FAQ
 
Q1. Are incentives offered to overseas productions for filming in Japan?
Q2. About how many overseas productions have been filmed in Japan?
Q3. Are there unions in Japan? Also, what are the fees for cinematographers, lighting, and other crew?
Q4. Can equipment such as cameras, lighting, or special items be rented in Japan?
Q5. Are there film developing facilities in Japan?
Q6. How can street and parking permits be obtained?
Q7. How does equipment clear customs?
Q8. Is a visa required to film?
Q9. Where can I find information about Japanese films or production?


Q1. Are incentives offered to overseas productions for filming in Japan?

There are no tax incentives, but the support outlined below is available:

<Volunteer Extras>
Most film commissions in Japan either have registered volunteer 'Extras' or volunteers who help find free extras. All you need to provide are their meals and souvenirs in some cases. Consider how much it would cost if you were to hire 2000 extras for your film. $100 a day for one person? That's $200,000 a day that you'd save if you worked with Japanese film commissions!

<Film Aid Funds/Fee Exemptions>
Many film commissions in Japan offer fee exemptions of public facilities.
Some film commissions offer funds and/or fee exemptions, such as:
Matsumoto: Film aid fund (max. 5 million yen)
Nagoya: Film aid fund (max. 10 million yen)
Osaka: Location scouting fund
Kobe: Location scouting fund
Aichi Prefecture: Exemption of street permits (2400 yen a permit)
Kyushu Island area: Film aid fund (max. 500,000 yen) for movies, TV dramas, and Music videos which are filmed in 2 or more prefectures in the Kyushu Island area, and shown in either China, South Korea, Taiwan, or Hong Kong.
Note: Ask each film commission for details & requirements

<Accommodation/Transportation>
Are you under the impression that everything is expensive in Japan?
Clean and comfortable hotel rooms are available for $50 in Japan. Of course, luxurious hotels are available for more.
Have you heard of JR Rail Passes? If your stay is less than 90 days, you can ride our trains as many times as you like for one very low price for a certain period. Example: approx. $220 per person for any and all train rides between Tokyo-Fukuoka for one week. (Normal cost is approx. $200 for a one-way ticket from Tokyo to Fukuoka)

<Safety and Cleanliness>
Japan is known as a clean and safe country. Tap water is drinking water. That's a lot more important and convenient than you may think.



Q2. About how many overseas productions have been filmed in Japan?

Here are some of the main productions which have been filmed in Japan (productions filmed in Japan have increased greatly in recent years):

The Last Samurai (Company: Warner Bros. Pictures/Dir. Edward Zwick)
Lost in Translation (Company: Focus Features/Dir.: Sofia Coppola)
Memoirs of a Geisha (Company: Columbia Pictures corp./Dir.: Rob Marshall)
Kill Bill: Vol.1 (Company: Miramax Films/Dir.: Quentin Tarantino)
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (Company. Universal Pictures/Dir.: Justin Lin)
Babel (Company.: Paramount Pictures/Dir.: Alejandro González Iñárritu)
(The above list was drawn from the website http://www.imdb.com.)

Most productions in the past were filmed with a Japanese co-producer and/or production service companies.
Because Japan has unique filming and business practices, it is recommended that productions find a partner that is well-versed and informed regarding such practices.



Q3. Are there unions in Japan? Also, what are the fees for cinematographers, lighting, and other crew?

Unions similar to those in Europe and the United States have not been organized in Japan. There are, however, groups which function as cooperatives for producers or staff. None of these are affiliated with international cooperatives or associations, but they do have social activities and make efforts at protecting their rights.
Because there are no organized unions in Japan, producers negotiate compensation directly with the crew for each production. Even in the case of a joint Japan-overseas production, crew fees should be discussed with Japanese co-producers, production service companies, or directly with the crew.



Q4. Can equipment such as cameras, lighting, or special items be rented in Japan?

Most equipment can be rented from rental companies. However, most Japanese rental companies negotiate contracts before lending equipment. Some Japanese co-producers already have accounts with equipment rental companies, so renting through such co-producers may be easier and smoother.



Q5. Are there film developing facilities in Japan?

There are four facilities that develop 35 mm films. Normally, they negotiate contracts in advance with individual companies, and having work requested through a Japanese partner is common.
Response to inquiries from overseas varies depending on the company, so please e-mail for further details.

IMAGICA Corp.
http://www.imagica.com/
Mail: wm-inquiry@web.imagica.co.jp

TOKYO LABORATORY LTD
http://www.tokyolab.co.jp/ (Japanese only)
Mail: togen@tokyolab.co.jp

YOKOCINE D.I.A. INC.
http://www.yokocine.com/ (Japanese only)
Mail: info@yokocine.com

TOEI LABOTEC
http://www.toeilab.co.jp/ (Japanese only)



Q6. How can street and parking permits be obtained?

Street permits must be obtained from the local police department in the jurisdiction of the filming location. The time it takes to obtain street permits as well as rules and conditions for filming on streets differ in each jurisdiction. For details, please contact the film commission in the area where you wish to film. Information on public and private parking facilities can also be obtained from the local film commission.



Q7. How does equipment clear customs?

As Japan is a Carnet country, the ATA Carnet can be used if your country is also a member.

International organization ICC: http://www.iccwbo.org/ata/id2966/index.html

If your country is a non-Carnet country, please refer to the Japan Customs website
http://www.customs.go.jp/english/summary/import.htm
and make your inquiries.
http://www.customs.go.jp/question_e.htm




Q8. Is a visa required to film?

In cases where compensation is not obtained from a Japanese entity and the length of stay in Japan is short (90 days or less), a short-term visa is sufficient. In such a case, there are 62 countries and regions whose citizens can enter Japan without a visa, but there are also cases where the nature of employment or stay in Japan requires a different visa. Please be sure to inquire at the Japanese consulate in your location.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: http://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/index.html



Q9. Where can I find information about Japanese films or production?

The UNIJAPAN website has information on Japanese films and provides contact details of production companies through its database JFDB (http://j-pitch.jp/english/jfdb/)
It also provides information on support program for international promotion of Japanese films and international co-productions.
http://www.unijapan.org/en/
Through JFDB, a Japanese Film Database managed by UNIJAPAN, it is possible to search for information on Japanese films according to the title, film cast and staff, or film industry related companies.
JFDB offers information on Japanese films released in period from year 2002 to 2007 together with contact details of production companies, bilingually in Japanese and English.
The same site apart from JFDB introduces UNIJAPAN's Support Program for International Co-productions 'J-Pitch'.
For further details check the following link:
http://j-pitch.jp/english/jfdb/



 
 
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