Preview – Osaka Asian Film Festival 2018, March 9-18

The Osaka Asian Film Festival has become one of the top movie events in Japan over the years and the next run will have its grand opening on Friday, March 9 at 18:00 at the Hankyu Umeda Hall with the Japanese premiere of the Korean box-office hit Anarchist from Colony. This is just the first of 53 films, many of which have English subtitles and come from 18 countries and regions including, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, the US, and Japan.

The films run from mainstream to indie and features many international co-productions. They have been spread across multiple sections including the Competition, Special Screenings, and such Special Programs as New Action! Southeast Asia, Special Focus on Hong Kong 2018, Taiwan: Movies on the Move 2018, and SANDAAN: 100 Years of Philippine Cinema. There will also be an Indie Forum, and the Osaka Asian Star Award & Talk, an event dedicated to a person who has contributed a lot to Asian films. This year, the award has been given to Chapman To, an actor famous for his comedies who has made the move to director and producer in recent years. His latest directorial effort, The Empty Hands, will be screened in the Competition and the Special Focus on Hong Kong 2018 section.

Competition consists of 15 films including with politics and romance on offer. Derek Chiu’s No. 1 Chung Ying Street about protests in Hong Kong in the 1960s and 2018 will haves its world premiere and there is the critically acclaimed Columbus, the debut feature-film from Korean-born American film academic Kogonada. The Philippines is well-represented for another year, including Mikhail Red’s Neomanila. There are three Taiwanese films, A Dog’s Life, an animation from director Chang Yi which gets its world premiere at Osaka, Hsieh Chun-yi’s Take Me To the Moon, and the Golden Horse winning The Bold, the Corrupt and the Beautiful. There is a major Japanese title programmed with the Asian premiere of Anshul Chauhan’s Bad Poetry Tokyo, the recent winner of the Grand Prix for Best Picture at the Brussels Independent Film Festival.

Indie Forum features 14 films (including 7 short films) directed by many new and challenging talents and each film will be in with a chance of winning the JAPAN CUTS Award, presented by the Japan Society of New York who will then screen the winning title at Japan Cuts later this year. Three shorts supported by the Housen Cultural Foundation have been programmed across the festival so there is a healthy list of indie films.

There are many highlights and world premieres in this section. Moët Hayami’s Kushina, What Will You Be? which tells the tale of a hidden village populated solely by women who fled their lives to commit suicide. Indie legend Hitoshi Yazaki, returns with the world premiere of Still Life of Memories which is all about a photographer who finds his relationship with his pregnant girlfriend imperilled by an art curator who wants him to shoot an intimate part of herself. Daisuke Miyazaki who was at OAFF 2017 with Yamato (California) returns with Tourism, which stars Nina Endo and the model Sumire as two friends who win a trip to Singapore and get lost in urban areas. For those looking for something special, there’s Ordinary Everyday by Noriko Yuasa which is billed as a “psycho-suspense drama is shot and edited with such skill and given a potent soundscape that creates a weird atmosphere that what viewers will get is a high tension film which will suck them in for a number of surprises.”

Filmmakers will also be present to talk about their work at various events and screenings with a healthy selection of guests available for audiences in Osaka to interact with.

The festival will then end with the World Premiere of Akihiro Toda’s The Name which will play at the ABC Hall on Sunday, March 18 at 18:45 with the director taking to the stage to help close the 13th year of the festival.

As with previous editions of the festival, many of the films will have English subtitles and the screenings are easily accessible in the following major venues:

Hankyu Umeda Hall

Cine Libre Umeda

ABC Hall

Umeda Burg 7

National Museum of Art

Tickets are already on sale or the many titles that will be screened over the next ten days. Visit the festival website for full details.