by Chris MaGee
Toronto is one of the film capitals of the world, what with over 40 film festivals taking place annually. That's over 40 opportunities for films made in Japan and films about Japan to get screened here and in the next month that's just what will happen. Two festivals will be bringing two great features to Toronto audiences to enjoy.
First up, something for the kids. The 2011 Sprockets Toronto International Film Festival for Children and Youth, running from April 5th to 17th, will be screening Tetsuo Hirakawa's 2009 animated feature "Light of the River" (above), a film that follows in the tradition of Isao Takahata's "Pom Poko". When a family of rats have their home in the country destroyed by developers they flee to the city where they must learn to navigate their new urban home. You can check out screening times and ticket details at the official Sprockets website here.
Meanwhile the programmers of this year's Hot Docs Festival, running from April 28th to May 8th, will be screening Jessica Oreck's documentary "Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo", an indepth look at Japan's national obsession with bugs. Through its exploration of all things entomological the film acts as a primer on Japanese philosophies of nature, and how the Japanese use entomology as a way to escape from their daily lives. You can check out the trailer for "Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo" below, and get screening times and ticket details for this year's Hot Docs Festival here.