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Site for movie fans

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By James Hadfield

A few years ago, Sotaro Igarashi felt movies were getting boring because theaters seemed to be showing the same kinds of movies. So he decided to do something about it. The result is Dreampass.jp, a user-driven, assurance contract-type movie ticket site.

What’s your background?

I was born in Tokyo in 1982, but I lived overseas as a child, in France and Belgium. I moved back to Japan after finishing elementary school. In 2006, I graduated from Hitotsubashi University with a degree in economics, and started working for [advertising firm] Hakuhodo. I quit that job in March last year and started my own company, Bluem Inc, in July.

Where did you get the idea for Dreampass.jp?

All the movie theaters seemed to be showing the same movies, and I felt it was getting boring. I wanted to create a place where people could see the movies they wanted to watch, and that’s what led me to the idea for the site.

Can you explain how it works?

We’ll announce a provisional date for a movie, based on requests from users, and if enough people sign up to come and watch it at the designated time, we’ll go ahead with the screening. If there isn’t enough interest, the screening won’t happen. In geek speak, it’s a user-driven, assurance contract-type movie ticket site.

What’s been your most popular event so far?

It was Katsuhiro Otomo’s "Akira" — we had about 320 people at that one.

What types of people come to the screenings?

It’s pretty broad: we’ll get people in their 20s to 60s. The customers will be completely different depending on the film. That’s movies for you. Everyone loves films, and even if it’s something that they’ve seen countless times on DVD, there are lots of people who’ll say, “I want to watch that on the big screen again!”

Can you recommend any Japanese films that our readers might not have seen?

The anime "Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. Solid State Society," which we screened recently, is a must-see. It depicts a society in the near future where the human brain has been computerized, and the attention to detail is astounding.

What was your most memorable movie-going experience?

Actually, the first time I saw "Akira" — which we screened recently — was when I was an elementary schooler in France. There was a standing ovation at the end, and even though I was just a kid at the time, as a Japanese I felt really happy. I’d love to do business overseas in the future.

Movie download services such as Netflix have become really popular recently, but do you think there’ll always be a need for dedicated theaters?

I don’t think of a movie theater as just a place where you watch films. It’s a place where you gather together with like-minded people at the same time and share the same experience. To be able to enjoy yourself that much, whatever the time or place—that’s what makes them so special, and I think people are going to come to realize this again in the future.

Sotaro Igarashi tweets at @sotaro0616. www.dreampass.jp

This story originally appeared in Metropolis magazine (www.metropolis.co.jp).

© Japan Today

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.


2 Comments
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I don’t think of a movie theater as just a place where you watch films. It’s a place where you gather together with like-minded people at the same time and share the same experience.

He has recognized something unchanged in society, Japan and other developed nations. He can move on with more big ideas with his dreampass.jp ... how can he do that? not only for business purposes but consumer-driven benefits.

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A clever idea! Only concern is that his audience needs to be somewhat tech-savvy; there is an entry bar to possible attendees. But a very forward-looking guy.

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