Distributor Unplugged has been forced to hold press screenings under police guard after protests.
The Japanese release of Louis Psihoyos’ Oscar-winning documentary The Cove has been confirmed for June 26 by distributor Unplugged.
The news comes after several months of speculation as to whether a theatrical release would be possible amidst spirited protests and skittish exhibitors.
The Cove will open at Theater N Shibuya in the city’s cinema district. An Unplugged spokesperson revealed a further 26 screens have been booked for the film’s roll-out release across the country, with more sites planned.
In recent months the offices of Unplugged have been the scene of loud protests from a right-wing group branding The Cove a “terrorist film” and an insult to long-held traditions in the fishing town of Taiji (where the dolphin cull depicted in the film takes place) and a racist critique of Japan.
The distributor continued working to book cinemas for a tentative June release date, with some exhibitors nervous about further protests. Additionally, recent press screenings were held under police guard and demonstrators were recently ordered by the courts to cease protests near the residence of Unplugged president Takeshi Kato.
“We were protected by the Japanese legal system and police after we appealed to the courts. The protest group only wanted to demonstrate what they were about by taking advantage.”