by Chris MaGee
Well, this year's Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival wrapped up today (Japanese time that is) and a film that I don't think many had even ever heard of ended up coming out of nowhere to take the Grand Prix. "SR: Saitama's Rapper" is a comedy drama about a young unemployed man named Ikku (Shoukai Komakine) and a group of his buddies who whose one dream it is to become hip-hop superstars. The only problem is that they live in suburban Fukuyama in the northern part of Saitama Prefecture where there isn't even a record store.
The 79-minute feature is the work of filmmaker Yu Irie whose previous films include the low budget 2004 disaster film "Japonica Virus" and short films "Obsessions" and "Seven Drives", both of which screened in competition at Yubari in 2003 and 2004. Like "Japonica Virus" the budget on "SR: Saitama's Rapper" looks to be about nil, but it obviously didn't prevent it from capturing the heart's and imaginations of the Yubari jury. Congratulation's Irie-san!
Thanks to Jason Gray and Nippon Cinema for details on this. Check out the official website for "SR: Saitama's Rapper" here and the film's trailer below.