by Chris MaGee
The 18th Annual Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival kicked off yesterday in Hokkaido, or it might be more precise to say that it's the 2nd Annual since the festival was brought back from the dead in 2008. Started in 1990 the festival grew to be one of the most talked about in Japan, but after the coal mining industry in the 12,000 person town collapsed in 2006 so did the film fest. It was only last year that a not-for-profit organization was created to bring it back, and it looks like it's going to be bigger and better than ever.
As we'd reported last month Takashi Miike's eagerly anticipated "Crows Zero 2" opened the festival and the film's producer, Matachiro Yamamoto (far left), along with stars (from left) Sosuke Takaoka, Kyosuke Yabe, Motoe Mizumoto, and Nobuaki Kaneko were on hand to greet the audience.
Something that I've reported on before and that I'm really excited about is the premiere of Tsuki Inoue's feature film directorial debut "Fuwaka no Adagio". If her brilliant "A Woman Who is Beating the Earth" was any indicator this new film should be amazing.
Besides it's line-up of 60 films over 5 days Yubari has something pretty unique that I've not encountered with other film festivals, it's got a theme song! Titled "Meiga za" which rough translates to "The Famous Picture" or "The Masterpiece" it was composed by Japanese rock musician Cheep Hiroishi and performed as a duet with singer Junco. (Check it out below.) Cheep is also featured in the festival line-up with a documentary about his life and musical career titled "Same Old Story: A Trip Back 20 Years" which won the Best Musical Documentary at last year's New York International Independent Film and Video Festival.
This year's Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival will run until March 2nd. For full info including a schedule of all the films check out the fest's official website here. thanks to Variety Japan for the above pic.