I am Yoshito Seino, the founder and editor-in-chief of GIGAN magazine.
We are very proud of GIGAN magazine, a free Japanese films magazine that was launched in September of last year and focusses mostly on independent films. GIGAN is a global media platform for Japanese films. We are currently in print and online and hope to expand our services to include streaming, radio and making films, theater, and handling film rights. GIGAN magazine is the first step. Our purpose is clear – internationalization of Japanese films; we believe we should not just be selling or buying the films; rather we should be increasing the audience. In order to this we need to recognize what Japanese films mean to the public.
Below are the reasons why I am starting the business:
1. Power of Independent films
Steve Jobs once said “who is making a new generation? I sincerely hope that it is those who are misfits, rebels and troublemakers.” Independent filmmakers are who they are – sometimes it is not easy to understand what is going on in their films even for the cast and staff, sometimes it is very difficult for an audience to accept a film with an unfamiliar cast, low budget, and lack of entertainment but these films are vital. Unfortunately indie filmmakers are making their own films with own money but they are on a journey looking for the answer to the question “what is film?” I believe this is necessary process for making entertainment films in the future; to never stop thinking and trying to make films again and again.
This is very tough without support. This is why many independent films festivals are launching all over the world. This is why GIGAN magazine is supporting these filmmakers from different perspectives as business matters. We will focus on how to build world audience for Japanese films.
2. Passion and experience
Passion is one of the most important things in my life. If you are passionate or have strong motivation, you can do anything you want to do. I am a passionate about films and pursuing the internationalization of Japanese films. I would like to explain a little about my background. When I was university student, I travelled to about 20 countries as backpacker and reviewed different subjects including the local films in each country. I watched a lot of films and I wondered why Hollywood films were so dominant even if Japanese films are also great and entertaining. What’s the difference between them? This was the first inspiration for the magazine. I am pursuing the answer by creating the GIGAN. My dream is to make Japanese film more accessible to a mainstream audience around the world. In order to this I established a business dedicated to introducing Japanese films into international markets.
3. New business model
GIGAN is a new business model designed for independent filmmakers to succeed in entering international markets. We understand the issues these filmmakers face – No-one knows your films and it is extremely tough situation to succeed in commercial fields. How do you tackle these issues? Most of them would say gaining the recognition of an international film festival is the best way. This is true but even if you have the recognition it is still tough to succeed in commercial fields, even for showing titles at film theaters in different countries. This is the time for GIGAN magazine since we are thinking differently.
What we are covering is Japanese films, which means we have extremely unique content which reflects Japanese culture. I think the uniqueness of Japanese films is why they are screened at many international films festivals, and there are many Japanese films festivals launching all over the world. It is a big opportunity to recognize what Japanese films means to the public in cultural terms. I am aware of the factors involved in working in the film industry but I am pursuing the idea of what is “global entertainment film”. We should be aiming at how we can make global entertainment films that deliver aspects of Japanese culture like Akira Kurosawa who is still the most famous and internationally successful Japanese director.
In order to do this I want to change the way we communicate with audiences through the power of GIGAN magazines content and design by covering intriguing Japanese independent filmmakers and films with diverse perspectives through unique features: reviews, articles on food, sounds, locations, fashion, and whatever else is related the films. Film consists of various things and so will the magazine. GIGAN magazine will be friendly, bright, and flexible, quick to pay attention to the public and not following same ideas and formats.
I am very curious about where is media going and how we are involved. Media is becoming something we participate more easily but it is always a good idea to focus on content (what) and design (how) – communication.
Our next issue will be published first week of February in London and Tokyo, as well as digital format in internationally. We are providing latest information by Twitter and Tumblr:
London – closeup, ICA, and SOAS
Tokyo – The monocle cafe in Tokyo (http://monocle.com/shop/)