Highlights of Japannual Japanese Film Festival Vienna 2018 (October 01st – 07th)

Japannual Banner

This is the year when I try and give a little boost to smaller film festivals and the Japannual Japanese Film Festival in Vienna deserves one. The Austrian-Japanese Society is trying to bring some great films to the nation’s capital.

This could turn into a laborious cut-and-paste job from previous festival’s I’ve covered because I have information on all but four films but I’ll spare you by giving the highlights.

The program has a mix of classic titles restored to new and shiny life, to contemporary films still being talked about in film groups. Some of these have been on the festival circuit for a while there are others that pop up rarely. There are indies that need a push and anime that are too good to miss. I’m going to highlight independent cinema and hard to see classics as well as an anime that is guaranteed to put a smile on everyone’s face.

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A Preview of Japan Cuts 2018 (JULY 19–29)

Japan Cuts 2018 is due to kick off in New York soon! This is the 12th edition of the festival which screens the largest collection of contemporary Japanese films in North America. It runs from JULY 19–29 and there is everything from indies to blockbusters, anime to documentaries and short films, and lots of off-screen action like parties, live music and more over a 10-day festival.

Trailer!

The full list of films can be found here and some features are preceded by short films. There is an impressive list of films covering a variety of topics from refugee-life to the fight for equality by people facing discrimination due to sexual orientation, the desire to create new worlds by travelling to places mainstream films never go, to a much-anticipated adaptation of a popular manga/anime. These films are made by people from different backgrounds and the guests at the festival include a lot of female filmmakers, proving that Japan is a hotbed of talent from all sorts of places.

There will be many guests including legendary screen veteran Kirin Kiki who will receive the 2018 CUT ABOVE Award for Outstanding Performance in Film.

Here is what has been programmed!

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A Preview of the Japanese Film Festival Ireland 2018 – “The Sower” and “The Night is Short, Walk on Girl” headline a great programme

The Japanese Film Festival Ireland is back for its 10th year and the event kicks off on April 08th and lasts until the 21st as a diverse programme of films made in Japan over the last year and a half are screened. This list features some of the best films to have been given a release including two titles by Masaaki Yuasa, the hottest talent in anime right now, and also, The Sower, a finely controlled human drama that is both beautiful and haunting. It made me cry every time I watched it. I have watched it around five times! That shows you its power!

A selection of the films will be hosted at each of the venues stretching from Cork, Galway, Limerick, Tipperary, Dublin, Sligo, Waterford and finally to Dundalk over the next month so check out the website to see which venues have which films.

Here are the films programmed:

The Sower      

種をまく人  Tane o maku hito」    

Running Time: 117 mins.

Release Date: 2016

Director: Yosuke Takeuchi

Writer: Yosuke Takeuchi (Screenplay)

Starring: Kentaro Kishi, Suzuno Takenaka, Tomomitsu Adachi, Arisa Nakajima, Ichika Takeuchi,

IMDB           Website

I had the pleasure of watching this as part of the Osaka Asian Film Festival where I also met its director, Yosuke Takeuchi. It’s a fine film, one of the best I have seen in recent years. Its genesis comes from the personal life of the director and also the life of Vincent van Gogh and how the artist lived a humble and naive existence to the full despite the treatment he faced from society. That story is reflected in not just one of the main characters, the titular “Sower”, but also the people around him. Through their story, a wider one about the treatment of outsiders occurs. This is a remarkable drama that I have seen five times and I am impressed by it which is why I am highlighting it as part of this festival.

Here’s my review for V-Cinema for The Sower.

Synopsis: Mitsuo was one of those brave souls who answered the call for volunteers to clear out the debris left behind by the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami. The strain of the task proved to be too much and he spent three years in psychiatric care. Upon his release, Mitsuo finds solace in reuniting with his brother and his nieces Chie and Itsuki. But a tragic accident soon disrupts the newly found happiness when the two girls are left in his care and Itsuki is killed. Though he had no direct involvement in the incident, Mitsuo is blamed and this causes him and the people around him to deal with the burden of guilt and the struggle for atonement.

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Japanese Films at the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2018

The International Film Festival Rotterdam 2018 runs from  January 24th to February 04th and it includes a massive amount of titles which all look really special. Some are so new, there’s little information. Without further ado, here are the titles!

Yeah Yohei Suzuki

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Genkina hito’s Top Ten Films of 2017

Welcome to my top ten films of 2017.

The Long Excuse Mistress

LAst year was dominated by work/fun at two festivals. There was the Osaka Asian Film Festival at the start of the year while I was in Japan and the Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival 2017 during the autumn when I returned to the UK. Both experiences were great because I got to do what I love the most, writing about films. I also got to work with some really great people and made friends. I have to say thank you to all of them. I hope these people stay with me. As far as I’m concerned, they have my loyalty for what it’s worth. Once I got back from Japan, I made sure to take my family to see as many films as possible. Going to the cinema was something we already did as a family but spending more time together is important. As a result of all this activity, I saw lots of films this year. Due to the type of films I cover or circumstances or pure choice, I flit between years so not everything has been released in 2017. Here’s an article on VCinema I contributed to about a year in cinema and here are my top ten for 2017:

I hope you discover something in this list that interests you.

I’ve updated my Top Ten Films page for these entries.

FINAL JUSTICE

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A Preview of the Tokyo International Film Festival 2017

The 30th Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) runs from October 25th – November 03rd in Roppongi and it’s the best event to see films with English subtitles in Japan at this time of the year since nearly all will have them and there will also be English interpretation at Q&A sessions with filmmakers. Another great thing about the festival is that it nearly all takes place in one location which means that getting to venues is easy.

There are a heck of a lot of films programmed and just as many events and it looks as if there are over 300 things for people to attend. Tickets are sold-out or selling-out fast but I wanted to cover this because it has an exciting line-up and Japanese indie cinema and the shorts looks strong. Heck, Japanese cinema in general looks to be in rude health.

There is a lot to get through and it will be difficult for anyone not using a computer with a decent internet connection to view this (apologies) but I wanted to do this in one post because it is impressive. Accuse me of maximalism if you want but I hope people find something to enjoy thanks to reading this. Click on a title to be taken to the festival page. Here’s what’s on offer.

Ojiichan Shinjattatte Film Image

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The Night is Short, Walk on Girl 夜は短し歩けよ乙女 2017 Director: Masaaki Yuasa

The Night is Short, Walk on Girl

夜は短し歩けよ乙女 「Yoru wa Mijikashi Aruke yo Otome

Release date: April 07th, 2017    The Night is Short, Walk on Girl Film Poster

Running Time: 93 mins.

Director: Masaaki Yuasa

Writer: Masaaki Yuasa, Reiko Yoshida (Screenplay) Tomihiko Morimi (Original Novel),

Animation Production: Science SARU

Starring: Kana Hanazawa (Kurokami no Otome), Gen Hoshino (Senpai), Kazuya Nakai (Seitarou Higuchi), Yuuko Kaida (Ryouko Hanuki), Nobuyuki Hiyama (Johnny), Aoi Yuuki (Princess Daruma), Junichi Suwabe (Nise Jougasaki),

MAL     IMDB    Website

The Night is Short, Walk on Girl is the latest film from anime auteur Masaaki Yuasa and his studio Science Saru. One of two award-winning movies he has released in 2017 (the other being Lu Over the Wall which took top prize at Annecy), this film is the very definition of the word exuberant in terms of story and style and should cement Yuasa as one of the best anime directors around.

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Kotatsu Japanese Animation Film Festival 2017 Preview

The Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival is back this Autumn and like in previous years (2016, 2015, 2014) I’m working for and covering it! Here’s information on this year’s event!The Night is Short, Walk on Girl Film Image

Chapter – September 29th – October 1st, 2017

Aberystwyth Arts Centre – October 28th, 2017

The Largest Festival of Japanese Animation in Wales Announces Dates, Locations and Films for 2017

The Kotatsu Japanese Animation Festival returns to Wales for another edition in 2017 with audiences able to enjoy a whole host of Welsh premieres, a Japanese marketplace, and a Q&A and special film screening hosted by an important figure from the Japanese animation industry.

The festival begins in Cardiff at Chapter Arts on the evening of Friday, September 29th with a screening of Masaaki Yuasa’s film The Night is Short, Walk on Girl (2017), a charming romantic romp featuring a love-sick student chasing a girl through the streets of Kyoto, encountering magic and weird situations as he does so. Festival head, Eiko Ishii Meredith will be on hand to host the opening ceremony and a party to celebrate the start of the festival which will last until October 01st and include a diverse array of films from near-future tales Napping Princess (2017) to the internationally famous mega-hit Your Name (2016). The Cardiff portion of the festival ends with a screening of another Yuasa film, the much-requested Mind Game (2004), a film definitely sure to please fans of surreal and adventurous animation. This is the perfect chance for people to see it on the big-screen since it is rarely screened. A selection of these films will then be screened at the Aberystywth Arts Centre on October 28th as Kotatsu helps to widen access to Japanese animated films to audiences in different locations.

We are also very excited to welcome a very special guest to Wales, Professor Yuichi Ito. He is an award-winning animator who works in television and film as well as teaching at Tokyo National University of Arts. He will be travelling from Japan to Europe where he will present films and a Q&A to the public. He has graciously chosen Kotatsu (September 30th) as one of his two UK dates the other will be at the Encounters Film Festival in Bristol on September 22nd.

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