Nine Japanese film-related companies, led by Tokyo Theatres and Gaga Communications, will launch a film series showcasing the work of young scriptwriters, directors and other new talent this April.

Called Garinpeiro, which means "prospector" in Spanish, the series will start with Hogi-Lala, a dark fable about a shipwrecked youth on a South Seas island starring the Japanese pop duo Doggy Bag and directed by Toshiro Saiga. Gaga is producing and distributing, with release set for April 20.

The series will begin with a package of seven films, with one release scheduled monthly at Tokyo's Theatre Ikebukuro, a new venue outfitted with a Sony digital projection system. The films are being shot and edited on digital equipment, reducing production and print costs. The Garinpeiro partners are also sponsoring a series of short films by young directors to be shown at late night screenings.

The partners will provide support for the entire filmmaking process, beginning with film school training and continuing with production, distribution and exhibition. They intend to back both animation and live-action films, while recruiting directing and acting talent from various popular arts, including comics and music.

The partners in the Garinpeiro project are the production companies Omega Pictures, Gaga Communications, KSS, Groove Corporation and PAL Keikaku, as well as Pict-up (pop culture magazine), Enbu Seminar (film school), Sony (digital projection equipment)and Tokyo Theatres (exhibition).