Japan’s First Mobile Phone Film Festival

capt_0b15a297bcb94c0b8f5650e576865309_japan_cell_phone_films__tok111.jpgIn 2005 a mobile phone film festival debuted in France. Today in Yokohama Japan a similar display of cellphone generated art is being featured at The Pocket Films Festival. Over 400 international entries have been narrowed down to 48 movies deemed worthy of showing.

One of the judges, Masaki Fujihata, a film professor, says that mobile phones are an important tool in an emerging art form.

“The cell phone is something you always carry around and so you can roll the camera on a whim,” he said. “There’s such an intimacy between the work and its creator. It’s spontaneous.”

Fujihata said he was particularly fond of the nine-minute “Walkers,” whose main character is a pair of sneakers that takes a trip on a train.

These types of films aren’t for everyone. Yukio Angawa, an employee at a telecommunications company, was baffled by “Walkers.”

“It’s not that entertaining,” said the 28-year-old fan of Hollywood movies. “It’s sure different from regular movies.”

Part of the appeal of this type of work is that it is generated by one person or a small group of people working with inexpensive equipment and editing tools. MobileCrunch reported earlier this month that in the future You Will Control 25% of Entertainment by 2012. Mobile phone entertainment generated by peer groups is predicted to become part of daily life. A film festival honoring this type of artwork is a well founded concept.

“The cell phone is an extremely personal tool. It’s almost part of your body,” said Jean-Louis Boissier, a French media artist and professor at University of Paris 8, in town for the festival.

“Half the world’s population owns a cell phone,” he said. “Art that comes from such numbers holds potential for historic change.”