Chicago Shimpo
Asian Pop-Up Cinema Kicks Off New Season
with 3 Japanese and Japanese American Films

• Asian Pop-Up Cinema, which has been introducing Asian culture and people through films, held a press conference on February 11, and Sophia Wong Boccio, founder and Executive Director of the Cinema, announced its eighth season starting from March 12 through April 24. The new season is organized by the geographical areas or movie themes on a weekly basis.

• The eighth season starts with Japanese films, “Fly Me to the Saitama”, directed by Hideki Takeuchi, “Ten Years Japan” produced by Hirokazu Kore-eda and five young directors, and “The Ito Sisters” directed by Antonia Grace Glenn and sponsored by Japanese American organizations in the Chicago Area.

• This year, Colin Hara joined the Cinema as President. He said he has noticed that non-Asian people had very distorted images about Asian people. Thus, he said, “I thought that the most important thing Sophia has done was bringing Asian films here to show a little bit about what Asian people are like, what an Asian environment is like.”

• The first week schedules are:
* Fly Me to the Saitama
• Introduction and Q&A with Director directed by Hideki Takeuchi
• March 12 (Tue) at 7:00 pm
• Place: AMC River East 21
• 322 E Illinois St, Chicago, IL 60611

* Ten Years Japan
• Introduction and Q&A with Director Akiyo Fujimura
• March 13 (Wed) at 7:00 pm
• Place: AMC River East 21
• 322 E Illinois St, Chicago, IL 60611

* The Ito Sisters
• March 16 (Sat) at 2:00 pm
• Place: The Wilmette Theatre
• 1122 Central Ave, Wilmette, IL 60091

About The Three Films

Fly Me to the Saitama

• The film is an adaption of a 1980s manga about an alternative-universe rebellion by the natives of the capital’s much mocked suburb, Saitama.
• CACKT, who plays one of the main characters, Rei Asami, had doubted if such a manga story could be realized as a film until shooting started. But then it turned out very well.
• The people of Saitama were waiting for a savior, and Rei Asami, who has returned from high school in the U.S., appears in a local academy to take a leadership role, but faces conflict with another leader, Momomi Dannoura.
• Saitama residents stand up to get their freedom and feud with the people of Chiba Prefecture, then other neighboring prefectures are inevitably involved. It is a comedy film of hick vs. city slicker.

Ten Years Japan

• Ten Years Japan depicts what Japan might be like 10 years from now by five conceptions, which were overseen by Director Hirokazu Kore-eda.
• Director Chie Hayakawa’s “Plan 75” suggests a modern-day “The Ballad of Narayama” in its depiction of people 75 years old and over being guided by the government toward euthanasia.
• Director Yusuke Kinoshita’s “Mischievous Alliance” introduces children in a special school district whose moral education is monitored closely by an artificial intelligence.
• Director Megumi Tsuno’s “Data” is the tale of a young woman living with her father who begins to explore her “inheritance,” her late mother’s personal data in digital form.
• Director Akiyo Fujimura’s “The Air We Can’t See” delves into the relationship between a girl and her mother, who have been forced to live underground due to air pollution. Director Akiyo Fujimura will appear in the screening and join a Q & A session.
• Director Kei Ishikawa’s “For Our Beautiful Country” paints a picture of a Japan in which a military draft system has been reintroduced.

The Ito Sisters

• The Ito Sisters captures the rarely told stories of the earliest Japanese immigrants to the United States and their American-born children. In particular, the film focuses on the experiences of women known as Issei (first generation) and Nisei (second generation, born in the US), whose voices have largely been excluded from American history. At the center of the film are three Nisei sisters: Natsuye (Nancy), Haruye (Lillian) and Hideko (Hedy), who were born on a farm in the Sacramento River Delta and whose lives were directly impacted by some of the most significant events of 20th-century America, from the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 to the Great Depression to World War II.


• The second week of screenings focuses on movies made by Asian and European collaboration.
* Mongolia/Switzerland film “Out of Paradise” on Tuesday, March 19, 7:00 pm, at AMC River East 21.
* Singapore/Netherlands/France film “A Land Imagined” on Wednesday, March 20, 7:00 pm, at AMC River East 21.
* Cambodia/France film “FUNAN” on Thursday, March 21, 7:00 pm, at Alliance Française de Chicago.

• Film series from Malaysia, Taiwan, China, South Korea, and Indonesia will be screened. Hong Kong film “TRACEY” will close the eighth season on Wednesday, April 24, 7:00 pm, at AMC River East 21 with attendance of Director Jun Li and Producer and Writer Shu Kei.

• All the schedules are available at

Sophia Wong Boccio (C) speaks about the eighth season at a press conference.

A scene from Fly Me to the Saitama (Photo: courtesy of Asian Pop-Up Cinema)

A scene from Ten Years Japan (Photo: courtesy of Asian Pop-Up Cinema)

An image from The Ito Sisters (Photo: courtesy of Asian Pop-Up Cinema)