WARNING: the following entry contains adult language.
While it was an honour to hold the World Premier of '1287' (WEBSITE) in London's Raindance Film Festival last week (INFO), it was also a time for reflection.
Although '-1287' is about so much more than breast cancer, I did think that the coincidence of the World Premier falling on October 1, the first day of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, would help in getting the word out about the screenings. But despite contacting dozens of local cancer charities, religious organizations, Japanese programs at local universities and many of my fellow filmmaking friends from my days of living in the UK, neither of the screenings of '-1287' were particularly well-attended.
There were certainly many factors that contributed to low attendance, including the unfortunate (and reductive) description of '-1287' that appeared in the catalog. A film documenting "the heartbreaking countdown to day zero: the end of 66-year-old Kazuko’s life" (full description HERE) doesn't exactly sound like an uplifting story.
Perhaps a larger social trend is also affecting the number of cinema-goers in general: it is becoming increasingly more difficult to coax people to get out of their bathrobes, leave the comfort of their homes and spend money to see a film. When I tell people about an upcoming screening, I often hear "When is it going to be on Netflix?", along with the even worse "Are you putting it on YouTube?", and these two questions show complete apathy toward-- if not total ignorance about-- what it means to take part in the sacred and collective experience of viewing a film on a large screen in a cinema full of people.
To stream a film on a laptop at home alone simply because it requires less effort than going to the cinema with others is tantamount to forgoing the pleasures of making love in favour of masturbation just because it's easier.
'-1287' is about so much more than dying, for by considering the way in which we die, we are called into considering the way in which we live. The challenge now is convincing people to get their hands out of their pants and come to the cinema.