The 2015 Japan Film Festival of San Francisco (JFFSF), the first and only fully-dedicated Japanese film celebration for the S.F. Bay Area, has just announced 16 additional films that will screen as part of this year’s program.
Presenting a diverse array of current and acclaimed Japanese cinema, this year’s slate features a number of notable Japanese films across a variety of genres such as action, anime sci-fi, documentary, short film, historical drama, crime drama, coming-of-age, and romantic mystery. The just-announced films augment an extensive roster of titles already announced to run during the weekend of the 2015 J-POP Summit, taking place at Fort Mason on Saturday and Sunday August 8th and 9th
The 2015 Japan Film Festival of San Francisco opens in conjunction with the 2015 J-POP Summit on Friday, August 7th at the Castro Theatre, and runs thru Sunday, August 16th at New People Cinema located inside the NEW PEOPLE entertainment complex in Japantown at 1746 Post St., San Francisco, CA 94115. Tickets to individual screenings are $13.00 each, unless otherwise noted.
The latest announced films will run at the NEW PEOPLE Cinema beginning the week of Monday August 10th with screenings continuing until Sunday, August 16th.
THE KINGDOM OF DREAMS AND MADNESS
Monday, August 10th, 7:00pm
Granted near-unrestricted access to the notoriously isolated Studio Ghibli, director Mami Sunada follows the three men who are the lifeblood of Ghibli – the eminent director Hayao Miyazaki, producer Toshio Suzuki, and the elusive and influential “other director,” Isao Takahata – over the course of a year as the studio rushes to complete two films, Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises and Takahata’s The Tale of Princess Kaguya.
Monday, August 10th, 9:20pm
This film unfolds in Harajuku, the melting pot of Tokyo and the epicenter of many popular sub-cultures. The lives of many young and dream-filled eccentrics, teenyboppers, narcissists, tourists, and workers from various countries – cutting-edge filmmaker Shuta Tanaka humorously captures the amalgamation of cultures found in today’s Harajuku in an ensemble cast comedy.
LITTLE FOREST – SUMMER & AUTUMN
Tuesday, August 11th, 7:00pm
Here comes the farm-to-table film for foodies! Little Forest, Summer ＆ Autumn is a beautiful adaptation of the popular comic by Daisuke Igarashi about a young woman’s self-discovery through farming, cooking, and eating to live through the changing seasons. Ichiko moves back from the city to the tiny village in Northeastern Japan where she grew up and starts living a sustainable lifestyle that she learned from her mother.
THE WIND RISES
Tuesday, August 11th, 9:15pm
Hayao Miyazaki pays tribute to engineer Jiro Horikoshi and author Tatsuo Hori in his creation of the fictional character Jiro – the center of the epic tale of love, perseverance, and the challenges of living and making choices in a turbulent world. Inspired by the famous Italian aeronautical designer Caproni – Jiro dreams of flying and designing beautiful airplanes and grows to become one of the world’s most accomplished airplane designers.
Wednesday, August 12th, 7:00pm
A nostalgic portrait of kirare-yaku – an actor whose forte is being “cut to death” with a sword in samurai films, Uzumasa Limelight goes behind the scenes of the distinctive film genre. A professional extra named Kamiyama (played by real-life kirare-yaku Seizo Fukumoto) has devoted 50 years of his life as a kirare-yaku. When the studio decides to discontinue its productions, he finds himself at a loss. Will the art of dying by the sword live on?
WHEN MARNIE WAS THERE
Wednesday, August 12th, 9:00pm
The newest feature from Japan’s famed Studio Ghibli is a sweeping story of friendship, mystery and discovery that delivers breathtaking animation that only Ghibli can bring to life. When shy and artistic Anna moves to the seaside to live with her aunt and uncle, she stumbles upon an old mansion surrounded by marshes, and a mysterious young girl named Marnie. The two girls instantly form a unique connection that blurs the lines between fantasy and reality.
THE CASE OF HANA AND ALICE
Thursday, August 13th, 7:00pm
Directed by multi-faceted filmmaker Shunji Iwai, The Case of Hana & Alice follows Tetsuko Arisugawa (a.k.a. Alice), a transfer student at Ishinomori Middle School. She hears a strange rumor about a murder case in school. Meanwhile, Alice’s classmate Hana is said to know something about the case… Was Judas really murdered? Hana and Alice embark on an adventure to solve the mystery of the “smallest murder in the world.”
HAVE A SONG ON YOUR LIPS
Thursday, August 13th, 9:00pm
This touching school drama unfolds around Yuri Kashiwagi, a former piano prodigy, who returns to her hometown to work as a temporary music teacher and supervise the chorus members at the local middle school. While practicing for the regional contest, chorus members get an assignment from Yuri to write a letter to themselves in 15 years. Facing their personal issues, Yuri and her students begin to find their own voices.
Friday, August 14th, 7:00pm
From Yuya Ishii, the award-winning director of The Great Passage, comes this honest adaptation of a semi-autobiographical novel about a family that pulls together to fight a terminal illness will resonate close to the heart. Reiko’s daydreams and forgetfulness were not concerning to her broken family until a trip to the doctor reveals that she has brain cancer. With Reiko given only one week left to live, how will this dysfunctional family keep from falling apart?
KABUKICHO LOVE HOTEL
Friday, August 14th, 9:20pm
Directed by Ryuichi Hiroki, one of Japan’s leading directors in the erotic fantasy genre known as pinku (pink films), Kabukicho Love Hotel is an erotically charged drama that traces the intersecting stories of a group of employees and visitors at a notorious “Love Hotel” (a type of short-stay hotel in Japan used primarily for sexual activities) in Tokyo’s red-light district- from a sexless young couple with broken dreams to a middle-aged couple on the run.
100 YEN LOVE
Saturday, August 15th, 12:00pm
32-year-old slacker Ichiko lives with her parents until a fight with her disapproving sister escalates, prompting her to move out and start working at a local 100-yen shop. One day she meets boxer Yuji, whom she has seen passing by on his way home and becomes attracted to him. After her life takes more unexpected and unwanted turns, she takes up boxing herself and attempts to change her ways.
TOKYO SHORT SHORTS 2015: A New Generation of 5 Short Films
Saturday, August 15th, 2:30pm
Co-presented by Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia. By popular demand, JFFSF teams up again with the Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia to present the exclusive SF premiere of five outstanding short films directed by several up-and-coming filmmakers from Japan! Enjoy a colorful mix of comedy and drama that reflect life in Japan with a delicate and witty touch.
THE BIRTH OF SAKÉ
Saturday, August 15th, 4:30pm & Sunday August 16th, 12:00pm – Director Erik Shirai will attend both screenings followed by Q&A sessions
The Birth of Saké is a cinematic documentary that reveals the story of passionate saké-makers and what it takes to make world-class saké at Yoshida Brewery, a 144-year-old family-owned small brewery in Northern Japan. Director Erik Shirai and producer Masako Tsumura were granted unprecedented full access to film at the brewery and capture the intense and relatively unknown process (even within in Japan), of traditional saké making.
THE TALE OF PRINCESS KAGUYA
Saturday, August 15th, 7:00pm
This Academy Award nominated film is legendary Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata’s (Grave of the Fireflies, Pom Poko) rendition of Japan’s most famous folktale, that has been decades in the making. Found inside a shining stalk of bamboo by an old bamboo cutter, a tiny baby girl grows rapidly into an exquisite young lady. The mysterious young princess enthralls all who encounter her – but ultimately she must confront her fate, the punishment for her crime.
Sunday August 16th, 2:30pm
Co-starring ex-AKB star Atsuko Maeda and Shota Matsuda, this romantic mystery is based on the bestselling novel by Kurumi Inui. In the late 1980s, a college student in Shizuoka Prefecture named Suzuki begins a romance with a dental hygienist named Mayu. However, when Suzuki moves to Tokyo for his job and the two are forced into a long-distance relationship, their relationship starts to fall apart as Suzuki begins spending time with another woman named Miyako.
Sunday August 16th, 5:00pm
Co-presented by the Legacy Film Festival on Aging. Director Momoko Ando takes on the big subjects of Japan’s historical, social and emotional psyche with her second feature epic. Based on the director’s own novel and starring her sister Sakura Ando in the leading role of Sawa, an oddly determined caregiver for the elderly, the film is a lengthy yet magnetic road movie that brilliantly captures Sawa’s unexpected encounters and unique relationships with the elderly.