Thursday, March 17, 2011

8th Annual Toronto Japanese Short Film Festival, March 17-20

The 8th Annual Toronto Japanese Short Film Festival starts tonight and runs until Sunday March 20. It opens with a free directors talk and screening.

The event begins at 7pm at the Japan Foundation, 131 Bloor Street West, Suite 213. Attending directors are Isamu Hirabayashi (a featured filmmaker at this year's festival), Rikiya Imaizumi, Christopher Donaldson, Tom Feilr and Samir Rehem. It will be followed by a reception.

The remaining screenings take place at Innis Town Hall, 2 Sussex Ave, one block south of St. George St. and Bloor St. The closing night party is at Central, located at 603 Markham Street.

▶MOMO (Peach) Program – ISAMU HIRABAYASHI On the Cusp
Fri. Mar. 18, 7:00pm, Sun. Mar. 20, 7:00pm
Isamu Hirabayashi|Japan|2003|11 min|Experimental
Corpses buried under cherry trees, a dubious housing project and a doctor still conscious while his body is being cremated. Life and death, love and memory. 3 disturbing monologues reflecting a philosophy of life in the modern world.
Screenings & Award: Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival (2005 / France), Image Forum Festival – Grand Prix (2004 / Japan)
Isamu Hirabayashi|Japan|2010|6 min|Animation
This worm, born in silk, talks and sings about the history and art of his hometown.

Conversation with Nature
Isamu Hirabayashi|Japan|2005|5 min|Fiction
A dialogue between a human and a tree as they discuss their relationship through a decoder.
Screenings: Short Short Film Festival EXPO (2005 / Japan), Barcelona Asian Film Festival (2005 / Spain)

A Story Constructed of 17 Pieces of Space and 1 Maggot
Isamu Hirabayashi|Japan|2007|14 min|Experimental
Reincarnated as a maggot after an accidental death on the surgeon’s table, the soul of a man questions his previous existence and seeks eternal happiness.
Screenings: 25 FPS – Audience Choice Award (2005 / Croatia), Busan Asian Short Film Festival (2007 / Korea)

Isamu Hirabayashi|Japan|2010|10 min|Fiction
Police search in a wasteland. 
Imprisoned and bound by rope, two figures lie in darkness. 
The searchers begin to dig a hole in the ground…
Screenings: Cannes Film Festival Directors’ Fortnight (2010 / France), Sundance Film Festival (2011 / USA)

Isamu Hirabayashi|Japan|2009|26 min|Fiction
A beautiful forest. Descending fog. A small river. A man. A suitcase. A dance. Wild animals are barking.
Screenings: Berlin International Film Festival (2010 / Germany), Vancouver International Film Festival (2010 / Canada)

Born in 1972. Graduated from Musashino Art University (Tokyo). Having worked as a graphic designer, he is now active as a TV commercial director. His short films have been screened at more than 130 film festivals around the world and have received many awards. Highlights include Berlin International Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, Locarno Film Festival (Film and Video Subtitling Prize), Sundance Film Festival, Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival and Busan Asian Short Film Festival (Grand Prize).

ICHIGO (Strawberry) Program
Sat. Mar. 19, 5:15pm, Sun. Mar. 20, 3:30pm
Drowsy Teacher!
Akifumi Nonaka|Japan|2009|3 min|Animation
It’s a struggle against sleepiness. This teacher makes more students fall asleep than any other in the whole university, but here’s one student who is not going down without a fight.
Screening & Award: Toho Cinemas Student Films – Animation Category Grand Prix (2010/ Japan)

Googuri Googuri
Yoshiko Misumi|Japan|2010|9 min|Animation
This is a story of a girl’s imagination. “Googuri Googuri” is a made-up word, a secret word shared by a girl and her grandfather. For the girl, her grandfather is at times like a mountain, at other times like a tree, at other times like an ocean, but always like a warm and comfortable place.
Screenings & Awards: Himeji International Short Film Festival – Semi Grand Prix (2010 / Japan), ASK Film Festival – Grand Prix (2010 / Japan)
The Tale of the Reaper
Takuya Fukui | Japan | 2010 | 23 min | Fiction
A modern tale based on the Japanese comedy (Rakugo) “The Reaper” and the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tale “Godfather Death”.  An economic use of character and props allows this story to expand its scope freely in the dark.

Yoshihiro Ito | Japan | 2005 | 19 min | Fiction
Very inappropriately, an ex-girlfriend appears in the apartment, apparently determined to unsettle things. She succeeds, even if not as she planned.
Screenings: Tama New Wave (2005 / Japan), Nippon Connection (2008 / Germany)

The Blue-Eyed Doll
Kotaku Yoshinaga + Shirogumi|Japan|2010|5 min|Animation
The main characters from the Kyushoku Bancho (School Lunch Bosses) picture-book series, currently extremely popular with Japanese children, unleash their mischief on the big screen. This film is based on a Japanese nursery rhyme written in the 1920s, “The Blue-Eyed Doll.” (C)Japanese Nursery Songs Committee / ADK Arts inc. / Nagasaki Publishing / Kotaku Yoshinaga / Shirogumi

It’s All in the Fingers
Kei Ishikawa | Poland | 2009 | 10 min | Fiction
Weapons of mass destruction are very dangerous. That’s what we heard from Mr. President.
Screenings: New Directors New Films (2010 / USA), Warsaw International Film Festival (2010 / Poland)

▶Mikan (Orange) Program
Fri. Mar. 18, 8:45pm, Sat. Mar. 19, 7:00pm
Masaki Okuda|Japan|2010|4 min|Animation
Elementary schoolboy “Kuchao” only loves to chew bubble gum, a fact that makes him disliked by his classmates. Whenever he chews gum, he enters an imaginary world, which can lead to some unexpected encounters.
Screenings & Award: Shimokitazawa Film Festival – Semi Grand Prix (2010 / Japan), Ottawa International Animation Festival (2010 / Japan)
Chisato Stared
Wataru Uekusa | Japan | 2009 | 5 min | Animation
This film is about chasing the moment.
Screenings & Awards: Digital Creators Competition – Grand Prix (2009 / Japan), NHK Digital Stadium – Grand Prix (2010 / Japan)

Jellyfish Boy
Shoh Kataoka|Japan|2009|14 min|Fiction
Kotaro knows that his best friend is a bit weird. He wears a dress, a long scarf, and a toy flute around his neck, so Kotaro has nicknamed him Kurage-kun, or Jellyfish Boy. Kotaro likes Kurage-kun, but he doesn’t understand how much Kurage-kun likes him.
Screenings & Award: Nasu Short Film Festival – Grand prix (2010 / Japan), Tokyo International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival (2010 / Japan)
Little Red Hood and Health
Ryo Inoue|Japan|2007|6 min|Animation
Little Red Riding Hood, who was eaten by a wolf, meets the organs inside his body.Little Red Riding Hood tries to help the organs who are troubled by the fact that the wolf has metabolic syndrome.
Screenings: BACA-JA – Honorable mention (2010 / Japan), Hokuriku Movie Festival Muvigummi – Midoguma Award (2010 / Japan)
Koichiro Tsujikawa|Japan|2010|4 min|Animation
Based on a nursery rhyme by Yaso Saijo from the 1910s, this film was created by using stop-motion animation. Despite the story’s nightmarish aspects, its ending gives one a gentle feeling.

Rikiya Imaizumi | Japan | 2009 | 34 min | Fiction
Ami receives a mysterious DVD from a suspicious stalker. Various secrets start to unravel.
Screenings & Awards: Tama New Wave – Grand Prix (2009 / Japan), Shimokitazawa Film Festival – Second Prize (2010 / Japan)

▶RINGO (Apple) Program – openArt Special
Fri. Mar. 18, 10:30pm, Sat. Mar. 19, 8:45pm
The Last Piece: Chapter of Kyosuke Kijima
Takanobu Mizuno|Japan|2009|3 min|Animation
Kyosuke Kijima doesn’t work and is wasting his life. One day, the window cracks and something unknown enters his room. 
Screening: Japan Media Arts Festival (2009 / Japan)

Mirai Mizue |Japan|2009|5 min|Animation
A city rises and falls along the lines of graph paper.
Screenings: ANIMATEKA (2010 / Slovenia), Anilogue (2010 / Hungary)

The Mechanism of Spring
Atsushi Wada|Japan|2010|7 min|Animation
When spring comes, animals get excited.
Screenings: Venice International Film Festival (2010 / Italy), Ottawa International Animation Film Festival (2010 / Canada)

Saori Shiroki|Japan|2007|3 min|Animation
A boy found a rabbit.
Screenings: Ottawa International Animation Film Festival (2010 / Canada), ANIMATEKA (2010 / Slovenia)

Kei Oyama|Japan|2006|5 min|Animation
The boy watches an earthworm move on the pavement. The pale-faced girl lies in the house. A short film for omnibus animation, “TOKYO LOOP”.

After School Midnight
Hitoshi Takekiyo|Japan|2007|7 min|Animation
‘MOCK’N’ is an anatomic model in a biology classroom. His only work by day is to display his body quietly in a boring glass box. However, with the advance of night indicated by the bell that marks the end of classes, the school turns into his stage.
Screenings: NEMO Film Festival (2009 / France), Narkolepsy Short Film Festival (2009 / France)
Taku Kimura|Japan|2008|9 min|Animation
In contrast to the Minotaur from Greek mythology, the Japanese monster Kudan has a human head and the body of cow. Kudan speaks in human languages, predicts significant incidents such as wars and disasters, and dies after just three days.
Screenings & Awards: SIGGRAPH ASIA – Jury Award (2008 / Singapore), Anima – Best Short Film (2009 / Belgium)
Getting Dressed
Aico Kitamura|Japan|2010|9 min|Animation
This woman has detached herself from the outside world. Her daily routine includes feeding her bird and looking out at the town from her window. Because she doesn’t go out, she doesn’t bother with clothes. This work explores the harmful effects of not being a part of society and the importance of getting dressed.
Screening & Award: Tindirindis – Best Student Film (2010 / Lithuania)
Hiroco Ichinose|Japan|2008|4 min|Animation
The layer of two people exists in another space. They are not happy but “ha・p”.
Screening: Student CG Contest (2008 / Japan)

Love Mouse
Shinsaku Hidaka|Japan|2009|14 min|Animation
The story about the mouse who fell in love with the cheese.
Screening: Annecy International Animated Film Festival (2010 / France)

NASHI (Pear) Program – Palm of the Hand Stories
Sat. Mar. 19, 3:30pm, Sun. Mar. 20,5:15pm
Palm of the Hand Stories
A series of short stories written by the Nobel Prize-winning author Yasunari Kawabata. Four young Japanese filmmakers bring six of these short stories together into four distinct films. Although they can each stand alone, each of the stories is also connected to the others. The themes throughout are ephemeral love and silence, traditional values in Japanese culture.
Screenings: Tokyo International Film Festival (2009/ Japan), Jeonju International Film Festival (2010 / Korea)
-Episode 1: The Unsmiling Man
Tsukasa Kishimoto|Japan|2009|20 min|Fiction
A story about a writer and his bedridden wife who always asks her husband to rub her legs. Starring Mitsuru Fukikoshi.

-Episode 2: Thank You
Nobuyuki Miyake|Japan|2009|22 min|Fiction
A story about a prostitute, Kikuko, who remembers the day when she was sold to this town, the bus she rode on, and its driver, Arigatosan.

-Episode 3: Japanese Anna
Takushi Tsubokawa|Japan|2009|27 min|Fiction
The protagonist gets his wallet lifted by a young Russian girl. He rents the room right next to hers and becomes mesmerized while watching her at home.

-Episode 4: Immortality
Yuya Takahashi|Japan|2009|10 min|Fiction
An old man remembers his teenage years while sitting under the tree where his girlfriend committed suicide long ago. Starring Yu Kashii and Kouen Okumura

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