Friday, June 5, 2009

The J-Film Pow-Wow teams up with Jasper Sharp to bring you The Shinsedai Cinema Festival

by Chris MaGee

It's been so hard to keep a lid on this for the past couple months. When I was in Frankfurt for this year's Nippon Connection film Festival I got the privilege of hanging out with Midnight Eye's Jasper Sharp. Over a couple of beers (okay, more than a couple) we spoke about how it might be fun to bring some Japanese films that don't normally get much exposure to Toronto. Once we flew back home we filed the idea away, planning on following up on it but not really certain of when that would be. In a twist of fate I was contacted by James Heron, the Executive Director of The Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre here in Toronto. He wanted to know if I had any ideas for film-related events. One thing led to another and after a great dealing of planning I am proud to announce the inaugural Shinsedai Cinema Festival.

Between August 21st and August 23rd The Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre's 6,500 square foot, 450 seat Kobayashi Hall will be hosting screenings of some of the best independent films coming out of Japan today in a programme put together by Jasper Sharp and myself. As Jasper puts it, “The past decade or so has seen an explosion of exciting new filmmakers, taking advantage of new production and exhibition technologies and supported by such vital organizations as Pia Film Festival, Image Forum and Yamagata Film Festival, to tell the stories that matter to them,” and we want to bring the insightful, innovative, and irreverent work of this shinsedai or new generation of Japanese filmmakers to the city.

Highlights of the Shinsedai Cinema Festival include the Canadian premieres of Masahide Ichii’s "Naked of Defenses", winner of the top prize at the 2008 Pia Film Festival, Yasutomo Chikuma’s documentary drama "Now, I…", and critically-acclaimed filmmaker Yuki Tanada’s 2004 comedy "Electric Button (Moon & Cherry)". Check out the films page of the fest's official site (which was designed by Trista DeVries, the woman behind the great film site 10 Films to See Before You Die - Thanks, Trista!!!) for the first round of titles in our line-up. In about a month we hope to announce the second round of films, so keep checking back!

Here's hoping that we see all of you at the Shinsedai Film Festival this August!

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