Eight American independent features — among them “Clerks,””Spanking the Monkey,””Nina Takes a Lover,””Suture,””Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey” and “Colorado Cowboy: The Bruce Ford Story”– will receive their Japanese premieres April 15-22, when the Sundance Film Festival takes its show on the road to Tokyo for the fifth consecutive year.

In 1987, Robert Redford’sSundance Institute initiated the cultural exchange, which provides Japanese cineastes with a rare opportunity to witness independent films that are otherwise only available at midnight screenings and at odd times of the day there.

Sundance executive veepee Gary Beer and festival programmers Geoffrey Gilmore and John Cooper will accompany a gaggle of directors to Tokyo’s Ginza district. Seiyu Ltd. of Japan is this year’s sponsor. In addition to Westerners heading east, the Sundance Film Festival Tokyo features a scholarship and film competition category for Japanese independent filmmakers. The Sundance Scholarship Award is presented to a Japanese writer/director, based upon a submitted script. The winner will receive a fellowship to develop a project as part of the Sundance Feature Film Lab in June.

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