The Star and Shadow Cinema is very excited to be screening some excellent programmes from Zipangu Fest, the first UK-wide Japanese Film Festival, with programmes very rarely seen in the UK, from mesmerising new animation to beautiful live action feature films.
Newcastle's Star and Shadow Cinema
Thursday 7th April
7:30 p.m. – Beyond Anime: CALF Animation + TALK
A very rare screening of no less than 13 short animation programmes from the new CALF label, which distributes work from some of the most innovative independent Japanese filmmakers + Jasper Sharp, director of London Japanese Film Festival and specialist of Japanese cinema, will introduce the night!
Sunday 10th April
7:30 p.m. – NN-891102 + shorts
Unforgettable indie classic about a man struggling to overcome the trauma of the A-bomb through sound.
Thursday 14th April
7:30 p.m. - Ero Guro Anime Night
This is a selection of 4 nightmarish short animation films, from underground filmmakers Hiroshi Harada and Naoyuki Niiya. The films sit within a hybridised East-West freakshow tradition, and promise a night you won’t soon forget!
Sunday 17th April
7:30 p.m. – Footed Tadpoles + shorts
A quirky coming-of-age comedy about first love in junior high school.
Season curated by Jasper Sharp, Director of Zipangu Fest, and who will come over to introduce the night on 7 April!
It seems I managed to skip posting anything here in February. Oh well, it was a busy month, not least due to the East Winds: Third Window Festival (see previous post) in Coventry and the related duties of interviewing Confessions of a Dog director Gen Takahashi onstage for his mid-month ICA screening in preparation for Third Window Film’s upcoming DVD release, which is currently going damn cheap on Amazon UK (especially if you buy it alongside the DVD of the same company’s Confessions, currently on theatrical release and doing great biz thanks to Claudia Winkelman naming it the must-see release of its week on BBC’s Film 2011).
Hand Soap by Kei Oyama, one of the visionary animators represented by the CALF label
For now however, I just wanted to return to CALF, the independent animation specialist DVD label in Japan whose various creative agents we showcased at Zipangu Fest last November. Well, first up is some good news for those in the Northeast of England – this programme is heading up to Newcastle’s Star and Shadow Cinema on Thursday 7 April, with me in tow to introduce it. It’s the first of a series of four slots from last year’s Zipangu Fest, which ends on Sunday 17 April with Tomoya Maeno’s charming coming-of-age comedy Footed Tadpoles. The other films that will play over the following weeks are Go Shibata’s NN-891102 (described by subtitledonline.com as “edgy, gracefully apocalyptic… approached the realms of the visionary)” and on 14 April, the various films in the Ero Guro Anime Night, including Naoyuki Niiya’s wonderfully macabre Maneater Mountain and Hiroshi Harada’s infamous Midori: The Girl in the Freakshow. You can find out more about these films on the Zipangu Fest and Star and Shadow websites.
Hiroshi Harada's notorious Midori: The Girl in the Freakshow
The next bit of CALF-related news is that Viennese filmmaker Stefan Nutz is is currently putting together a documentary about Japanese indie, art and experimental animation, which sounds right up my street. The film, which features interviews with among others CALF’s Nobuaki Doi, Mirai Mizue, TOCHKA, Atsushi Wada and Kei Oyama as well as the two directors of the films in the aforementioned Ero Guro programme, doesn’t seem to have a title yet, and it may be a while before it is completed, but you can check its progress and show your support by checking out its website.
I’ve already shown my appreciation for the work of Mirai Mizue in an earlier post, but I just thought I’d flag up a few more bits of related news about this maestro of abstract animation. Firstly, Mizue is one of the featured animators at this year’s Flatpack Festival held in Birmingham later this month, 23-27 March. Secondly, his 2007 work Lost Utopia is one of the titles nominated on the website for the International Festival of Animated Film Stuttgart 2011 – so if you like his film, then you can show your support by voting for it online. What do you mean you’ve not seen it? It’s here on Youtube!
And finally, Mizue has his own Vimeo channel, which features slimmed down versions of his more epic films, and a lot of his works that aren’t included on the CALF DVD, including the Timbre series, of 26 short films running from Timbre A to Timbre Z, uploaded at a rate of one a day earlier this year. Also recently posted on Youtube is the summation of this series, A Long Day of Timbre. A busy man!
Oh, and I believe I’ve mentioned it before, but he has his own website too.
Timbre Z, the last instalment of Mirai Mizue's hypnotic Timbre series, all available to watch on Vimeo
The CALF crew are all going to be in Frankfurt this April for the eleventh Nippon Connection, including Mizue’s label-mates TOCHKA, who I will end by saying a little more about. Few of the artists on the CALF label stretch definitions of animation quite as far as this duo, consisting of Takeshi Nagata and Kazue Monno, whose works are realised using a technique they call PiKA PiKA, which is a combination of long exposure and stop motion animation techniques. There’s an interactive element to all of this too, which makes their appearance at Nippon Connection all the more exciting, as audience will have the opportunity to participate in a workshop, waving their glow-sticks to create their own animation. The TOCHKA DVD is available on the CALF website along with the other animators, and yes, they’ve also got their own website.
Frozen in time, a still from one of TOCHKA's PiKA PiKA "lightning doodle" projects, coming to Nippon Connection this April
Rather than me reproduce their press release in full myself, you can read all about the forthcoming Nippon Connection on the website of Jason Gray. As well as the CALF focus, highlights include an exhaustive retrospective of current darling of Japanese cinema, Sion Sono, the Love Exposure director whom I’ve written about many times on this website, and whose Cold Fish is going to be the next title up for release in the UK from Third Window, which brings us sort of full circle I guess….
Posted at 17:43 on 02 March 2011 Filed under news.