Shinsedai Special Report #2

Kick-off night for the Shinsedai Cinema Festival wrapped up at the Japanese Cultural Center here in Toronto and what a night it was!  The reception started off with a bang with the introduction of the special guests Momoko Ando (director of Kakera: A Piece of Our Life), Gen Takahashi (director of Confessions of a Dog), Akino Kondoh (animated short Ladybird’s Requiem), Yasunobu Takahashi (director of Locked Out), Tokachi Tsuchiya (director of A Normal Life, Please!), and comedian/actor Shaq (Gunman Champion).  Famed India-born Canadian director Deepa Mehta (Water, Heaven on Earth), reportedly a fan of Ando`s film, could be found in the crowd of partygoers.

The kick-off film was Momoko Ando’s Kakera, an excellent contemporary piece based on Erika Sakurazawa’s Love Vibes.  For more thoughts on Kakera and an interview with director Ando, stay tuned for a special podcast that I will be recording with Toronto J-Film Pow-Wow‘s Marc Saint-Cyr which should be up sometime shortly.

Preceding Kakera was Akino Kondoh’s short animated piece.   The short itself was a bit abstract, but the beautifully hand-drawn details of it were very admirable.  Kondoh is getting a lot of attention in the art world and, according to her site, John Zorn has used one of her pieces on the cover of his latest album.

Last screening of the night was a six-piece Kihachiro Kawamoto retrospective put together by Jasper Sharp of Midnight Eye.  The crowd had thinned out a little at this point, but a dedicated sixty or so people remained for these.  For those who don’t know, Kawamoto is an animator who makes use of dolls and stop motion animation to incredible effect.

More information to come!