Tuesday, May 25, 2010

2nd annual Shinsedai Cinema Festival announces first block of films!


by Chris MaGee


Since our inaugural year in 2009 so many great films have come out of Japan. Both Jasper Sharp (Midnight Eye) and myself have spent the past eight months watching as many of films as humanly possible so that they can bring the best independent, and in many cases under-appreciated, Japanese films to movie audiences here in Toronto. From July 22nd to July 25th, 2010 the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre will be hosting this celebration of Japanese film, and while Sharp and MaGee are still putting the finishing touches on the 2nd annual Shinsedai Cinema Festival line-up we are proud to announce the first block of films that audiences can expect this year at the JCCC.


Live Tape - The Toronto Premiere of Tetsuaki Matsue's award-winning concert documentary featuring indie singer-songwriter Kenta Maeno. Shot on New Year's Day 2009 in one single unbroken take Matsue and Maeno take us on a musical tour of Tokyo's Musashino district. Winner of the top prize in the Japanese Eyes programme at the 2009 Tokyo International Film Festival and the Nippon Digital Award at the 2010 Nippon Connection Japanese Film Festival in Frankfurt.

Kenji Mizoguchi's The Water Magician - The silent 1933 classic by one of Japan's most revered directors is also one of Japanese cinema's very first independently produced films. The love story between a renowned female performer who literally makes water dance across the stage and an impoverished carriage driver will be brought to life with live musical accompaniment by Toronto experimental quartet Vowls. Not to be missed!

Confessions of a Dog - A gritty police epic that exposes the corrupt underbelly of Japanese law enforcement, Gen Takahashi's Confessions of a Dog was too controversial to receive a theatrical release in Japan. The drama that stars Shun Sugata as a police detective who not only bends the rules but breaks them ended up having to be distributed through Hong Kong to festivals world wide. We are proud to premiere the film in Canada and to have Gen Takahashi as our guest.

Island of Dreams - First time feature director Tetsuichiro Tsuta goes against the trend of shooting on hi-def video with his film Island of Dreams, an homage to 1960s films of Akira Kurosawa, Seijun Suzuki and Kinji Fukasaku. Tsuta and his crew not only shot this eco-thriller on 16mm black-and-white film, but also developed and edited the film entirely by hand.

The Dark Harbour - A hilariously downbeat comedy with a heart, Naito Takatsugu's The Dark Harbour will be having its Canadian premiere at Shinsedai. The story of a lonely fisherman who discovers a single mother and her son hiding in his closet The Dark Harbour brings to mind the straight-faced comedy of Finnish master Aki Kaurasmaki.

The Red Spot - Marie Miyayama's Japanese/ German co-produced debut feature is a touching drama about a young Japanese woman who travels to Bavaria to search for the exact spot where a car accident took the life of her parents and younger brother 18 years before. What she discovers in Germany is more than just a red spot on a map though.

Different Cities - Experimental video artist Kazuhiro Goshima uses subtle CGI-animation to clear Tokyo of all but a handful of its inhabitants in Different Cities. We follow five inter-weaving charca ters as they wake up to discover they've become lost in their own city.

Yuki Kawamura Trilogy - Musician, video artist, and now filmmaker Yuki Kawamura has crafted three touching Ozu-esque drama's about the impermamance of life and the magic that can be found in a single moment. Mixing traditional Japanese Noh theatre and modern hi-def technology these three films - Spark, Angel Robe and Grandmother - will be receiving their Toronto premiere at Shinsedai.

Ladybirds' Requiem - Artist and animator Akino Kondoh's first short film The Evening Traveling was a huge hit at Shinsedai last year, so this year we've not only programmed Kondoh's second animated short Ladybirds' Requiem, but we are featuring her 2004 painting Red Fishes as our official poster image. To top it all off Kondoh will be in attendance at this year's festival.

The full line-up and schedule for Shinsedai 2010 will be announced June 17th and ticket and passes will go on sale Jun 23rd, but until then get more details on this year's film festival by...

Visting the official Shinsedai 2010 website

Joining the Shinsedai 2010 Facebook group

Following the Shinsedai Cinema Festival on Twitter.

Subscribing to Shinsedai 2010's YouTube channel

Hope to see you all at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre for Shinsedai 2010 this July!