JFF+ INDEPENDENT CINEMA 2023 is a project focused on mini-theatres with free online film streaming, introductory videos about mini-theatres, and more.

From August to October 2023, the Japan Foundation (JF) will host a special feature called ‘JFF+ INDEPENDENT CINEMA 2023.’ This feature aims to highlight the importance of ‘mini theatres’ in supporting the diversity of Japanese film culture and enhancing local communities.

Building on the success of the ‘JFF+ INDEPENDENT CINEMA’ launched in 2022, which featured 12 Japanese films and 6 mini-theatres for international audiences and received a fantastic response, we are delighted to announce that we will be distributing 12 Japanese movies recommended by mini-theatres from Japan and filmmakers from around the world. Additionally, we will provide complementary access to videos introducing 10 mini-theatres. To enrich your experience, our website offers various content that allows you to further explore the charm of mini theatres.

Mini theatres play a crucial role in supporting Japanese film culture. In 2022, there were over 590 movie theatres in Japan, with an impressive 136 of them being mini theatres, accounting for approximately 20% of all movie theatres. Furthermore, out of the 538 movies released in theatres that year, a staggering 60% were small-scale productions that premiered in 49 or fewer theatres, with most of these films exclusively shown in mini theatres.

Mini theatres not only serve as venues for film screenings but also contribute to the local film production by hosting movie sets in their respective areas. Many mini theatres also double as cafes and offer additional amenities, creating hubs that attract a diverse range of people. By playing multiple roles and fostering connections and collaborations within their communities, mini theatres reflect the spirit of the local communities they are part of.

The streaming has already begun and is available online! For more information, please visit https://jff.jpf.go.jp/watch/ic2023/.

Translation: Simona Veleva