Escape anime-centric Japanese culture with free film festival


You can now break away from your limited and anime-based education on Japanese culture as UNF is holding a Japanese film series. The films will have English subtitles and will be free of charge Tuesday, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. through Dec. 1 in Building 45.

The film series features a variety of films ranging from horror to comedy, drama and, of course, anime. In addition to a free flick, Japanese juices, crackers and candies will be provided from Circle Japan Grocery and Café.

The success of last year’s Chinese language film series and his recent visit to Tokyo for a film conference influenced

UNF film Professor Nicholas de Villiers to organize a second international film series, he said.

“[In Japan,] the food is amazing, the pop culture is amazing, the people-watching is amazing,” de Villiers said. “My hope is that the series will generate interest in foreign films.”

Campus-wide support

To achieve this goal, de Villiers partnered with many campus organizations to help promote the series. Sponsorship came from a variety of organizations including the UNF President’s Fund, the International Center, the Asia Council, the Women’s Center, the Anime Club, the Japanese Conversation Corner and the English Department.

In coordination with the Women’s Center Film Festival, which is during the last week of September, de Villiers chose the film “Seagull Diner.”

Diversity in the film selection is a priority for de Villiers.

“What I wanted to do was show a pretty wide range of genres, because I think most people encounter Japanese film either in the form of anime or Japanese horror,” de Villiers said. “There aren’t many other Japanese films shown on U.S. screens, so I wanted to show a wide range.”

To assist him in selecting the films, de Villiers sought the help of UNF education Professor Meiko Negishi, who grew up in Tokyo. With de Villiers’s educational background in film and Negishi’s love for comedies, their collaboration resulted in a well-balanced range of genres.

“I love comedies in general,” Negishi said. “And human drama is also involved in Japanese comedies.”

Negishi spoke highly of Sept. 8’s film, “Shall We Dance.”

“The romantic comedy captures the Japanese family lifestyle and what life is like for a family living in the suburbs,” Negishi said.

Cultural benefits

Both de Villers and Negishi believe that the Japanese film series is a good introduction to the culture and learning about cultural differences.

The first film, an anime called “My Neighbor Totoro,” attracted a crowd of about 40 or 50 people, which was a great turnout and very exciting, Negishi said.

“It’s cool that there’s a crowd that size interested in attending,” said UNF sophomore anthropology major David Richter.

Richter is the president of the Asian Film Research Society. He is looking forward to seeing the rest of the movies in the series.

“I think they have different filming techniques than western films do. I just want to watch them because I think I’ll enjoy them and maybe learn a few things,” he said.

The tagline for a future movie reads, “Could you kill your best friend?” The film “Battle Royale,” an action-packed, violence-splattered epic that tells the tale of a group of middle-school kids dumped on an island with a deadly task ahead of them inspired American director Quentin Tarantino’s artistic use of gore in the Kill Bill films.

More information about the Tokyo film scene can be found online at and eastern Asian movie reviews can be found at