Cinema As a Tool for Community Development: Film Showing in Tohoku after 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami

Monday, 16 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Takashi ISHIGAKI, Tokai University, Japan
This paper looks at film showings (activities of showing movies) in Tohoku after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami and examines the relationship between film showings and local communities. This paper presents research on the case of film showings in Ishinomaki city, Miyagi prefecture.

In Ishinomaki, since July 2011, a non-profit organization has held outdoor film screenings in the local summer festival. Movies are projected on the wall of a building, and folding chairs for an audience are arranged at public space which was made by the tsunami; buildings were destroyed and washed away by the tsunami. Therefore it utilizes public space and transforms it into creative and cultural space. The non-profit organization started regular film showings since December 2012. It has shown many different kinds of movies, such as Japanese old movies, Japanese animation movies, and European classic movies. In regular film showings, there are cooperative relationships with local communities.

Based on a case study, this paper examines the role of film showing for development and revitalization of local communities, and also examines the role of local communities in supporting film showings. The role of film showings is to provide the enjoyment and pleasure of seeing movies and to create time and place for communication. It is the place where people get together and talk together before and after seeing a movie. In addition, film showings accompany civic participation and create cooperative relationships with local communities. Film showings in Tohoku have been creating local networks and engaging in community development.

6 years have passed since the earthquake and tsunami, however, local communities and an everyday local network of local residents are still developing. And there is still a great need to community development. In Tohoku, art and culture (including film showings and cinema) can contribute to community revitalization.