Cinema 5, Oita

Today is the thirty third day of our trip around Japan and I didn’t show too many cinemas so far, despite the fact that we did see quite a few of them. The original plan was to visit at least one cinema per Prefecture and try to make a deal: the objective was to play in a minimum of one key city in each one of the 47 Prefectures, and ideally in two or three cities if possible. We don’t mind the commercial Multiplexes, Art House Theaters or even community Halls, as long as we can show our movie.

In some places, like the Ciema Cinema in Saga, we played already in January. After visiting them during this trip, they agreed to play our film once more, which is part of the great thrill of this trip. The media as well as the movie theater people all want to get on board and play the game…

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In Oita, there is only one Art House Theater left in all the Prefecture, out of an original five: four of them have closed down over the last few years.

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Since he has only one screen, the owner, Tai San, is extremely careful about his selection of films. Just like Kubodera San of the Denkikan Theater in Kumamoto, Tai San, who was one of the co-writers of a book on Independent Movie Theaters in Japan, influences everyone with his choices of films. Needless to say that we wanted him to take our film.
Here is a short video that illustrates pretty well the way our meetings go in almost every place we visit:


The visit was nice and polite, but Tai San had not seen “Looking For Anne” and could obviously not commit. He just listen to our campaign approach and promised to screen the video. When we called him about a week later, he still hadn’t screened the film. This wasn’t a good sign. He promised to screened it in the next few days and when we call him five days later, he seemed a bit annoyed: the copy that we gave him had a defect and he could screen only the first ten minutes… That was bad news and we fell terrible.

One week later, he had screened the film and surprised us with a: “Well, this is a very good film, isn’t it?” He agreed to play it and make a media campaign with us on the way back from Hokkaido in July. As we suspected, Tai San was, at first, a bit turned off by the title of our movie: he expected a light, meaningless movie. He was nicely surprised by the quality and the content of our film. Needless to say that we were extremely pleased, especially after such a scare. One more great Cinema for our movie…

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