North America's Largest Festival of New Japanese Cinema Announces First Confirmed
Highlights for 12th Annual Installment + ‘CUT ABOVE Award' Recipient
JAPAN CUTS: Festival of New Japanese Film
July 19-29, 2018, at Japan Society
Three of nearly 30 titles in JAPAN CUTS 2018, including (l-r) the documentary Sennan Asbestos Disaster; the comedy Mori, The Artist’s Habitat starring Kirin Kiki; and the animated feature Night Is Short, Walk on Girl.
New York, NY – Now entering its 12th year, JAPAN CUTS: Festival of New Japanese Film returns to present the best new movies made in and around Japan and the filmmakers and performers who made them, with new titles never before seen in New York and many screening for the first time outside Japan or in North America.
Set for July 19 to 29, the 2018 edition will feature an exclusive premiere roster of nearly 30 feature films, ranging from big budget blockbusters to powerful shoestring indies, and includes spotlights on documentary cinema, experimental films, shorts and recent rediscoveries and restorations of classic Japanese favorites. With the full schedule to be announced in early June, first highlights include:
Mori, The Artist’s Habitat – Centerpiece Presentation – North American Premiere: A warm, comical portrait of artist Morikazu Kumagai and his wife Hideko, starring Tsutomu Yamazaki and featured festival guest Kirin Kiki. Directed by Shuichi Okita (Mohican Comes Home, The Woodsman and the Rain).
KUSHINA, what will you be – International Premiere: A strikingly original debut by promising new filmmaker Moët Hayami, in attendance. Recipient of the 2018 JAPAN CUTS Award at the 2018 Osaka Asian Film Festival.
Night Is Short, Walk on Girl – East Coast Premiere: A highly original and visually astounding animated comedy about unrequited love and a wild night on the town from acclaimed animation director Masaaki Yuasa (Devilman Crybaby, Mind Game).
Sennan Asbestos Disaster – North American Premiere: A ten-years-in-the-making epic about victims of asbestos-related diseases by influential documentarian Kazuo Hara (The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On), in attendance with producer Sachiko Kobayashi.
Yocho (Foreboding) – New York Premiere: Internationally renowned director Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s follow-up and companion piece to Before We Vanish (2017) is a darker and scarier apocalyptic sci-fi thriller about alien invasion.
Also this year, the festival will award the 2018 CUT ABOVE Award for Outstanding Performance in Film to Kirin Kiki (After the Storm, Sweet Bean) — a veteran film and television actor who started her career in the 1960s, best known to international audiences for her memorable work in recent films by leading Japanese directors Hirokazu Kore-eda and Naomi Kawase.
“Kirin Kiki is a legend, and we are so honored to present her with this well-deserved award this year,” says Aiko Masubuchi, Senior Film Programmer at Japan Society. “Despite being on screen for over 50 years, she only continues to impress us with her nuanced, true-to-life performances that elevate every film in which she appears.”
Masubuchi continues, “We still have a lot up our sleeves, but we are so excited to share these first few JAPAN CUTS 2018 titles and guests. It’s a perfect slice of what the festival is all about: bringing the latest in both established and fresh new voices in Japanese cinema and celebrating the diversity it has to offer."
Tickets go on sale to Japan Society members June 11 and to the public on June 18.
In the run-up to this year's festival, the 2017 JAPAN CUTS Audience Award winner Teiichi: Battle of Supreme High receives an encore screening on Friday, June 15, 7:00 pm as a "JAPAN CUTS Encore" within Japan Society’s Monthly Classics programming.
Emphasizing the diversity and vitality of one of the most exciting world cinemas, JAPAN CUTS gives cinephiles their first (and sometimes only) chance to discover the next waves of filmmaking from Japan. Founded in 2007, the festival presents the biggest Japanese blockbusters, raucous genre flicks, peerless independents, arthouse gems, radical documentaries and avant-garde forms, along with unique collaborative programs, workshops and panels put together with the cooperation of other international organizations. Special guest actors and filmmakers join the festivities for Q&As, award ceremonies, and the wild themed parties and receptions audiences have come to expect, with live music, food and libations.
Through its film department, Japan Society has introduced Japanese cinema to New York’s international audiences since the 1970s, presenting works by the era’s then new giants Shohei Imamura, Seijun Suzuki, and Hiroshi Teshigahara and others upon their first release, and groundbreaking retrospectives on now-canonical figures such as Kenji Mizoguchi and Yasujiro Ozu. Special guests such as Akira Kurosawa, Machiko Kyo, Toshiro Mifune, and Hideko Takamine had already been part of Japan Society’s events before JAPAN CUTS launched.
Since JAPAN CUTS' inception, the festival has attracted over 50,000 filmgoers and presented over 300 feature films, many never-before seen in the U.S. The first annual JAPAN CUTS was one of the most successful single events in the Society's 2007-08 centennial celebration. The festival has premiered several films that have gone on to garner international acclaim, including: 0.5mm, 100 Yen Love, About Her Brother, Confessions, Death Note, Fish Story, Kamome Diner, In This Corner of the World, Love Exposure, The Mourning Forest, Ninja Kids!!!, Sawako Decides, Sukiyaki Western Django, and United Red Army.
Japan Society Film offers a diverse selection of Japanese films, from classics to contemporary independent productions, including retrospectives, thematic repertory film series, and U.S. premiere screenings. Its aim is to entertain, educate, and support activities in the Society's arts and culture programs. More at www.japansociety.org/programs/
Founded in 1907, Japan Society in New York City presents sophisticated, topical and accessible experiences of Japanese art and culture, and facilitates the exchange of ideas, knowledge and innovation between the U.S. and Japan. More than 200 events annually encompass world-class exhibitions, dynamic classical and cutting-edge contemporary performing arts, film premieres and retrospectives, workshops and demonstrations, tastings, family activities, language classes, and a range of high-profile talks and expert panels that present open, critical dialogue on issues of vital importance to the U.S., Japan and East Asia.
Japan Society is located at 333 East 47th Street between First and Second avenues (accessible by the 4/5/6 and 7 subway at Grand Central or the E and M subway at Lexington Avenue). For more information, call 212-832-1155 or visit www.japansociety.org.