With a mission to bring Japanese independent cinema to a world audience, todoiF launched Friday as a new specialist streaming platform.
The service is privately backed and operated by Kawano Koichi, a San Francisco State University alumnus who worked as a talent agent in Japan for two decades, before becoming involved between 2019-21 in the start-up of another Japanese specialty streamer Cinema Discoveries.
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The new venture will start very small, possibly as few as eight carefully-curated titles, and make them available on a transactional-VOD only basis. New titles will be uploaded monthly and will typically be available for a year before rotating off the service. An unspecified portion of the fees paid by customers is returned to the filmmakers.
“Our mission is to carefully choose independent films and recommend and introduce the new directors to as many people as possible in overseas markets, independent of international reputations, trends, or fashions. We will also introduce a variety of independent movies and cult films from Japan,” Kawano told Variety.
“We showcase the works of Japanese emerging directors who will lead the film industry and help them to follow internationally renowned filmmakers like Tsukamoto Shinya, Kore-eda Hirokazu, and Hamaguchi Ryusuke.”
Among the initial lineup are: Shimizu Kento’s “The Drifting Post,” which has been selected at 10 Japanese and 20 international film festivals; Nagai Kazuo’s “Smell, But I Love You,” which has been screened at more than 20 film festivals in Japan and abroad and won three awards; and Takeishi Akihiro’s “Curry Rice,” which screened at the 2018 Cannes festival. It will also showcase Sawa Keiichiro’s “Resident of Alice” and Kawachi Akira’s “Fear of Missing Out,” both of which have recently been released in Japanese theaters.
In the cult films section, the streamer is offering Nakahama Kosuke’s “Sorrows” and Matsumoto Daiki’s “Miporin.” For Asian countries (except Japan), it is offering “Noise”” directed by Matsumoto Yusaku, whose first commercial feature film, “Zenbu, Boku no Sei” will shortly reach Japanese theaters.
Films can be rented individually or as a collection, with prices ranging from $4.00 to $22.00. Downloads and sharing are not possible and there are no current plans to integrate the service into a larger platform, cable TV or mobile platform.
Aside from those limitations, functionality is very normal. Films can be watched on PCs running Windows 7 or higher versions or Intel-based Macs running macOS 10.12 and above. Viewers can also watch on Android tablets and phones using Chrome, and on iPhones and iPads using Safari. If using Apple TV, Fire TV or Roku devices, viewers can use the Eventive TV app. Alternatively, Chromecast can be used to cast films a Chrome-equipped computer or Android phone.
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