The Full G-Fest XX Line-up!

G-Fest returns to Chicago!

In just a little over a week, the Godzilla and Kaiju convention G-FEST returns to Chicago for its twentieth celebration of giant monsters!

One of the most exciting events for kaiju fans around the world is the annual G-FEST – a yearly celebration of all things kaiju. Truly a milestone in this convention’s history, this year event marks the twentieth gathering of G-Fans!

But if you’ve never been to a G-Fest before, what can you expect to see at the festival? First and foremost, a lot of Godzilla fans. This convention was essentially started by JD Lees and a number of contributors to the most well known Godzilla fanzine in print, G-Fan Magazine and as the publication has grown, so has the convention’s attendance. Last year’s attendance was record-setting at 1,700 attendees and this year promises even more G-Fans as registrations continue to pour in!

According to the G-Fest organizers, for the first time ever the Crowne Plaza Hotel is completely booked. The convention sprang to action and secured a G-Fest rate at an overflow hotel but that, too, is now booked!

Every year, the team behind the convention always brings guests and this year is no exception! Guests from Japan include kaiju suit-maker Shinichi Wakasa, Godzilla suit-actor Tsutomu “Tom” Kitagawa, independent filmmaker Shizuo Nakajima and Android M-11 himself, Robert Scott Field. While Japanese guests are certainly a draw, G-Fest XX is also welcoming Frank Woodward (director of the documentary Men In Suits) and Cleve Hall (special effects artist responsible for Godzilla and Ghidorah in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure and the subject of SyFy’s reality TV show, Monster Man) in addition to G-Fan editor JD Lees. Attendees can expect to see each of these guests share their experiences and answer questions in the many panels throughout the weekend.

The G-Fest schedule is PACKED with things to do – so much that you will wish you had several clones! In addition to a live Kaijucast recording Saturday at 1pm in Ballroom 1 (Kaijucast listeners mark your calendars and set your alarms!), make sure you check out the slew of amazing programming involving not only the festival’s guests, but also Godzilla historians.  The full schedule is now online so start highlighting your favorites!

Part of being a fan is wanting to show off your love for “the King” – what better way to do that than by displaying a small (or large) figure, model or diorama on your bookshelf at home or desk at work? The G-Fest Dealer’s Room is instantly one of the most impressive things you’ll encounter at the convention. This video shows a bit more than the dealers, but you get a pretty good sense of what to expect! A word to the wise, however… if you see something you really want, don’t wait to buy it!

Kaiju fans are a talented group and Artists Alley features a number of creatives that share your love for giant monsters. In addition to talking with these talented folks, make sure you browse through their portfolios and buy some sketches, prints and other goodies. In addition to the amateur and budding artists, professional comic artists Matt Frank and Jeff Zornow will be part of the alley.

G-Fest is teeming with contests! The Amateur Video contest hosts a number of fan films, screening them for the attendees. Submitted works in the Art Room are entered into the Art contest. Make sure to hit the Model Room where attendees’ kits and dioramas are on display (there’s some seriously amazing talent in this room). Those models are all part of the Model Contest. The Music Video contest features Kaiju-themed video set to popular music and the Video Game Tournament pits monsters against each other from the Godzilla games available on the Wii and X-Box. One of the most memorable aspects of my first G-Fest (in 1999) was the costume contest – mostly because of T’Igor’s Guiron costume that won that year (which was completely unexpected). As the years have rolled on, however, the costumes have become more and more elaborate! I am consistently blown away by the effort put forth by the attendees. A highlight of the convention itself is the essentially a parade of these costumes. DO NOT MISS THIS! Also, one of this year’s judges will be Cleve Hall from the Syfy hit show, Monster Man!

As the die-hard gamers know, there have been a myriad of Godzilla games released in the past. G-Fest is a great place to try out those games if you’ve never done so. Plus the guys from Spooky Pinball even bring their own custom Godzilla Pinball game.

If you are in the Chicago area, or arrive early enough, you can catch a monstrous marathon of Kaiju movies at the Pickwick Theater! On July 11th, they are screening 20 Million Miles to Earth (1957), Gamera 3: Awakening of Iris (1999), Gamera vs. Gyaos (1967) and The X From Outer Space (1967) starting at 1pm and at midnight, the theater will host a special screening of the new kaiju film from Guillermo Del Toro, Pacific Rim! On Friday night Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (1994) will be screened and Godzilla X Megaguirus (2000) will follow on Saturday night.

Staying at the hotel and exhausted? Take a breather in your room and enjoy the in-house channel from the hotel that is packed with Tokusatsu programming. Just make sure you don’t miss that panel you want to catch because you get caught up watching the AIP dub of Daimajin (I speak from experience)!

Just over a week away, G-FEST XX will be held from July 12th to July 14th, 2013 at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare.

Daikaiju Enterprises Ltd. presents

G-Fest XX from July 12 – July 14 at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare in Rosemont, Illinois

G-Fest XX will feature panel discussions with Shinichi Wakasa, Tsutomu Kitagawa, Shizuo Nakajima and Robert Scott Field along with fan movie historians. There will also be a giant dealers room, video game contests, video contests, art contest, modeling contest, costume contest & parade, special programming for young fans and more!

shinichi_wakasaGuest of Honor: Shinichi Wakasa 
Suit Maker: Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1993), Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla (1994), Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995), Mothra (1996), Mothra II (1997), Mothra III (1998), Godzilla 2000 (1999), Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000), Godzilla X Mechagodzilla (2002), Godzilla: Tokyo SOS (2003), Godzilla Final Wars (2004)

G-Fest is welcoming back kaiju suit maker Shinichi Wakasa, who last attended G-FEST in 2001. Mr. Wakasa has a long history of making monsters, and is best known for creating most of the suits seen in the Heisei and Millennium Godzilla series. He also built suits for Yamato Takeru and Gamera 2: Advent of Legion. Mr. Wakasa will be the recipient of the coveted Mangled Skyscraper Award for 2013.
Shinichi Wakasa will be part of the following panels: Maker of Monsters (Saturday @ 10am), Kaijucast Live Podcast (Saturday @ 1pm) & Monster Men (Saturday @ 2pm)

tsutomu_kitagawaSpecial guest: Tsutomu Kitagawa
Actor: Mothra III (1998), Godzilla 2000 (1999), Godzilla vs Megaguirus (2000), Godzilla x Mechagodzilla (2002), Godzilla: Tokyo SOS (2003), Godzilla Final Wars (2004)

Tsutomu Kitagawa is a suit actor and stuntman best know for playing Godzilla in the Millennium series. Making his debut in Godzilla 2000, Kitagawa is one of the three prolific Godzilla suit actors – although his first suit acting role was as King Ghidorah in Rebirth of Mothra III. Mr. Kitagawa previously played the costumed Blue and Black Rangers in many of Toei Company’s Super Sentai series during the 1980s.

Tom Kitagawa will be part of the following panels: Inside Godzilla (Saturday @ 11am), Kaijucast Live Podcast (Saturday @ 1pm)

shizuo_nakajimaSpecial Guest: Shizuo Nakajima
Director: Independent film Wolfman, the Legendary Colossal Beast vs. Godzilla

If you attended G-FEST XIX last year and saw the special session on the fan film: Wolfman, the Legendary Colossal Beast vs. Godzilla, you know it caused quite a stir. This year, the film’s director Shizuo Nakajima will be at G-FEST XX. He will be showing stills and a digest version of his full length film, discussing the production, and answering questions.

Shizuo Nakajima will be part of the following panels: Wolfman vs. Godzilla (Saturday @ 1pm) & Wolfman vs Godzilla (Sunday @ 10am)

robert_fieldSpecial Guest: Robert Scott Field
The star of Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991), Scott has become an integral part of G-FEST since he first attended in 1999. Each year, attendees look forward to renewing their friendship with Scott, and hearing about the latest happenings in the Land of the Rising Sun. Scott also acts as the convention’s interpreter for the Japanese guests during their many panels.

Robert Scott Field will be part of the following panels:  What’s Up In Japan? (Sunday @ 10am)


frank_woodwardSpecial Guest: Frank Woodward
Frank H Woodward, is the producer and director of the documentary film Men In Suits, which looks at the art of suit acting and includes interviews from Haruo Nakajima to Guillermo Del Toro. He will be presenting a screening of his film as a question and answer session, and will also be assisting in the tokusatsu thread with Paul Gavins.

Frank Woodward will be part of the following panels: Men In Suits (Saturday @ 10am) & Men In Suits (Sunday @ 11am)


cleve-hallSpecial Guest: Cleve Hall
Cleve Hall is a special effects artist, make-up artist, and actor who starred on the SyFy reality television series Monster Man. He might be best know to kaiju fans for building and acting in a Godzilla suit for the film Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. Cleve creates physical based special effects and make-up through his company, Imagimation Productions, working on films, commercials, and in theater.

Cleve Hall will be part of the following panels: Monster Man (Saturday @ 12pm), Monster Men (Saturday @ 2pm)


jd_lees2Special Guest: JD Lees
The driving force behind G-FAN Magazine, G-FEST, and G-TOUR, J.D. Lees will be present at G-FEST XX all weekend.