Asian American International Film Festival, AAIFF, NYC, Japan, Yorozuya Detective Story, Yonsei, Miyako, Distant Self-Portrait, film, film festivals, shorts

Asian American International Film Festival to Screen Four Japanese-Related Films 🗓

The Asian American International Film Festival kicked off last night with the screening of Searching, a thriller directed by 27-year-old Aneesh Chaganty, a former Google Creative Lab employee who spent two years developing, writing, and directing Google commercials. Tonight, AAIFF presents a very different kind of narrative, Yorozuya Detective Story, a quirky fantasy from director Touji Sawamura, who worked in an auto repair shop before making his own independent films. JapanCulture•NYC is happy to support this screening alongside NYU Asian Pacific Islander Alumni.

Asian American International Film Festival, AAIFF, NYC, Japan, Yorozuya Detective Story, Yonsei, Miyako, Distant Self-Portrait, film, film festivals, shorts
Yorozuya Detective Story

Yorozuya Detective Story
Thursday, July 26 at 6:00 p.m.
Village East Cinema – 181-189 2nd Avenue (between 11th and 12th Streets)
Admission: $16/$12 seniors and students

NARRATIVE FEATURES / Japan / Fantasy / 91 mins / Japanese with English subtitles

Directed by Touji Sawamura

Like a live-action anime, Yorozuya Detective Story is chock-full of action, adventure, and head-scratching weirdness. A colorful, off-the-wall cross between a film noir and a David Lynch movie, the film pushes the limits of reality, fantasy and good taste.

Shiro becomes obsessed with detective work after stumbling upon the ghostly abode of his childhood television hero, detective Jubei Yagyu. In flashbacks evoking the campiness of ‘70s Japanese television, Shiro reminisces about the man’s deeds and almost superhuman capability for solving mysteries. However, after Shiro’s own detective agency opens for business, he and his Watson-like partner Mio find themselves bored of being hired by neighbors for the occasional odd job. They crave a real mystery worthy of Jubei.

The film’s weirdness suddenly rockets ahead when a mystery begins to take shape at last. The men in the town are acting strangely, and Shiro’s neighbors might not be as innocent as they appear. As the surreal underbelly of Japanese suburbia exposes itself, Shiro and Mio spring into action and embark on a fantastic adventure.

With dastardly villains, Elvis Presley impersonators, super-powered infants, and a soundtrack by American indie band Rocketship, Yorozuya Detective Story is a wild ride that oozes cool.

Asian American International Film Festival, AAIFF, NYC, Japan, Yorozuya Detective Story, Yonsei, Miyako, Distant Self-Portrait, film, film festivals, shorts
Yonsei

The short film Yonsei screens as part of AAIFF’s program FROM THREE FEET TALL. Do you remember what it was like to be a child? The films in this program ask us to see through the perspective of children facing very adult situations, and yet react with a strength and heart that many grown-ups still aspire to have. These screenings are made possible by the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families, Project by Project, and the Taiwanese American Association of NY.

Yonsei (the Japanese word for fourth-generation Japanese American) is directed by John H. Cabral, a Taiwanese American writer and director. Cabral has had a passion for the art of storytelling since a young age, and he developed his skills at San Francisco State University, graduating with a bachelors in Cinema Production. He later returned to Los Angeles to begin developing new work. Yonsei is the first film Cabral has written and directed since his thesis film.

Yonsei
Thursday, August 2 at 6:00 pm
Village East Cinema – 181-189 2nd Avenue (between 11th and 12th Streets)
Admission: $16/$12 seniors and students

SHORT FILMS / USA / 23 mins / English, Japanese / East Coast/New York City Premiere

Directed by J.H. Cabral

After the passing of his grandfather, Johnny, a Japanese American pre-teen, is relocated to a new school and quickly finds himself alienated because of his appearance. Faced with his feelings as a perpetual foreigner, Johnny struggles through adversity to discover his own identity and peace of mind.

Following the FROM THREE FEET TALL program, there will be a Q&A with filmmakers, including J.H. Cabral and Mei Ling Robinson, Yonsei’s Executive Producer.

 

Two Japanese films also appear in AAIFF’s special shorts program FOR YOUTH BY YOUTH, co-presented by Asia Society on Saturday, August 4 at 1:00 p.m. The FOR YOUTH BY YOUTH shorts program celebrates works by media makers of Asian descent under the age of 21. Those in this category are in competition for AAIFF’s the One to Watch Award.

Miyako
Saturday, August 4 at 1:00 p.m.
Asia Society – 725 Park Avenue (at 70th Street)
Admission: Pay as you wish

SHORT FILMS / Japan / 16 mins / Japanese / International Premiere

Directed by Yua Nakada

The main character Tomohiro, a third grader at junior high school, was troubled with his course in life. He was sent to a Geisha house to help his family’s business. At that time, he saw the severe world of Maiko (apprentice Geisha), but he gradually became attracted to becoming one.

Yua Nakada is a third-year student at Kyoto University of Art and Design, majoring in film production.

 

Asian American International Film Festival, AAIFF, NYC, Japan, Yorozuya Detective Story, Yonsei, Miyako, Distant Self-Portrait, film, film festivals, shorts
Distant Self-Portrait

Distant Self-Portrait
Saturday, August 4 at 1:00 p.m.
Asia Society – 725 Park Avenue (at 70th Street)
Admission: Pay as you wish

SHORT FILMS / Japan / 4 mins / Japanese / World Premiere

Directed by Hana Watanabe

The girl was thinking about herself earnestly. All cuts of this short were taken with an iPhone.

Hana Watanabe will participate in a post-screening Q&A with other filmmakers in FOR YOUTH BY YOUTH.

AAIFF is powered by Asian CineVision (ACV), a nonprofit media arts organization devoted to the development, promotion, preservation, and exhibition of Asian and Asian American film and video. Since 1978, ACV has produced AAIFF, the nation’s longest running festival of its kind and the premier showcase for the best in independent Asian and Asian American cinema.

To see the complete lineup of this year’s films and to purchase tickets, please visit AAIFF’s website.