[Program 1 – June 4, 2015]

Highlighting some of the most exciting new voices in cinema, New York Japan CineFest presents two nights of short films by emerging Japanese and Japanese American filmmakers. The first night’s program (Program 1, Thursday, June 4) is followed by a reception.

1. A Warm Spell
Dir. Toshimichi Saito. 2014. Japan. 40 min.

When Masanobu returns home with the body of his mother, he finds that his younger brother, Naoki, has given up on his dream to be a painter in order to take care of the post office, their family business. At their mother’s funeral, the two brothers and a few unlikely strangers come together to bid farewell to the woman who tied them together. The film is developed from director Toshimichi Saito’s NYU thesis short film, also named A Warm Spell, which won the Wasserman Award and Audience Choice Award at NYU’s First Run Film Festival 2014 and went on to be showcased at Directors Guild of American in Los Angeles. Special thanks to New Directors Film Festival.

2. Little Kyota Errand Hood
Dir. Satsuki Okawa. 2014. Japan. 20 min.

Three years after the earthquake and tsunami, little boy Kyota meets little girl Shiori. Sharing similar eccentricities, the two quickly become friends and plan to embark on an adventure together. Director Satsuji Okawa’s Little Kyota Noen Hood was screened in last year’s New York Japan CineFest. Special thanks to Aichi International Women’s Film Festival.

3. Tadaima
Dir. Robin Takao D’Oench. 2014. Japan. 15 min.

A Japanese American family returns home from an internment camp at the end of WWII. Their home has been ransacked and is in disarray. Even though each family member feels differently about returning home, they all try to find the strength to rebuild their life amidst the emotional and physical destruction caused by the war. Robin Takao D’Oench’s directorial debut honors the legacy of Paul Takagi, 92-year old former internee, WWII veteran, Berkeley Professor Emeritus, and the director’s grandfather.

4. Confession Ranking of Girlfriend
Dir. Shinichiro Ueda. 2014. Japan. 19 min.

A man proposes to a woman. Rather than saying Yes or No, the woman goes on to reveal 17 secrets. Will the proposal hold after these revelations?

[Program 2 – June 5, 2015]

Highlighting some of the most exciting new voices in cinema, New York Japan CineFest presents two nights of short films by emerging Japanese and Japanese American filmmakers. The second night’s program (Program 2, Friday, June 5) spotlights female directors and is followed by a Q&A with Ema Ryan Yamazaki (Monk by Blood) and Hazuki Aikawa (Reflection).

1. Monk By Blood
Dir. Ema Ryan Yamazaki. 2013. Japan. 25 min.

As a first-born son, 21-year-old Scion Sasaki is destined to take over his family’s Buddhist temple in Kyoto, a temple that is 800 years old and has been managed by 23 generations of Scion’s family. Born in California, Scion was was brought back to Japan at the age of 9 and raised to understand his ultimate duty. Meanwhile, he juggles multiple worlds as a monk, DJ, and aspiring chef.

2. Reflection
Dir. Hazuki Aikawa. 2014. Japan. 23 min.

Tara, a young single mother, struggles to understand and come to terms with her son’s gender identity. Reflection tells the story of a mother and her enduring influence on her child’s life. It provides an honest look at what it means to be a parent to a LGBTQ+ youth.

3. Tsuyako
Dir. Mitsuyo Miyazaki. 2011. Japan. 25 min.

During post-war Japan, Tsuyako lives a demanding life as a mill factory worker, obedient wife, and loving mother. When an old female lover, Yoshie, pays a surprise visit, Tsuyako finds herself entranced by the dream of a different life.

4. Oh Lucy!
Dir. Atsuko Hirayanagi. 2014. Japan. 21 min..

Setsuko, a 55-year-old single office lady in Tokyo, is given a blonde wig and a new identity, “Lucy,” by her young unconventional English instructor. “Lucy” awakens desires Setsuko never knew she had. When the instructor suddenly disappears, Setsuko must come to terms with what remains – herself.

Part of Citi Series on Asian Arts and Culture.
Sponsored by Kirin Brewery of America LLC

[Post Reviews] – AsianInNY

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