10th Skip City Intl D-Cinema Festival Opens in Japan

Yuji Takizawa
Yuji Takizawa

The fest runs until July 21 in Kawaguchi, north of Tokyo, in what is likely to be the last event in its current format.

TOKYO – Skip City International D-Cinema Festival opened for its 10th anniversary edition Friday, with special programs added to the regular schedule and competitions to celebrate its first decade.  

Twelve features from Asia, Europe and America will compete for the Sony D-Cinema Award grand prize, best director, best screenplay and special prize, to be decided by a jury headed by Shogo Tomiyama, a former producer and president of Toho Pictures. Twelve short films by emerging domestic directors will compete for cash prizes and awards selected by local citizens.

Skip City festival director Yuji Takizawa cites Chaika from Spain’s Miguel Ángel Jiménez and the curiously titled Kanagawa University of Fine Arts, Office of Film Research, by Yuichiro Sakashita, as films from the main competition that left a particular impression on him, though he emphasizes the strength of the entire lineup.

A Focus on Rotterdam section will present three films from the International Film Festival Rotterdam, including the Asian premiere of this year’s opener The Resurrection of a Bastard by Guido van Driel, as well as a talk show with the programmer of the Dutch festival and Japanese directors and producers who have had films screened there.

“I often hear from young Japanese filmmakers that they dream of their films being selected for the Rotterdam film festival. That’s why we are screening the three brand new films from the IFFR2013, and host a talk session with programmer Gertjan Zuilhof,” Takizawa told The Hollywood Reporter.

The festival will also show three films from directors who have competed in past editions of Skip City, as well as three shorts that have been voted on by audiences from a selection screened online before the fest opened.

Skip City began life as one of the first festivals dedicated to digital cinema, which has since become the industry standard. Takizawa believes the fest has contributed to digital filmmaking in Japan by raising the quality of productions by independent directors, suggesting that “self-indulgent indies are disappearing and films which try to entertain audiences are increasing.”

As Skip City looks to stay relevant in a digitalized industry, the format of the festival will be “changed drastically” before next year’s edition, according to Takizawa, with an announcement scheduled for this summer.  

Twitter: @GavinJBlair