New York Japan CineFest 2019
Wednesday, June 5 and Thursday, June 6 from 6:30 p.m. until 8:15 p.m.
Asia Society – 725 Park Avenue at 70th Street
Admission: $12/$10 seniors and students/$8 members
Highlighting some of the most exciting new voices in cinema, New York Japan CineFest presents two nights of 16 total short films by emerging Japanese and Japanese American filmmakers. Genres span from live action to animation to documentary.
Formal Warrior Suit Ranger
Dir. Shinichiro Ueda. 2018. Japan. 10 mins.
Five men and women in suits confront villains who are disturbing the city. They are The Suit Rangers. They are properly dressed for both their occupations and their fight with the villains.
Dir. Winnie Cheung. 2018. USA. 7 mins.
Albatross Soup is a delightfully fluid animation that complements a chorus of voices attempting to investigate a puzzling suicide: A man gets off a boat, walks into a restaurant, and orders albatross soup. He takes one sip…pulls out a gun, and shoots himself. So…why did he kill himself?
Dir. Sayoko Akutsu. 2016. Japan. 15 mins.
OFUKU has been searching for her mother since the Edo era, 360 years ago. Eventually, she meets Tomiko, an aspiring actress, who is plagued by one misfortune after another. Together, they cook up off-the-wall ideas to rescue Tomiko from a financial crisis instigated by her money-grubbing boyfriend.
Dir. Megumi Nishikura. 2019. USA. 14 mins.
Young Seattle-based activist Joseph Shoji Lachman, who is fourth generation half-Japanese, sees parallels between his own family’s history and the Trump administration’s attempts to ban Muslims, refugees, and immigrants. In order to understand the ordeals his family endured during World War II, Joseph travels to the Minidoka concentration camp in Hunt, Idaho.
Dir. Seiji O’Hara. 2018. 6 mins. Courtesy of Kadoma International Film Festival.
There was a small planet in the middle of the broad universe. Everyone there is paying attention to one thing: seeing their planet from the outside, from images captured by a drifting astronaut.
DONNY THE DRONE
Dir. Mackenzie Sheppard. USA. Japan, USA. 11 mins.
Donny the Drone has just been named the “Person of the Year” by World Times magazine. Donny takes the stage to dramatically tell his story of how he came to have real human emotions. His anecdotes are portrayed with highlights from his world-spanning adventures that have shaped who he has become.
A Banal Man
Dir. Kurumi Hakamata. 2018. Japan. 11 mins. Courtesy of Aichi International Women’s Film Festival.
I could not bear a child. So I made robots instead. But people hated and rejected them. I made up my mind to get even with the person responsible for destroying the robots. Anyone who would want to kill my beautiful children must surely be a monster.
Dir. Tekkou Nogami. 2017. Japan. 8 mins.
What if there was one day you could go back to before you go to heaven? When would you choose? Who would you spend it with? What would you say to them? From the border of heaven to that day, he goes back to one summer day to tell his true love his thoughts.
The Man Traveling with the Pasted Rag Picture
Dir. Shigeyoshi Tsukahara. 2018. Japan. 12 mins.
The story begins in the early Showa era of the 20th century. A mysterious old man on a train relates the disappearance of his older brother three decades ago in the seaside town of Uozu, Japan. The mystery revolves around telescopes, peep shows, and the blurred boundary between reality and dreams.
Dir. Shun Ikezoe. 2018. Japan. 8 mins.
The shiny red skin of jujuba brings back vague memories of my former mother-in-law.
Dir. Tsuyoshi Shoji. 2017. Japan. 22 mins.
Once a handsome young gay man, Yamazaki grows narcissistic of his beauty, but now can’t bear his own aging. One night, Yamazaki meets a young and beautiful man named Leo. Yamazaki collapses during an S&M session with him and reveals his agony. But it’s lost on young Leo. Yamazaki turns to hurting himself in order to bear his own reflection in the mirror…
Miss u, Love
Dir. Toko Shiiki. 2018. USA. 7 mins.
Rei is working as a “Mail-Lady” for the “Mental Health Mail-Lady Service” in Japan. Her job is to exchange emails with clients who have mental health disorders. According to her, she is the most popular “Mail-Lady” in Japan. But recently, she relocated to the United States after a troublesome exchange with one of her clients.
Dir. Nicholas Motyka. 2018. USA. 6 mins.
A wealthy woman takes her human puppet on a tour of the Big Apple. This short was a part of the 2018 Visible Poetry Project and was adapted from Edwin Torres’s poem of the same name.
Dir. Kaichi Sato. 2018. Japan. 27 mins.
Anna, an enigmatic and attractive professional kidnapper, abducts The Professor during his wedding ceremony on a request from one of The Professor’s former girlfriends, who wishes to die with him before he marries. Leaving the church with The Professor on the back seat of her motorbike, Anna starts on the journey to the fictional city of “Alpha Paris.” Homage to the movies of the ‘60s, ANNA, Kidnapper is a sophisticated cartoon with captivating visual effects.
Dir. Yukihiro Shoda. 2017. USA, Japan. 9 mins.
A compilation of intertwined snippets featuring various characters of diverse backgrounds from different parts of the world, each of whom is experiencing their unique, yet fundamentally similar, respective lives. The stories are tied together with the underlying message that we are all connected.
Dir. Fritz Schumann. 2018. Japan. 10 mins.
The Yamabushi in northern Japan practice a once forbidden ancient religion. While their tradition is at risk of disappearing, it offers a way for those seeking a different path in Japan‘s society.
NYJCF is co-presented with Mar Creation and Asia Society, and JapanCulture•NYC is proud to be one of NYJCF’s Community Partners.
To purchase tickets, please visit Asia Society’s website.