Skip City Digital Festival Announces Line-Up in Tokyo

Festival delayed from its usual summer slot due to this year's disasters in Japan.

TOKYO – The Skip City International D-Cinema Festival, delayed from its usual summer slot due to the March disasters, announced the line-up today for its October 8-16 run in Saitama, north of Tokyo.

The fest will open with Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes this year. Ceylan’s Climates won the main prize at Skip City in 2007. None of the Turkish director’s films have yet been theatrically released in Japan.

Twelve films have been selected – out of 494 submissions from 81 countries – for the main feature length competition, including entries from Canada, China, Japan, Sweden and Rwanda. Other categories include both domestic and international short film competitions. 

Skip City launched in 2004 as one of the first festivals to focus exclusively on digital films, a distinction that has become less meaningful as the format has become the industry standard.

“The most significant change we’ve seen since we began in 2004 is the digitalization of filmmaking and exhibiting,” noted Yuji Takizawa, festival director since its inception.

In recent years the festival has sought to carve out a new identity based around nurturing young filmmakers and those who struggle to get distributed in Japan.  

Skip City is held at the Sai-no-kuni Visual Plaza in Kawaguchi City, Saitama, making it one of the few festivals based at a venue with a studio and editing suites on site. Use of the facilities is one of the prizes on offer in the new directors’ competition category.

Festival organizers didn’t announce the amounts of this year’s cash prizes at Monday's press conference in Tokyo, but a festival official told The Hollywood Reporter they would likely be reduced from last year’s levels due to the budget squeezing going on across Japan.

The prize cash is provided by Sony and some of its subsidiary companies.