Kah Wai Lim’s ode to Japanese mini-theaters gets meta


Most of the nearly 500 Japanese movies released every year are low-budget independent films that screen in art houses, locally called mini-shiatā (mini-theaters). Before the pandemic, most mini-theater owners were fighting to survive financially, and their struggles only intensified after COVID-19 hit and theaters nationwide shut down for a month starting in April 2020.

Crowdfunding campaigns and other initiatives helped them stay in business, but recovery to the pre-pandemic status quo has been slow, especially outside the Tokyo metro area.

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