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The Laugh & Peace Movie Festival
July 18, 2011
Yosuke Muramoto's film festival within train stations aims to 'connect Tokyo with laughter'
- Text by Ayumi Seki
Yoshimoto Kogyo Co. is one of the biggest talent agencies in Japan, and most of their artists are comedians. 3-years-ago, Yoshimoto started the Okinawa International Movie Festival in Okinawa, in the southern part of Japan, which features over 100 movies made in a year to be shown at the festival.
Their concept is very simple; let’s cheer Japan up with laughter. And this summer, they will launch a big project all over Tokyo. It's called Yoshimoto Wonder Camp Tokyo, and they are planning variety of live events at each of the stations on the Yamanote line, the most vital train connection in Tokyo. One of these is the LAUGH & PEACE Yurakucho Movie Festival, and here’s some tips from the festival director Yosuke Muramoto, on how to enjoy the festival and the Wonder Camp.
Satellite Voices: Could you tell us why you chose Yurakucho amongst the other 28 Yamanote stations to have a film festival?
Yosuke Muramoto: We chose the city because it’s a theatrical district in Tokyo. There are number of big cinemas in Yurakucho/Ginza area, and main Japanese distribution companies have offices there as well. We wanted to do a movie festival which has a history and background.
SV: What can we see at LAUGH & PEACE Yurakucho Movie Festival?
Yosuke Muramoto: Because we wanted to make a festival where the audience can actually meet the directors and casts, in this case our comedians, so almost all screenings have a 30 minute panel. We will have “Omuraisu” directed by Yuichi Kimura as an opening film. “Manzai Gang” and “Drop” are scheduled as well. Both films are directed and written by our comedian Hiroshi Shinagawa, and made a strong box office when they were first screened in theaters (“Manzai Gang” in 2011, “Drop” in 2009).
SV: Do you have movies for international audience?
Yosuke Muramoto: I’m afraid none of the films have English subtitles, but I strongly feel “Run and Run” is enjoyable for international audiences as well. It was directed by an Iranian director, Kaml Tabrizi (“The Wind Carpet”). The theme of the movie is Kanpei Hazama’s "Earth Marathon". Kanpei is a famous comedian in Japan who loves running, and started a project to cross earth by only running and sailing. He was nearly 60 years old during the trip, he found out that he had cancer. Instead of giving up, Kanpei decided to keep running after getting treatment in US.
SV: Please tell us about Yoshimoto Wonder Camp Tokyo?
Yosuke Muramoto: "Connect Tokyo with Laughter" is the theme. We will have various kinds of events in every 29 stations on the Yamanote line, and everybody is welcome. Yurakucho will have the movie festival and product exhibition from all over Japan, Hamamatsu-cho will have cruising events since it has the harbour, and Tamachi will have a massive bowling nights with comedians at its well-known bowling palace. Tsukiji is famous for its huge morning markets, so we will have probably the earliest comedy show ever in Japan in Tsukiji. The event will start at 6:30 am! I recommend getting Wonder Free Pass and enjoying the events for 7 days.
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