Japan’s Skip City Film Festival Retains Hybrid Format in Post-COVID Era

The Skip City International D-Cinema Festival, in Saitama, on the outskirts of Tokyo, will hold its 2023 edition with both in-person and online components, long after COVID, which necessitated such hybrid formats, has retreated.

The festival, which sees itself as a gateway for emerging talent, and has operated since 2004, will hold its physical edition July 15-23 and its online from July 22- 26, organizers said on Wednesday.

This year, the festival will begin with the world premiere of “Confetti,” which was produced to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the festival as well as the 90th anniversary of its Kawaguchi City base.

The ten-title international competition includes: “Banu,” an Azerbaijani film depicting a woman fighting her socially powerful husband over custody of her son; “Eflatun,” a romantic story from Turkey involving a blind woman and a man whose hobby is photography; “ I Woke Up with a Dream,” the latest work from director Pablo Solarz; “Into the Ice,” a documentary that follows three scientists who study Greenland’s glaciers; “Is There Anybody Out There?,” a self-documentary that records the director’s long journey through social media to find people with the same disabilities as herself; “Jailbird,” a heartfelt comedy depicting the deep affection of a young man who was born and grew up in a jail; “Midwives,” an ensemble drama about the struggles of novice midwives; psychological thriller “My Mother’s Eyes,” by 2020 Skip City winner Kushida Takeshi; “Six Weeks,” a human drama about a school girl trying t get back her baby; and “When the Seedlings Grow,” a moving film depicting a day in the life of a father and daughter in Syria.

Teshima Masao, producer at Asmik Ace, will lead a jury that decides the section’s prizes. Variety’s Mark Schilling will also be a jury member.

The Japanese film competition includes six features and eight shorts. The six features are: “Alien’s Daydream,” by Matsumoto Yoshiki; psychological horror “Hierophanie,” directed by Makita Kazuomi; “Mending Cracks,” by “One Cut of the Dead” actor Nagaya Kazuaki, making his directorial debut; “Ten Years + One Day,” a quirky conversational drama by Nakata Shinya; “Till the Day I Can Laugh About My Blues,” a fantasy, directed by Takeda Karin; and “Utakata,” a black-and-white drama directed by Adrien Lacoste.

The festival also finds house room for “A Tail’s Tale,” a live action adaptation of a popular manga, directed by Sanada Mikiya.

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