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Skip City digital fest unspools in Sapporo

Fest features 10-title competition section for digital features, shorts

HONG KONG — Dedicated entirely to digital filmmaking, the second Skip City Intl. D-Cinema Festival got under way Saturday in Japan.

Proving the capacity of modern communications and exhibition technology the opening night film “Summer Time Machine Blues” will be streamed live from Sapporo, on Hokkaido Island, to the festival center in Kawaguchi outside Tokyo. Pic is a sci-fi drama by Katsuyuki Motohiro, helmer of last year’s hit “Bayside Shakedown 2.”

After that, things take on a more familiar feeling with a 10-title competition section for both digital features and shorts playing out over the following eight days to July 24.

Competing for the ¥10 million ($89,000) first prize are pics including Denmark’s “Brothers,” the U.S.’ “Me and You and Everyone We Know” and two from China, “The World” and “Silver Ornaments.”

The local flag is flown by Miyumi Miyasaki-helmed meller “Angel,” with pop princess and “Kamikaze Girls” star Kyuki Fukada. Jury is headed by Charles S. Swartz, CEO of USC’s Entertainment Technology Center, and includes helmers Pitof, Shoji Masui and Jianqi Huo.

According to Misa Kimura, chief coordinator and programming director, the festival was conceived as a showcase to make the point that not everything high-tech happens in Tokyo.

Fest is bankrolled by Saitama local authorities among others and is held in the Skip City media park, which has a wide range of digital media production facilities. One of the shorts, “Your Secret and My Heart,” was made and posted locally.

Per Kimura, last year’s event attracted 15,000 paying spectators.

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