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Japan Film Festival Interview

Japan Film Festival Opens Monday

Creighton News Service Interview

Five award-winning contemporary Japanese films will be featured in Omaha’s newest independent film theater starting in February, all thanks to a partnership between Creighton University, the Japan Foundation, and Film Streams.

Professor Christopher Gerteis, who teaches Asian history and culture at Creighton, explains how he heard of the opportunity to bring contemporary Asian culture to the Midwest: “It was a solicited application. The Japan Foundation was, at the time, looking for suitable venues to host the film festival. Then [I] contacted Rachel Jacobson at Film Streams and we were able to see a way of working this to our mutual benefit.”

Film Streams is a new independent movie theatre in north downtown Omaha. Casey Logan, communications director at the theatre, describes the theatre’s mission in the city: “We’re non-profit, mission-based theatre, and our mission is to enhance the culture of Omaha and the Council Bluffs area through the presentation and discussion of film as an art form.”

All screenings will take place on Mondays beginning February 18th with the film “Waterboys” and will continue through March 17th. The screenings are free and open to the public, with post-show discussions moderated by Creighton faculty, including Professor Gerteis, who will be moderating two discussions.

“We have set up a post-show discussion of the films which we are inviting the community as well as Creighton students to stay after for. The goal is to elicit discussion about the various social themes that come up.”

Gerteis says the five films chosen for the festival focus on the theme of racial tension. It comes as no surprise, then, that Film Streams is the ideal place to host the film festival. Logan explains how the film festival fits in with their mission: “The history of Japanese cinema is so great, and it’s great to be seeing some contemporary Japanese films. So I think the material is something that we are really excited about.”

Anyone who is interested in Japan, Japanese cinema, or international cinema in general is encouraged to attend. Although there is no rating on the content of the films, Professor Gerteis recommends thinking of the films as being rated PG-13.

Again, the screenings will be every Monday evening from February 18 to March 17 at 7:00 pm and at Film Streams’ Ruth Sokolof Theater, 1340 Webster St.

All screenings are free and open to the public. For more information, you can log onto japanfilmfestival.org, and if you are interested in more information regarding Film Streams, their website is filmstreams.org. For Creighton News, Service, I’m Matt DeNoncour.