Osaka is a lively and energetic city so it’s only appropriate that it has a film festival that reflects this. The Osaka Asian Film Festival is one of the most exciting entertainment events in Japan and it’s back for its 12th year in 2017 when it runs from March 3-12. During this period, audiences will get the chance to view a diverse array of high-quality Asian films and home-grown movies and there are many events, some of which the organisers have revealed in their first wave of press releases.
The festival will open with the Japanese premiere of the action film MRS K, a Hong Kong/Malaysian co-production starring action heroine Kara Hui, a veteran of Shaw Brothers classics such as Return to the 36th Chamber as well as HK action movies like The Inspector Wears Skirts. She appears alongside Hong Kong great Simon Yam and Taiwanese rock star Wu Bai.
The closing film is Parks, which receives its world premiere at the festival. It was commissioned to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Inokashira Park, an expansive area between Kichijoji and Mitaka which features a zoo and the Ghibli Museum. This is an original film which has been written and directed by Natsuki Seta, an Osaka-born female director who was supported by the Osaka Asian Film Festival early in her career when her 2008 film A Letter from Elsewhere was programmed. Since then she has made a name for herself with her 2011 debut commercial feature, A Liar and a Broken Girl which starred Shota Sometani, who returns here to act opposite Ai Hashimoto and rising star Mei Nagano.
There will be a lot more films on offer, all of which are spread across a series of programs such as Competition, which features the latest Asian films which will have their Japan premieres at the festival. Jurors will choose winners of the Grand Prix and Most Promising Talent Award from this selected crop of celluloid entertainment. There is also Indie Forum, the Special Program, which has a focus on a particular country/region or theme, and the Osaka Asia Star Award & Talk where a significant figure from the Japanese or Asian film industries will be celebrated. There will also be a series of Special Screenings for much-talked-about Asian films.
The event aims to do more than just screen films as it acts as a chance for locals to showcase the city to the world and connect people in the creative and cultural industries from across Asia together in a series of events from seminars and even a book fare, all of which will help develop Osaka and cinema. Here’s some of what’s on offer according to the festival website:
OAFF will hold a welcome Party for our guests, sponsors/supporters.
Date: March 9 (Thu)
Venue: Osaka City Central Public Hall
A number of symposiums and talk events, featuring participating filmmakers, will be held during the festival.
OAFF Poster Exhibition
We will exhibit posters of selected films from OAFF 2017 and past festivals in various venues.
Venue: THE (COMMON) PLACE (Osaka)
Dates: February 13 (Mon) – February 18 (Sat)
Venues: Gallery Metro Shinsaibashi, Osaka subway Shinsaibashi station yard; Gallery Metro Nagahoribashi, Osaka subway Nagahoribashi station yard
Dates: February 13 (Mon) – March 12 (Sun)
Venue: Osaka City Hall (Yodoyabashi)
Dates: February 21 (Tue) – March 10 (Fri)
Asian Book Fair
In collaboration with the mega bookstore MARUZEN & JUNKUDO Umeda, OAFF 2017 will hold an Asian Book Fair.
Dates: January 28 (Sat) – March 31 (Fri)
Venue: MARUZEN & JUNKUDO Umeda, 5F Art Book section
Cooperation: MARUZEN & JUNKUDO Umeda
Pre-events: Film Seminars
Special seminars, including Asian film seminars by the OAFF programming director Sozo Teruoka, and a seminar on film subtitling. Cooperation with several universities to broaden the supporter base for moving image culture.
Asian film seminars
Dates: September 25, 2016 – February 2, 2017
Venue: Osaka International House Foundation
Film subtitling seminar
Date: November 7, 2016
Venue: Osaka University, Minoh Campus
Umeda Burg 7 (March 3-12),
ABC Hall (March 8-12),
Cine Libre Umeda (March 4-12),
Hankyu Umeda Hall (March 6-10), and others.
More program information is available here.