New York Japan CineFest: Program 1 / Short Films by US-based Directors

Ranging from drama, thriller, animation, to war films, these award-wining shorts offer rich insights into the creativity and imagination of filmmakers based in the US. Program attended by filmmakers. Reception to follow.


Dir. Victor Tadashi Suárez. 2011. 11min38sec.
Two brothers, one car, and a strange Japanese friend are perfect ingredients for a thriller about a hypnotism that goes awry.
Columbia University National Undergraduate Film Festival–Best Picture, Best Acting, Audience Choice
Naperville International Film Festival–Best Student Film

Dir. Patrick Dickinson. 2013. 23min54sec.
The peaceful life of an elderly Japanese couple in Los Angeles is interrupted by Alzheimer’s disease. Can they hold on to the cherished past and find solace and hope again?
Ivy Film Festival–Best Graduate Film, Grand Jury Award
2013 Student Emmy Awards–Outstanding Drama-Silver Award

SVA is… 
Dir. Who-Fu. 2012. 1min27sec.
As a promotional video for the School of Visual Arts, this interesting animation uses different styles to explore the theme of “idea.”

Once More
Dir. Hiroo Takaoka. 2010. 24min.
Using the technology of human cloning, a man pushes the ethical boundary to be reunited with his deceased wife.

The Bridge
Dir. Sheldon Schwartz. 2008. 10min.
A young Japanese American soldier joins a small squad on a dangerous mission in Italy during WWII. The film explores issues of allegiance and identity.

Dir. Eric Bates. 2011. 3min40sec.
After losing his home due to a natural disaster, a little boy befriends a sea turtle on a small island. But it’s time to say goodbye.

Mojave’ 43
Dir. Thomas Takemoto-Chock. 2013. 20min.
A Japanese American schoolteacher prepares a treat for his students as a reward for good behavior but they will soon have to confront an ugly truth.

The Hirosaki Players
Dir. Jeff Sousa. 2010. 19min21sec.
The opening night of a Japanese play in New York becomes a tug of war between an up-and-coming Japanese playwright/director and his famous and aging father who is the uncooperative lead actor.
Beijing International Movie Festival–Golden Duck Award for Best Short Narrative
Sonoma International Film Festival-Best Dramatic Short Film


New York Japan CineFest: Program 2 / Sapporo Short Fest Selection

Selected from the 7th Sapporo Short Fest (2012), these short films offers originality in both subject matter and style. Some meditate on serious issues such as the transience of life, horror of war, and aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Others offer quirky humor and lightheartedness towards absurdity of everyday life. Together they provide a glimpse of the vitality of Japanese culture.



Dir. Akihito Izuhara. 2011. 7min40sec. Animation.
This beautiful and poetic animation presents the magical formation of Japanese verses.
Sapporo Film Festival–Best Original Score

Dir. Isamu Hirabayashi. 2011. 3min15sec. Experimental.
Is life about a series of role-playing and the change of clothes?
Sapporo Film Festival–Best Mini Short. Best Contemporary, Experimental Short

Dir. Isamu Hirabayashi. 2011. 7min25sec. Animation.
Listen to a 66-year-old cicada tell its life story. Arduously crawling upwards, it proves its determination to live.

Dir. Albert Ventura. 2010. 29min. Drama.
Driven by the desire to win a thousand dollars, four people participate in a ten-minute psychological experiment.
Sapporo Film Festival-Best Screenplay

Soldier School 
Dir. Saya Ito. 2012. 14min30sec. Animation.
Upon discovering the hidden agenda of his school, a sensitive teenager becomes plagued by his fears of war and dashes his dream of attending college.

Dir. Junichi Kanai. 2012. 20min. Drama.
What will happen when Youko, a mischievous and isolated schoolgirl, befriends the new transfer student?
Sapporo Film Festival–Best Director, Best National Short

Dir. Dean Yamada. 2009. 21min17sec. Drama.
Sometimes, God works in mysterious ways. Finding no meaning in his dull and lackluster life, a man is out of job and bewildered by a note “sent by God.”
Sapporo Film Festival–Best National Short
Premiered at the 66th Venice Film Festival


New York Japan CineFest: Program 3 / Miyoko (Miyoko Asagaya Kibun)


Dir. Yoshifumi Tsubota. 2009. 86min. 35mm.
This clever biopic/adaptation is a portrait of the pioneering manga artist Abe Shinichi, who turned his relationship with muse/girlfriend Miyoko into a graphic novel, the cult classic Miyoko Asagaya Kibun. Interweaving parts of the original comic book, with its candid and explicit depictions of the couple’s private and sex life, into the narrative, this film delicately tells the ups and downs of Abe’s career and marriage as he suffers from writer’s block and mental state degradation.

Q&A with Director Yoshifumi Tsubota.

Fantasporto International Film Festival–Best Screenplay, Jury’s Special Award
Cinema Digital Seoul Film Festival–Blue Chameleon Award, Movie College Award

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