Kore-eda Hirokazu calls for reform of Japan’s film industry

Returning to Japan after his Korean-language drama “Broker” won two awards at the Cannes Film Festival this year, Kore-eda Hirokazu appeared at a press conference in Tokyo on Tuesday to announce the launch of a group of industry professionals who seek structural reform in the Japanese film industry.

The group is called the “Association for Establishing a Japanese Version of CNC”. The reference is to the French government-backed watchdog, the Center National du Cinéma et de l’Image Animée.

Kore-eda noted the low incomes and long working hours of independent filmmakers and stressed the need for reform. “We started meeting with the Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan (Eiren) last spring,” Kore-eda said. “We also had discussions and study sessions with various other organizations, and now we have decided to start a group calling for the establishment of a Japanese version of the CNC. We don’t expect major changes here, but we hope we can move forward and improve the working environment in the film industry, even if only a little.

In addition to Kore-eda, directors Suwa Nobuhiro, Sode Yukiko, Nishikawa Miwa, Fukada Koji and Funabashi Jun were present. All are members of Eiga Kantoku Yushi no Kai (literally, Association of Volunteer Film Directors), a group dedicated to improving conditions in the industry. For nearly a year, members have been discussing ways to establish a Japanese equivalent of the CNC. Another model is the Korean Film Council (Kofic), a government organization that performs CNC-like functions in South Korea.

As reported to the presser, the Japanese version of the CNC is expected to provide support for funding, distribution, education, and a healthy work environment. As in France, revenues from theatres, broadcasters and distributors would be used to subsidize production. In addition, the new organization should implement concrete measures to prevent sexual and power harassment in film production, including professional seminars and guidelines.

Marie A. Evans