 

Not to forget, there is the Tokyo Video Festival (sponsored by JVC), which has shown an immense amount of films since the 1970s, often with a high caliber jury (it was pretty much a pioneer of showing films made with video, at a time when PIA was more or less insisting on film). The Tokyo Fantastic Film Festival created big waves in the 1980s, but later on ran into financial difficulties. A lot of the momentum (and some of the staff) carried over into the Yubari Fantastic Film Festival.

In Osaka, there is the Cinetribe film festival, revolving around the Planet Studyo+1 theater/archive.

The Skip City Film Festival came about as part of a machi-okoshi scheme in Saitama. An example that relies more on community effort is the Kawasaki Shinyuri Film Festival, run by scriptwriter Shiratori Akane with lots of support from the Japan Academy of Moving Images (Imamura Shohei's film school).

The Short Short Film Festival gets a lot of publicity and is very professionally managed (although there is often criticism about bland programming).

And, as everywhere, there has been a rise in festivals that also finance/produce or just initiate the films they show, with the CO2 festival in Osaka being the most high-profile one; other examples are the Haitoku Eigasai and the Gandara Eigasai, which basically tour the country; the latter two are initiated by Shimada Yukiyasu, and have been important in terms of community-building in Jishu film. Another festival that has been (even more) important for this is the Tama Cinema Forum, with its Tama New Wave prize.


alex at nipponconnection.de

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