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Japanese sci-fi finds a receptive audience in Brooklyn

Low-budget take on familiar sci-fi themes are connecting with US audiences

Hiroshi Kono, who grew up in Nagoya but came to New York when he was 25 to found a music label, now spends more time promoting independent Japanese cinema in the U.S. (Photo by Jack Strone Truitt)

NEW YORK -- On a beautiful fall Saturday in the heart of Williamsburg, New Yorkers were invited to an old industrial building that now houses the Wythe Hotel where, after venturing past the neon lights and electric green balloons and down a flight of stairs, they entered into dimensions unknown.

At the Brooklyn Sci-Fi Film Festival, it wasn't just the popcorn machine and hushed sounds of an audience that were unfamiliar -- for many, this was the first time in a movie theater in nearly two years -- but the handful of Japanese films showcasing new ways to explore sci-fi storytelling in a world turned upside down by COVID.

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