Covering film festivals is generally great fun, but one thing of the pesky things is the small trickle of pre-festival information that comes out. “Tomorrow we’re going to give you a hint about one of our guests this year!”, “Blurry stills of our opening film will be posted on our Facebook wall for you to squint and ponder”, these are the wonderful scraps of ‘information’ that the old newsbot has to sift through on a fairly regular basis. Of course, my heptacore custom CPU is smart enough to filter all this out in anticipation of tease-free information. According to data triangulation I’ve performed for VCinema over the past few years, I’ve learned that the festival trailer is the period that ends all festival announcements.
Take our friends over at Shinsedai Cinema Festival, for example. It’s been many months that my scanners have laid…um..lasers on curator Chris Magee’s countless cryptic hints about what was happening at their festival this year. At one time, he even implored us to wait a week for an announcement about one of the films. Um, Mr. Magee, a week for a newsbot is about one thousand human years. Anyway, Shinsedai has just posted its festival trailer, my signal to reveal to you several of its films and highlights, the latter of which you can read just after the bump. Anyway, here goes with their 2012 trailer:
First off, we reported reported the basics of Shinsedai’s 2012 a few months ago, but as a recap, the festival takes place in Toronto from July 12th to 15th at The Revue Cinema at Howard Park and Roncesvalles in Roncesvalles Village.
This year’s Shinsedai appears to be an interesting mix of films that have been making the festival rounds and some cool exclusives. In case you don’t know by now, the festival’s main goal is to highlight the latest and greatest of the indie film scene in Japan as well as provide retrospective context to modern cinema in that country. The festival opens with Ringing In Their Ears, a drama revolving around musicians, that got many positive reviews (including from us) when it played at last year’s New York Asian Film Festival and Japan Cuts. Sticking with the music/sound theme, Takashi Makino’s experimental sound/visual piece Enter the Cosmos will be playing. We spoke to Mr. Makino during our podcast coverage of last year’s Zipangu Fest and can testify that this program will be incredible to see, with or without the help of controlled substances. If Makino’s work somehow is not trippy enough, you’ll also want to dig into the Beyond Anime: The Outer Limits program which showcases what can probably be labeled “alt-anime” (altime?).
More than just a “whoa, dude” showcase for out-there art film, Shinsedai does have plenty for the down-to-earth filmgoer who likes a little leather with their popcorn. Battle Girls & Bondage: A Pink Film Double Bill is an event that pairs two of pink film boutique label Pink Eiga’s features, The Slave and Sexy Battle Girls with some on-stage bondage courtesy of Toronto’s own North Bound Leather. Those who can’t be tied down by a double bill, could try out the singular screenings of neo-noir End of Night or the fantastical Tentsuki, both crime films with different twists.
Finally, for those who like a little more truth added into the mix, Shinsedai has a really strong documentary, Hiroshima Nagasaki Download, an road doc that attempts to record the life stories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors now living in the United States. We talked to filmmaker Shinpei Takeda during the previously linked Zipangu Fest podcast and were very touched by the stories in the film and the sorts of discussions they will undoubtedly produce.
We say this every year about Shinsedai, but there’s a little for everyone. For more information about the festival, check out their web page where future updates will be posted and tickets eventually sold.