So I’m in Estonia at the moment for the first day of East via Asia (at one point known as East by Northeast), the first festival in the country devoted to independent Japanese cinema, jishu eiga and experimental animation. It seems I’m not alone either, as numerous academics who have made Japan their business have also converged on Tallinn for the Japanology conference currently running here – I hope at least some of them make it to our screenings.
Best laid plans, and all that, but I had been hoping to give readers of this website the heads-up on the festival some time beforehand, but somehow, what with my being wrapped up in New Horizons in Wroclaw, Poland, at the end of last month and numerous other things since, the best I could manage was a few tweets. Frustrating for those who might have wished to combine a trip to this beautiful city with some cutting edge films from Japan, but I know the team on the ground here, Helen Merila and Piret Mägi, have been pretty active in spreading the news locally, so I’ve no fears that local audiences won’t come.
The festival is taking place in the Kinomaja on Tallinn’s Uus tn 3 – one of the most beautiful cinemas I’ve ever shown anything in. If the programme looks familiar, that’s because I was invited to curate by Helen after she saw the line-up for last year’s Zipangu Fest in London. Most of the titles we’re screening here have screened either in Toronto as part of Shinsedai, or at Zipangu Fest, and those that haven’t played in London yet might well give you a bit of a clue as to what to expect for the second Zipangu Fest, which I can now reveal will be happening 17-24 November at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) – only a bit of a clue however, because we have a whole lot more planned which I personally can’t wait to announce.
I’ll be joined out here tomorrow by Yoshihiro Ito, director of the marvellously surreal Vortex and Others shorts programme which we screened at the first ever Shinsedai back in 2009 and Tim Grabham, one of the two directors of the amazing new documentary on the role of sound in Japanese Buddhism, KanZeOn. Before then, I’ve got an evening of Estonian punk to savour for the Opening Night party at the Kinomaja!
Anyway, I’ll repeat it down here for those who might not have been paying attention, this year Zipangu Fest will take place 17-24 November at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London. If you’re interested in signing up for our press releases or getting on the general mailing list, visit Zipangu Fest’s press section. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter. Hope to see you in November!