This year’s Japanese Film Festival (JFF) follows a trend becoming popular with other events supported by their consulates: make screenings free in an attempt to build attendance. The German Film Festival, which this week opens in Auckland, has adopted the same approach.
The Japanese have been doing that for some time with their film programmes, for several years now offering free monthly screenings at universities in major centres. Last year the long-running Australian JFF sent a 20-title programme to Auckland’s Rialto, in a mostly unsuccessful attempt to build an audience here. This year the JFF retrenches in Auckland, the smaller programme playing the venue its monthly screenings use, while maintaining a presence in Wellington and Christchurch.
The programme for Auckland is yet to be announced, and is tricky to guess at since much of the programme for other centres is titles which last year played Auckland’s JFF.
Takashi Innami’s doco The God of Ramen, Masayuki Suo’s Lady Maiko, Hideki Takeuchi’s Thermae Romae (pictured, top), and Shinobu Yaguchi’s Wood Job will all make the journey south this year.
For Aucklanders who missed them at the 2014 NZIFF and want to get a head-start on the JFF, there’s another chance to see a couple of titles before the festival opens. Mami Sunada’s doco about Studio Ghibli, The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness, screens at Auckland Uni on 24 September; lsamu Takahata’s Oscar-nominated The Tale of Princess Kaguya on 29 October.
The Japanese Film Festival will run 5 – 8 October at Hoyts Northlands, Christchurch; 13 – 16 October at NTSV, Wellington and 16 – 20 November at Auckland University. All titles play in Japanese with English subtitles.