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Chicago Japanese Film Collective — the First Japanese Film Festival in the Midwest The 3rd Edition of the Festival is Finally Here!

Chicago Japanese Film Collective— the first Japanese film festival in the Midwest

The 3rd edition of the Festival is finally here!

Festival Dates: June 22nd (Thurs) – July 1 (Sat) for 10 days

Chicago, IL— The Chicago Japanese Film Collective, now entering its third year, is back with a lineup of carefully selected, powerful independent feature films. Just like last year, the event will be held in a hybrid format. The theatrical screenings will feature the opening film Hoarder on the Border on June 22nd and the closing film Angry Son on July 1st at The MUSIC BOX THEATRE (3733 N Southport, Chicago, IL 60613). The CJFC is organized by the CJFC Executive Committee, founder Yuki Sakamoto Solomon (President, Coyote Sun Productions), co-founder KONO Hiroshi (President, Mar Creation), and sponsored by FULL SPECTRUM FEATURES and CATCH US PERFORMING ARTS.

The theme of this year’s film festival is “Regeneration (再生).” In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, issues of racial division like “ASIAN HATE” and “BLACK LIVES MATTER,” as well as conflicts between countries like Ukraine and Russia, have brought to the forefront the importance of overcoming division and finding ways to rebuild. This theme extends to personal relationships as well, including family, couples, and friends, where fractures have become more apparent in recent years. The festival aims to gather a collection of films that convey the strong message of overcoming these divisions and the ability to mend broken bonds.

This year, there will be two films screened in theaters: the opening film Hoarder on the Border (Dir. KAYANO Takayuki) on June 22nd, and the closing film Angry Son (Dir. IIZUKA Kasho) on July 1st. Hoarder on the Border features veteran actor IZUMIYA Shigeru and tells the story of a young man who gives up his dream of becoming a pianist and embarks on a journey to reform the lives of people who are dependent on material possessions. Angry Son celebrates the 50th anniversary of the sister city relationship between Chicago and Osaka (in cooperation with the Osaka Asian Film Festival) and portrays the struggles, conflicts, and societal pressures faced by foreigners living in Japan and the LGBTQ community through the story of a Filipino mother and her high school son. Tickets for both films are available for $12 each and can be purchased at the MUSIC BOX THEATRE, the venue for the screenings.

In addition to the CJFC’s Official Selection, CJFC is launching CJFC X, an initiative aimed at captivating audiences in Chicago by showcasing the very best of Japanese cinema. Through collaborations with esteemed film festivals in Japan, CJFC X aims to foster cultural exchange and bring exceptional film programs to the city. Featuring a thoughtfully curated selection of diverse genres and cinematic techniques, CJFC X presents a captivating cinematic journey that transcends borders. With immersive screenings, enlightening discussions, and cultural events, CJFC X celebrates the beauty of Japanese storytelling while fostering meaningful connections between Japan and Chicago. This initiative will be an ongoing part of the official selection starting in 2023.

Theater screenings will be in Chicago on June 22 and July 1, with two films at The MUSIC BOX THEATRE in Chicago, IL and 8 films (4 narratives, 1 experimental and 3 documentaries) will be available for viewing in the U.S. online from June 23 to July 1. The streaming platform will be the same as last year, Eventive.

DETAILS: Festival Period: Thursday, June 22, 2023  – Saturday, July 1, 2023 (CDT, USA)

+In-theater screening (Chicago, IL)

  1. Thursday, June 22, 2023: “Festival Opening Presentation” 


at MUSIC BOX THEATRE #2 (70 seats) at 7 pm (CDT)

  1. Saturday, July 1, 2023: “Festival Opening Presentation” 


at MUSIC BOX THEATRE #2 (70 seats) at 4:30 pm (CDT)


+ Virtual screening U.S. nationwide

  • ALL ACCESS PASS (8 Films): $25
  • 3 VIRTUAL TICKET BUNDLE (5Films): $17

*Early Bird (until 6/15): $2 off (for Single Virtual Ticket, $1 off)

*Student discount code is available: Please contact contact@cjfc.us

+ Film Festival Platform: EVENTIVE

+ Official Website: https://www.cjfc.us

+ Festival poster and film stills: Here *The film credits: Here

+Audience Award: Votes for the Audience Award will be cast through Eventive and in the theater.  The award will be announced at the conclusion of the festival.

  1. Angry Son/世界は僕らに気づかない

[IIZUKA Kasho | Drama | Japan | 2022 | 112 Min.] *Osaka Asian Film Festival Recommendation

Jungo, a high school student living in Ota City, Gunma Prefecture, has a Filipino mother who works at a Filipina hostess bar. His mother has never told him about his father, and the only connection he has to his father is the monthly child support payments. Jungo is homosexual and has a boyfriend, Yusuke. Even though Yusuke wanted to form a partnership with him, he was reluctant to do so because of his background. One day, her mother, Reina, brings her boyfriend home, saying she wants to remarry with him. Jungo doesn’t want to live with a stranger, so he decides to find his real father.

  1. Backlight/逆光

[ SUDO Ren | Drama | New Director | Japan | 2021 | 64 Min. | International Premiere] 

In the 1970s, 22-year-old Akira, who has feelings for his senior in university, Yoshioka, decides to take him back to Onomichi during summer break. Akira plans to offer his family home to Yoshioka and include his childhood friend Fumie to hang out. However, when Fumie invite her eccentric friend Miiko, unexpected things start to happen. Yoshioka finds himself drawn to Miko, leaving Akira in a state of confusion and distress.

  1. Cafune/カフネ 

[KINEMURA Haruki | Drama | Japan | 2023 | 66 Min. | International Premiere] 

*Osaka Asian Film Festival Recommendation

High school senior Mio Segawa becomes pregnant with her boyfriend Nagisa. Unable to confess her pregnancy to Nagisa or her family, Mio confides in her best friend Natsumi. Despite facing various challenges, Mio decides to express the feelings she had never put into words and heads towards Nagisa. Set in the UNESCO World Heritage city of Kumano, this story delicately depicts the past and future of these individuals living in this town, showcasing the emotional connection between a young woman and man.

  1. Hoarder on the Border/断捨離パラダイス

[KAYANO Takayuki | Drama | Japan | 2022 | 101 Min. | North American Premiere ] 

Ritsuki Shirataka, a promising pianist, faces an abrupt end to his career due to unexplained hand tremors. Seeking a fresh start, he decides to join “Disposal Paradise,” a cleaning service for hoarder houses. Amidst the unconventional environment, Ritsuki encounters the hidden stories of the residents, opening his eyes to a previously unimaginable world.

  1. I Quit Being “Friends”/友達やめた。

[IMAMURA Ayako | Documentary | Japan | 2020 | 84 Min. | U.S. Premiere] 

*Aichi International Women’s Film Festival Recommendation

“I am in a minority” Because I have a hearing disability, that is what I thought, but the person who eliminated this self-image was Ma-chan, who has a developmental disability. As we became closer and closer as friends, we had more and more arguments. I wondered how I could become better friends with Ma-chan. In order to try to figure that out, I turned the camera on the two of us.


[NAKAGAWA Hirotaka | Drama | New Director | Japan | 2022 | 72 Min. | North American Premiere] 

*Tokyo Independent Movie Festival Recommendation 

Two fraudsters, Samejima and Oshikiri, secure a deal with wealthy wife Harue for buying gold  from her. However, upon visiting her again, they discover a funeral wake of her is conducted. As the executor reads the will, stating the inheritance will go to the person who stays until the end of the wake, a deceitful competition ensues among four individuals, including Harue’s granddaughter Saki. What is the “final lie” that these skilled impostors will uncover?

  1. Resonance/ひびきあうせかい RESONANCE

[TANAKA Toshinori | Documentary | Japan | 2021 | 70 Min. | International Premiere] 

Takuji, raised in Tokyo, felt disconnected from nature and the changing city. He chose to move to Okinawa, where he pursued cross-border harmony through music. With local musicians, he launched the “Circle Voice” project, symbolizing a temporary peaceful world created by collective singing. The story explores transcending language barriers. Through Takuji’s journey, Okinawa, Tokyo, Munich, Leipzig, and timeless places come alive through visuals and music.

  1. Toward Zero/零へ

[ITO Takashi | Experimental | Japan | 2020 | 72 Min. | International Premiere] 

Swing a bat, drag a shovel… A compilation work studded with ITO Takashi’s distinctive, powerful depictions, this feature-length film opens up new territory for this filmmaker. A female university student shooting a film, a woman who wanders around trying to get rid of a man’s hands, a man afraid of visions of a woman wrapped in black garments… Several stories, calm but with a powerful sense of tension, intersect and eventually head toward “zero.”

  1. Twilight Cinema Blues/銀平町シネマブルース

[JOJO Hideo | Drama | Japan | 2022 | 99 Min. | International Premiere] 

Kondo, a man with a reason for returning to his hometown of Ginpei-cho, where he spent his   youth, unexpectedly meets Sato, a homeless man who loves movies, and Kajiwara, the manager of a movie theater. He starts working part-time at the theater. Surrounded by the theater staff and colorful regular customers, he gradually begins to find renewal, but…

  1. Underdogs/なれのはて

[KUMETA Tsuyoshi | Documentary | Japan | 2021 | 120 Min. | International Premiere]

This documentary follows the lives of four elderly Japanese men living in Manila’s impoverished districts. Known as “distressed Japanese,” they navigate their daily lives with minimal earnings and assistance from others. Despite once having jobs and families in Japan, they find themselves spending their final days in Manila for various reasons. The documentary offers a poignant portrayal of their struggles over a span of seven years.

Nobuhiro Hosoki
Nobuhiro Hosokihttps://www.cinemadailyus.com
Nobuhiro Hosoki grew up watching American films since he was a kid; he decided to go to the United States thanks to seeing the artistry of Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange.” After graduating from film school, he worked as an assistant director on TV Tokyo’s program called "Morning Satellite" at the New York branch office but he didn’t give up on his interest in cinema. He became a film reporter for via Yahoo Japan News. In that role, he writes news articles, picks out headliners for Yahoo News, as well as interviewing Hollywood film directors, actors, and producers working in the domestic circuit in the USA. He also does production interviews for Japanese distributors of American films and for in-theater on-sale programs. He is now the editor-in-chief of Cinemadailyus.com while continuing his work for Japan.


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