More exciting film festival news for Asian film fans has been announced by our friends up in Toronto, the Shinsedai Cinema Festival, in the form of a complete festival lineup. Whereas many Asian film festivals tend to concentrate on well known filmmakers such as Takashi Miike for instant recognition, Shinsedai does the admirable job of focusing on the brightest and best up-and-comers in the Japanese indie film scene. This year is co-programmers Chris Magee’s and Jasper Sharp’s third year of the festival which will run from July 21st to the 24th at the beautiful Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre located in the northeastern suburbs of Toronto.
This year’s festival is bookended by two films that are prime examples of an overlooked genre in Japanese film, the comedy film. Koji Fukada’s Hospitalité (2010) is a lighthearted look at globalization in its native country while Yuya Ishii’s Sawako Decides (2010, pictured right) follows the sad-sack title character, played by Hikari Mitsushima, star of Shinsedai’s opening film last year Kakera: A Piece of Our Life (2009), and her attempts to rise above being a ‘sub-middling’ member of society. Between those two, a diverse array of films and programs have also been selected from horrormeister Koji Shiraishi’s latest, the reality TV inspired Shirome (2010) to Midori-ko (2010) by animation guru Keita Kurosaka to Yoichi Higashi’s Wandering Home (2010), a touching biopic based on the life of celebrated war photojournalist Yutaka Kamoshida. Speaking of animation, Shinsedai continues its championing of art animation with highly tauted CALF Animation Special, a program of shorts from the indie art collective and DVD label CALF.
Last year’s festival, which we covered here at VCinema, is still one of the fondest of my film-related memories. Meeting so many people and having the opportunity to see a diverse range of films created by a talented bunch of indie filmmakers was a great joy. None of the VCinema core team is able to attend this year’s festival, but we are working on some coverage, so stay tuned for updates on the podcast.
For more information about the festival and tickets, check out their new website: http://shinsedai-toronto.com/ Also be sure to check out trailers of films playing at the festival on Shinsedai’s YouTube channel here.