It’s getting to be that time of year again when Asian film fans in and around New York City start drooling in anticipation of two annual festivals: the 14th New York Asian Film Festival (June 26-July 8, 2015) and JAPAN CUTS: Festival of New Japanese Film (July 9-19, 2015). After eight years of successful partnership in co-presenting several films, NYAFF and JAPAN CUTS are now fully independent of one another. Since the NYAFF comes first, I’ll just deal with it in this post.
The 2015 New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF) will take place from June 26 to July 8 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater and from July 9 to 11 at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) Theatre at 333 W. 23rd Street. The festival will showcase 52 feature films, including 1 World Premiere, 3 International Premieres, 13 North American Premieres, 5 U.S. Premieres, and 14 films making their New York City debuts.
NYAFF’s Opening Night presentation will be the North American Premiere of Philip Yung’s Port of Call, which centers on the brutal murder of a 16-year-old Hunan girl who moves to Hong Kong with her family and falls into prostitution. I saw it at a press screening and it’s a very fine film – look for a review of it here at VCinema a few days before the June 26th screening. The Centerpiece Presentation will be the North American premiere of Sabu’s Chasuke’s Journey, which was in Competition at this year’s Berlin Film Festival. Han Jun-hee’s crime thriller Coin Locker Girl, which takes place in Incheon’s Chinatown district, will close the festival on July 11 with the director in attendance.
Eighteen international filmmakers and celebrity guests will be traveling from Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and the U.S. to attend the festival. Among those guests will be Ringo Lam (who will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award), Hong Kong actor/singer Aaron Kwok (who will be receive the Star Asia Award at the opening night presentation of Port of Call), and Japanese actor Shota Sometani (this year’s recipient of the Screen International Rising Star Award).
There will be five focus programs: “Hong Kong Panorama”; “New Cinema from Japan”; “Taiwan Cinema Now!”; the previously announced “Myung Films: Pioneers and Women Behind the Camera in Korean Film”; and “The Last Men in Japanese Film,” a joint tribute to Ken Takakura and Bunta Sugawara, both of whom passed away last November.
Tickets are now on sale for both festivals.