While larger-scale festivals such as the Tokyo International Film Festival have been able to go ahead with their events in an altered capacity in 2020, COVID-19 has had a particularly pronounced effect on indie festivals and indie cinema in general. Beyond the lower revenues that are generally earned by independent films that have only further been squeezed, production has also been impacted by COVID-19. Even as projects like the Kachinko Project are coming to their aid, the impact continues to be felt as things return to normal. Independent festival and film awards MOOSIC LAB have been similarly impacted by this shift, delaying their competition until February and making the decision to showcase older films from the award’s history in a renamed incarnation of the event called MOOSIC LAB 2020-2021 ‘JOINT’.
While MOOSIC LAB would normally host its yearly event between November and December each year, this year’s event will be split into two sections, with its traditionally timeslot being taken up by a showcase of films from the history of the event. A few of these films were recently made available streaming for free as part of the Japanese Film Festival Magazine free streaming of MOOSIC LAB productions, such as Beats Per MIZU, Soul Music and Dong Teng Town, with the majority of films in this showcase being from the 2019 version of the event alongside select older films.
The competition lineup for MOOSIC LAB 2020-2021 won’t screen until February, and details on the 7 films being shown here are being kept under wraps. We do, however, have the names and directors attached to each project, and since this is MOOSIC LAB with every film incorporating music into the productions, we also know the names of the collaborating musicians. Although it’s hard to judge a film based on this, especially with many of these directors having only dabbled in shorter projects or are showcasing their debut features with this event, Aru-2’s involvement in the film POP is a welcome one, while noto’s music makes Satsuki no Madori a tantalizing proposition.
It’s a weird year for the event, but it’s nice to see the event will push forwards with this year’s incarnation, even in this altered format. The first set of films will be shown at K’s Cinema and the STAY HOME MINI-THEATER online from November 21st-December 4th, while the competition lineup will screen at K’s Cinema from February 2021, and you can find out more about the films over on the MOOSIC LAB 2020-2021 official website.