|The 21st G-Fest:
Thousand of Godzilla Fans Get Together at Rosemont
Godzilla fans’ gathering “G-FEST” was held from July 11 to 13 at the Crown Hotel Plaza in Rosemont. Many events were prepared for the festival, such as kaiju film screenings, costume parades, games, and kaiju craft classes. In addition, concerts were held to commemorate the centennial celebration for Akira Ifukube, who composed pieces of music for Godzilla movies.
This year, main figures of “Terror of Mechagodzilla”, Tomoko Ai and Katsuhiko Sasaki; special effect director Koichi Kawakita; maquette sculptor and model maker for the film and toy collectibles industries, Hiroshi Sagae, attended the festival as guests from Japan. Japanese students also participated in it and introduced their independent kaiju (monster) film “Zella: Monster Marshal Law”.
G-FEST was initiated by a Godzilla fan,
J.D. Lees, who is a high school teacher in Canada. Lees first published
a newsletter G-FAN for his friends in 1993. When he ran a small ad in
a science magazine, many G-fans applied for a subscription.
Frank Hufnagel, who has studied film making, participated in G-Fest from New York with his father Frank Hufnagel. Hufnagel (son) became a Godzilla fan after his uncle showed him a Godzilla movie, and eventually his father joined him.
Mark Grosser and Erica Kendall were
Godzilla fans since they were children. Kendall said that she could not
remember when she encountered the monster, but it was always with her.
Actress Tomoko Ai
Tomoko Ai was playing a role as Haruko Matsuki in “Ultraman Leo” semi-regularly. When she heard of the audition for “Terror of Mechagodzilla”, she ran to the audition room with Matsuki’s costume, and she was hired. Charming Ai played as the daughter of a scientist, Katsura, who fell in love with young man Ichinose, who was trying to solve kaiju or monster threatening problem. Ai, however, was no normal human being. She was accidentally killed and revived as a cyborg. Unfortunately, she was installed with a kaiju controller in her body by aliens who wanted to take beautiful Earth. Ai spoke about her memory of the Terror of Mechagodzilla.
Q: Do you have memories of Director Honda?
Q: Could you tell us about Akihiko Hirata,
who played your father’s role?
Q: How about Mr. Katsuhiko Sasaki, who
played your lover?
Although Mechagodzilla had success overseas, it recorded the worst attendance in Japan, where kaiju movies’ popularity had declined. “Terror of Mechagodzilla became the last of Godzilla’s Showa series, and it took nine years to make Heisei series.
Katsuhiko Sasaki’s story
Q: How do you think about “Godzilla vs.
Q: Why didn’t you talk with Ms. Ai?
Q: Your grandfather and father were actors
and played a role in Godzilla movies. Why did you want to become an actor?
(The full story is available in the Chicago Shimpo’s 2014, July 27th issue.
A kaiju gives a surprise to the attendees with his sudden appearance in a ballroom where Katsuhiko Sasaki spoke about his stories.
Frank Hufnagel (R) and his father Frank Hufnagel
Mark Grosser (R) and Erica Kendall
A tokusatu room in G-Fest
Actress Tomoko Ai
Actor Katsuhiko Sasaki
Concerts were held to commemorate the centennial celebration for Akira Ifukube, who composed pieces of music for Godzilla movies.