On Friday night, Boys for Sale (WEBSITE) screened in Japan for only the second time, after last autumn's participation in Tokyo AIDS Weeks (STORY).
Organized by Professor David H. Slater, the screening was held as part of the Sophia University Institute of Comparative Culture Lecture Series 2018 (INFO). Professor Slater also arranged for me to speak at a lunchtime seminar during the 22nd Annual Asian Studies Conference Japan last week to help promote the screening (STORY).
The screening was held at a venue in the university that holds 150 people. More than 20 minutes before the start of the event it became clear it was going to fill up, so more than 50 seats were added on the sides and in the aisles of the room. Those chairs also filled up and some people were left standing (meaning more than 200 people attended!), but at least no one had to be turned away like at the screening last year (STORY).
I was joined for post-screening discussion by Co, one of the film's protagonists, who has also joined us for screenings in Germany and America. The audience is always so appreciative of the opportunity to hear not only from the filmmakers' side, but also from one of the subjects in the film. So many wonderful questions were asked, and had it not been for a time limit on the event, it seemed like there were enough questions to carry on for another hour.
Also joining the Q&A was Nakatani Hitomi of N Tani Studios who created all of the drawings that were animated for the documentary. Hitomi shared with the audience her approach to illustrating the stories of the boys in the film and how these extremely sexually explicit drawings are so remarkably unsexy.
With so many people in attendance, t is clear that there is an audience for this film. A potential distribution partner who attended the screening later told me how watching the film with a group of 200 people- where you could hear them laugh, express surprise and feel the tension in the room- was like seeing a different film from the one she saw on her laptop in isolation.
Um, yeah, that's why we have cinemas.
Now, let's try to get this film distributed...