Friday, January 7, 2011

Iwai Shunji takes us to the world's smallest film festival with new website

by Chris MaGee

One of the biggest buzz names of the past 15 years in Japanese film-making is getting ready to make a major comeback in 2011. Starting with the phenomenal success of his 1995 supernatural romance "Love Letter" Shunji Iwai would become one of the most talked about of the young directors from Japan at the turn of the century. Iwai would bring his signature film-making style to films like "Swallowtail Butterfly", "Hana and Alice" and the film that we at the Pow-Wow think was his masterpiece "All About Lily Chou-Chou". In the past few years Iwai has been keeping a lower profile, but has still managed to maintain a work schedule that most film-makers would die to have. He contributed a segment to the 2008 omnibus film "New York, I Love You", he wrote the script for the Ryuhei Kitamura animated film "Baton", directed a music video for pop music sensations AKB48 and he also reunited with "Lily Chou-Chou" music director Takeshi Kobayashi for the indie band drama "Bandage".

Now Iwai, who is making a point of calling himself Iwai Shunji as opposed to Shunji Iwai, has launched a new website he's calling the Iwai Shunji Film Festival. "I'm not usually into film festivals," Iwai says on the site, "but I thought I would give it a try." Don't think of this as your standard film festival though. Iwai is using his site to post exclusive essays and content relating to such classic films as "All About Lily Chou-Chou" (the original "Lily Chou-Chou" e-novel is posted on the site), as well as details of his upcoming English-language gothic horror "Vampire" starring Kevin Zegers, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Amanda Plummer and Yu Aoi. All this content can be accessed by subscribing to the site. From this web-based festival that's dubbed the "World's Smallest Film Festival" Iwai will be going to one of the world's biggest film festivals, the Sundance Film Festival where "Vampire" will be making its world premiere later this month.

To get your subscription to all thing Iwai head over to the Iwai Shunji Film Festival by clicking here. Our thanks goes to for the heads up on this.

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