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Fanboys Premiere In Japan
Posted by Jason on May 6, 2010 at 02:30 PM CST:

ForceCast pal and director of Fanboys Kyle Newman was cool enough to share photos and details of his experiences while promoting Fanboys for its Japanese Premiere.

Here is guest blogger Kyle's story.

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When I heard that FANBOYS was set to premiere in Japan I was excited. Part of me had all but given up hope of the film coming out there, but such is the case with Fanboys, nothing is impossible. And not only was our film to be released in theaters and on DVD… it was going to debut at the Okinawa International Film Festival.

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This was all happening because of a fan driven signature campaign by dedicated Star Wars fans. I was BLOWN AWAY. The fans had done it again! And to sweeten the news… the festival and distributor CCC had requested my presence in Japan to help promote the film. I did a little dance then calmly replied "Of course!" I had always dreamed of visiting Japan – and now I had the perfect reason to go!

In late March I set out on the week-long journey with my good buddy and fellow filmmaker Andrew Gallery – the man responsible for all of the "Disturbances In The Force" behind-the-scenes documentaries (there are more to come btw!). We landed in Tokyo and were joined by reps from our Japanese Distributor CCC, including our contact Aya who took the best care of us! We immediately hoped on another plane and headed straight to Okinawa for the International Film Festival in which Fanboys was the closing night film. What an honor.

The afternoon before our big screening we hit the streets with a Stormtrooper, "Trooper Girl," and Boba Fett in tow. Okinawa didn’t know what hit them! Haha.

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We invaded the local Tsutaya – the largest chain of video stores in Japan (also owned by our distrib.) – for some fun times and photo ops. Of course we went right to the Star Wars section! We also brought new meaning to the term "Sandtrooper" at the beach where the outdoor comedy stage to festival was in full swing.

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The kids loved seeing our trooper Kenichi in full costume.

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Ken and I bonded immediately over the wars! He is a wonderful guy and the ever-capable head of the Japanese 501st Garrison. He had made the trek from Tokyo to help us promote Fanboys and we were honored to have him.

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Andrew was always with us documenting our trip. (FYI - Much of what we shot will be on the upcoming Fanboys blu-ray as part of a fun new featurette!)

Opening night!

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Just before we departed for the big premiere, I met Hiking and Walking – two very famous and popular Japanese comedians – who also joined us from Tokyo to help promote Fanboys in Japan. They were both big, big fans of the saga and were great ambassadors for Fanboys. We all hopped in the stretch SUV limo and headed to the theater. I did not know what to expect. The US release was modest and scattered… but when the car doors opened I was stunned.

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We stepped out of the limo to a flurry of flashbulbs. I was stunned! There were HUNDREDS of fans. HUNDREDS!!! They lined a red carpet that snaked around the theater. It was truly incredible. And the press was out in full force. The audience was filled with die-hard Star Wars fans, including this "Padme" who was a hit with fans and press alike:

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We stayed for the awards show, which was attended by many luminaries from the Japanes entertainment industry, but sadly we did not win the coveted "Golden Shisha." It was not to be… the next morning we headed to the airport bright and early – a full day of press awaited me in Tokyo. But there was no time to sleep… I finally had some time to catch up on my ForceCast. This is a pic of me flying over the Pacific back to mainland Japan listening to Jason and Jimmy in an airplane restroom. There is no wrong place to listen to The ForceCast.

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In Tokyo, we hit the streets for more photo ops and promotions! Before visiting the largest video store in Japan in the busy city center of Shibuya, or as we called it Sha-BOOYAH!, I paid a visit to the bronze statue of Hachi – a legendary Shiba-Inu.

This is me and "Trooper Girl" by the famed mutt’s statue. Shibas are the most famous dog in Japan and Jaime and I own two – Wendy and Peter. So I needed to snap some pics of Shibas for Jaime back home.

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While doing a TV interview discussing some of my favorite films I couldn’t help but promote this one based solely on the DVD cover. I heart Shibas.

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I also gave thumbs up to The Caravan of Courage… which in hindsight may not be a crowd pleaser. But oh well, I dig it!

Next up was Starcase!!! I had seen videos of this legendary toy store on YouTube and had heard about it from Wars collectors all around the world including Steve Sansweet. It is not to be missed if you ever visit Tokyo. It was fun participating in several interviews while wandering the jam packed aisles of this magnificent Star Wars-only shop. It was almost a museum with many Japanese specific items that I had never seen before. I dream of a store like this in the states.

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My favorite was probably this case of vintage figures. While I was there I picked up a Takara carded C-3PO, one of the very few vintage figures made in Japan that differed from their Kenner counterparts. I’ve always wanted one!

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The next morning began an action packed day of press for TV and newspapers. The media response to the film was overwhelming and everyone sat excited to interview me. My view from the office was a rare one – we overlooked Mt Fuji in the distance – something that only occurs on very clear days.

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Although I never got to visit it, it was still great to look out onto it all day. It is, after all, almost as iconic as Mount Yoda!

After 10 hours of Fanboys talk it was time to head the Ebisu Cantina for a meet and greet with the fans. I was finally going to see and thank everyone who helped bring Fanboys to Japan. And the whole night was FANTASTIC! Even C-3PO was there.

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I was brought to near tears by the kindness and support on display. I will never forget all of the great people I met. This is a 180 degree panorama of the room.

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Even legendary Star Wars artist Tsuneo Sanda was in attendance. And he presented me an amazing piece of art.

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Many esteemed folks from the Japanese film community heard about the party and crashed it too. We had a blast and new friends were made!

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Sadly, the next morning, it was time to leave… I had to say goodbye to the wonderful folks at CCC who had been (and are) working so hard to release Fanboys in Japan.

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Their hospitality was second to none. And their enthusiasm let me know that the film was in the best possible hands over there. I can not thank the team at CCC enough!

To say that everyone I met in Japan was great would be an understatement. I loved every minute of my trip there. Every single person I encountered was so kind and generous and thankful that I had made the trek. They treated me like I was Bon Jovi… and I didn’t even have a mullet! I will remember this trip forever. It was truly of those one-of-kind experiences that can never be matched. Japan was such a wonderful country and I highly recommend going there.

Oh, and I just got these photos sent to me from the SOLD OUT opening night in Tokyo!!

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Looks like I missed a tremendous Fanboys/Star Wars party. The Force is alive and well in Japan indeed!

You can follow me on twitter at @kyle_newman. And be on the lookout for the new FANBOYS blu-ray coming to stores in the US on July 27th!

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Thanks for sharing your journey with us Kyle. It's been a long road--glad we could be there with you. Star Wars is indeed forever... and universal.

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