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Japanese Films shown in Baguio City for Free

Japan has a rich and diverse film history, with some of its directors and actors becoming worldwide icons. As a gift for Baguio City residents last Panagbenga Flower Festival, Japanese Films were viewed for free at SM Baguio Mall Cinema by the Japanese Film Festival (JFF) in celebration of the Japanese Film Festival as well.

Previously known as Eigasai, the film festival has been running since 1997 and is organized in the Philippines by the Japan Foundation.

Alongside other locations throughout the country, Baguio City had run an edition of the festival from February 23 to March 3.

Jemimah Bogbog, a volunteer for the JFF, surmised as to why the city was chosen as a site for the festival, “Baguio was selected since the Japanese community here has a deep and rich history”.

She further added that the primary reason why the festival’s admission is free of charge is because Japan wants a media exchange where they can showcase their culture and films.

The 14 films were chosen by Yojiro Tanaka, the senior director of Japan Foundation.

Those range from the classics (Tokyo Story) and silver-screen anime adaptations (Slam Dunk, Voltes V) to recently released comedies (Not Quite Dead Yet, Mondays: See You “This” Week) and dramas (A Man, Angry Son). “The [films chosen] were selected to evoke the theme of nostalgia and were specifically catered to appeal to millennials”, Bogbog added.

The festival was received positively by the patrons who attended the ten-day event. “I didn’t know that there was a free festival like it and thankfully, it will last until March. All in all, it was a very good experience”, Hugh Basco, a first-time attendee of the festival, summarized. Another first-time attendee, Mae Santiago, also had positive words from her experience, commenting “What they’re (the Japanese Foundation) doing is a good thing because it can improve Filipino-Japanese relations and that many lessons can be picked up from the film selections.”

Other fans pointed out the film choices as another factor in their attendance. “I grew up with Slam Dunk, and when I saw the film choices on Facebook, I needed to check it out”, remarked avid filmgoer Esti Mendoza.

Alexis Avery Garcia, a regular attendee of the annual film festival, commented, “When we first saw the promotional material for the festival, we already picked the films that we’ll watch and the dates when we’ll go. It’s great that [the festival] is free so that many people can watch it,”

When the moviegoers were asked if they would like to watch more films offered in the festival, all of them answered positively. As for the festival’s future, Bogbog noted “We would want for this festival to continue and for its promotion to be stronger”.

~Xyrhille Mhark Abapo~

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