Press Release May 21, 2015
15th Nippon Connection Film Festival: Program complete
Highlights and Star Guests of the Anniversary Edition
The program for the anniversary edition of the 15th Nippon Connection Film Festival in Frankfurt am Main is complete. From 2 to 7 June 2015, more than 100 films from Japan will be screened, including 33 German, 3 European, and more than 30 international premieres, as well as one world premiere. More than 50 directors, producers and actors will travel all the way from Japan to introduce their works in person. A multi-faceted cultural program introduces Japanese culture through workshops, lectures, exhibitions, and concerts.
Films & Guests
The spectacular kick-off for the festival on 2 June will feature the opening film My Man. This passionate love story, featuring star actor Tadanobu Asano, will have its German premiere in Frankfurt. Director Kazuyoshi Kumakiri and Asano will introduce the multi-award-winning film in person. Before the screening, Tadanobu Asano will receive the first edition of the Nippon Honor Award, sponsored by Deutsche Lufthansa AG. Asano can also be seen starring in a number of other films at the festival, among them the science fiction-thriller Parasyte by Takashi Yamazaki. Another star guest at the festival will be actress Sakura Ando. Together with director Masaharu Take and scriptwriter Shin Adachi, she will present the powerful boxer drama 100 Yen Love. Sakura Ando is currently one of the most prominent actresses in Japan. She also plays the leading role in Momoko Ando’s film 0.5mm, which can be seen at the festival as well.
The popular Nippon Animation section presents current animated films from Japan, ranging from big studio productions to independent films. A long awaited sequel to the successful series, Psycho Pass – The Movie will be screened for the first time outside of Japan, just like the animated film Shinsengumi (2000) by legendary director Kon Ichikawa.
Fukushima – Films after the Disaster
The nuclear disaster at Fukushima and its consequences are still a highly relevant topic in Japanese cinema. Director Hitomi Kamanaka will present her documentary film Little Voices from Fukushima, comparing two regions affected by nuclear disasters, Fukushima and Chernobyl. The film Going against the Grain in Fukushima by Masaki Haramura presents an agricultural cooperative for organic rice in Fukushima Prefecture. German-based director Hikaru Suzuki dedicated three short films to his home region of Fukushima, using artful montage. In his feature film Sharing, director Makoto Shinozaki portrays with people traumatized by the disaster in 2011.
Aging in Japanese Society
An aging society is just as important a topic for filmmakers to deal with in Japan as it is in Germany. Katsumi Sakaguchi accompanies his mother’s mourning over the loss of her husband and daughter in his touching documentary film Walking with My Mother. -1287 by Ian Thomas Ash is a portrait of the last years in the life of cancer-ridden Katsuko. Other films to accompany their aging protagonists with a smile include the tragical comedy 0.5mm by Momoko Ando about an unemployed elderly care nurse, Ryuchi Hiroki’s romantic clash of generations Her Granddaughter, and Ken Ochiai’s homage to the golden age of samurai films, Uzumasa Limelight.
Sister City Yokohama
One featured program is dedicated to Frankfurt‘s sister city Yokohama. In cooperation with The City of Yokohama Frankfurt Representative Office, the festival presents various films by students and alumni of Yokohama-based Tokyo University of the Arts (Hold Your Breath Like a Lover by Kohei Igarashi, Brakemode by Paul Young, KIM by Shunpei Shimizu). Moreover, Professor Yuichi Ito will show a selection of the latest animated short films from his university and offer animation workshops for children as well as for adults.
Another focus of this year’s festival will be films from the subtropical island group of Okinawa, located in the far south of Japan. Okinawan locations served as sets for such diverse films as the Berlinale hit Chasuke’s Journey by SABU, the wacky Okinawa-trash-horror movie Hello Zombie by Soichi Takayama, and the poetic documentary film Silent Color Silent Voice by Ayako Mogi.
A Journey into Japan’s Past
In cooperation with the Japan Foundation and the German Film Museum in Frankfurt, this year‘s retrospective – under the motto “Luminous and Vibrant” – is dedicated to director Shinji Somai (1948-2001). Until today, he has been influential for the Japanese youth drama with films like Dreamy Fifteen (1980). Nine of his films are yet to be discovered by German audiences. The traditional cinema narrator (benshi) Ichiro Kataoka leads us even further back into the past: with musical accompaniment, he will inspirit rare black-and-white films from the 1920s and 30s with new life, turning a visit at the movie theater into a unique experience.
The Nippon Cinema Award, an audience award, will be presented for the 11th time this year. The prize money of 2,000 Euros is donated by Bankhaus Metzler from Frankfurt. The audience will also choose the winner of the Nippon Visions Audience Award. This award is endowed with 1,000 Euros, donated by the Center of Japanese Culture in in Frankfurt. An international jury will give the Nippon Visions Jury Award to the best film from the Nippon Visions section. This year, the jury members are renowned directors Ryuichi Hiroki and Kazuyoshi Kumakiri and Tokitoshi Shiota, director of the Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival. The winner will receive a free subtitling for his or her next film project, sponsored by Japan Visualmedia Translation Academy from Tokyo.
The Cultural Program
The Nippon Culture program also offers many highlights. A Japanese-style market invites you to discover fascinating souvenirs and tasty delicacies. There are also many workshops, lectures, and concerts, where you can experience Japan with all your senses.
From 4 to 14 June 2015, the photography exhibition Burning Soul – Tokyo Punk Photography at Ausstellungsraum Eulengasse will give new insights to the wild punk music scene of Tokyo. For 22 years, 79-year-old photographer Hiroko Matsushita has been indefatigably documenting the concerts of Japanese punk bands.
Kinema Club Conference
For the second time after 2007, the festival – in cooperation with the Institute for Theater, Film, and Media Studies at Goethe University Frankfurt – will host the Kinema Club Conference, the most important conference on Japanese cinema worldwide. The lectures will give insight into the changes in subjects and styles as well as the political relevance of current Japanese cinema.
The live soundtrack performance with honor awardee Tadanobu Asano and the German-French band Stereo Total, taking place at Künstlerhaus Mousonturm on 3 June at 22:30, promises to be a unique evening experience. Together they will accompany the powerful film Ruined Heart: Another Lovestory Between a Criminal & a Whore by Khavn, in which Asano plays the male lead role.
The traditional trance band Habana from Fukuoka is a hot insider’s tip from the Japanese underground music scene. With a mixture of rock and trance, their concert on 6 June at 22:00 invites you to discover new fields of sound.
The award-winning artists duo Usaginingen (“usagi” meaning rabbit, and “ningen” meaning human) will interweave multi-layered levels of images and sounds into a unique audio-visual experience between dream and reality in their performance on 5 June at 21:00.
Classical Japanese music meets modernity in the three concerts featuring renowned artists Seimo Yamaguchi (shakuhachi), Toshihiro Yuta (taiko), Tony Clark (shakuhachi), Holger Mantey (piano) and Hiroyuki Nakajima (calligraphy).
Again, there are also many events offered for children, including kabuki kids makeup, workshops on calligraphy or the Japanese language, as well as the charming animated film The Legend of Princess Kaguya by Isao Takahata.
The Japanese Film Festival Nippon Connection was founded in 2000 and has since been organized on a voluntary basis by a team of 70 members of the Nippon Connection registered association.
Künstlerhaus Mousonturm, Waldschmidtstr. 4, Frankfurt-Bornheim (festival center)
Theater Willy Praml in der Naxoshalle, Waldschmidtstr. 19, Frankfurt-Bornheim (festival center)
Deutsches Filmmuseum, Schaumainkai 41, Frankfurt-Sachsenhausen (Nippon Retro)
Mal Seh’n Kino, Adlerflychtstr. 6, Frankfurt-Nordend (encore screenings)
Die Käs, Waldschmidtstr. 19, Frankfurt-Bornheim
GDA Wohnstift am Zoo, Waldschmidtstr. 6, Frankfurt-Bornheim
Ausstellungsraum Eulengasse, Seckbacher Landstr. 16, Frankfurt-Bornheim (exhibition)
Tickets are availabe at all ADticket shops in Germany, as well as on the internet via: www.NipponConnection.com
100 Yen Love (Hyakuen no koi), by Masaharu TAKE, J 2014
Blindly in Love (Hakoiri musuko no koi), by Masahide ICHII, J 2013
Chasuke’s Journey (Ten no Chasuke), by SABU, Japan/Frankreich 2015
A Courtesan with Flowered Skin (Hanayoi dochu), by Keisuke TOYOSHIMA, J 2014
Fires on the Plain (Nobi), by Shinya TSUKAMOTO, J 2014
Her Granddaughter (Otoko no issho), by Ryuichi HIROKI, J 2015
Kabukicho Love Hotel (Sayonara kabukicho), by Ryuichi HIROKI, J 2014
Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter, by David Zellner, USA 2014
La La La at Rock Bottom (Misono universe), by Nobuhiro YAMASHITA, J 2015
My Man (Watashi no otoko), by Kazuyoshi KUMAKIRI, J 2014
Our Family (Bokutachi no kazoku), by Yuya ISHII, J 2014
Over Your Dead Body (Kuime), by Takashi MIIKE, J 2014
Pale Moon (Kami no tsuki), by Daihachi YOSHIDA, J 2014
Parasyte: Part 1 (Kiseiju), by Takashi YAMAZAKI, J 2014
Parasyte: Part 2 (Kiseiju kanketsu hen), by Takashi YAMAZAKI, J 2015
The Round Table (Entaku kokko, hitonatsu no imagin), by Isao YUKISADA, J 2014
Seven Weeks (No no nanananoka), by Nobuhiko OBAYASHI, J 2014
Solomon’s Perjury 1: Suspicion (Solomon no gisho: zenpen jiken), by Izuru NARUSHIMA, J 2015
Solomon’s Perjury 2: Judgment (Solomon no gisho: kohen saiban), by Izuru NARUSHIMA, J 2015
Uzumasa Limelight, by Ken OCHIAI, J 2014
The Voice of Water (Mizu no koe o kiku), by Masashi YAMAMOTO, J 2014
The World of Kanako (Kawaki.), by Tetsuya NAKASHIMA, J 2014
Silent Color Silent Voice (Shima no iro shizukana koe), by Ayako MOGI, D/J/F 2008 (Nippon Film-Dinner)
Zatoichi (German Version), by Takeshi KITANO, J 2003 (Film Breakfast)
Appleseed Alpha, by Shinji ARAMAKI, J 2014
Everything Visible – Japanese Indie Animated Shorts, J 2012-2014
Psycho-Pass: The Movie, by Katsuyuki MOTOHIRO & Naoyoshi SHIOTANI, J 2015
Shinsengumi, by Kon ICHIKAWA, J 2000
Sleep Tight My Baby, Cradled in the Sky, by Naoya KURISU, J 2014
Taxi Driver Gion Taro THE MOVIE – To All You Deserted Dudes, by Munenori NAGANO, J 2014
Tokyo University of the Arts: Animation, J 2015 (short film program)
Die Legende der Prinzessin Kaguya (German Version), by Isao TAKAHATA, J 2013 (Nippon Kids)
-1287, by Ian Thomas Ash, J 2014
0.5mm, by Momoko ANDO, J 2013
Chigasaki Story (Sanpaku yokka, goji no kane), by Takuya MISAWA, J/Thailand 2014
The Cockpit, by Sho MIYAKE, J 2014
Dual City, by Yokna HASEGAWA, J 2015
Going against the Grain in Fukushima (Ten ni sakaeru mura), by Masaki HARAMURA, J 2013
Hello, Supernova, by Yuichiro KONNO, J 2014
Hello Zombie (Haisai zonbi), by Soichi TAKAYAMA, J 2014
Use the Eyeballs! (Hanamedama Kotaro no koi), by Naoya TASHIRO, J 2014
Hikaru SUZUKI Special (J 2008/2012/2014)
Hold Your Breath Like a Lover (Iki o koroshite), by Kohei IGARASHI, J 2014
In & Out of Japan Vol. 2 (short film program)
Japan Meets Korea: KIM von Shunpei SHIMIZU + Brakemode von Paul Young, J 2014
A Little Girl’s Dream (Yume wa ushi no oishasan), by Yoshiaki TOKITA, J 2014
Little Voices from Fukushima (Chiisaki koe no kanon: sentaku suru hitobito), by Hitomi KAMANAKA, J 2014
OBON Brothers (Obon no ototo), by Akira OSAKI, J 2015
Sceneries of New Beginnings (Hajimari no fukei), by Atsushi SHINOHARA, J 2013
Sharing, by Makoto SHINOZAKI, J 2014
Tama Art University Special (J 2014) (short film program)
Treasure Ship: Latitudes of Lust (Shikido shiju hatte: takarabune), by Koichiro IKAWA, J 2014
Walking with My Mother (Hoyo), by Katsumi SAKAGUCHI, J 2014
No Silence, Please! Ichiro KATAOKA presents: Orochi, by Buntaro FUTAGAWA, J 1925
No Silence, Please! Ichiro KATAOKA presents: The Police Officer (Keisatsukan), by Tomu UCHIDA, J 1933
The Catch (Gyoei no mure), by Shinji SOMAI, J 1983
Dreamy Fifteen (Tonda kappuru), by Shinji SOMAI, J 1980
The Friends (Natsu no niwa), by Shinji SOMAI, J 1994
Kaza-Hana, by Shinji SOMAI, J 2000
Love Hotel, by Shinji SOMAI, J 1985
Moving (Ohikkoshi), by Shinji SOMAI, J 1993
P.P. Rider (Shonben raida), by Shinji SOMAI, J 1983
Stepchildren (Yuki no dansho – jonetsu), by Shinji SOMAI, J 1985
Typhoon Club, by Shinji SOMAI, J 1984
Concerts / Performance / Partiess
Nippon Live on Stage: Tadanobu Asano & Stereo Total / Nippon Live on Stage: Habana / Japanese Music Ensemble / Usaginingen / Karaoke Party
Live Painting with Kozue KODAMA / Exhibition Burning Soul – Tokyo Punk Photography / Video Installation Tokyo Reverse
Film Breakfast / Nippon Film Dinner / Culinary City Tour / Cooking Classes / Sake Workshop / Tea Lounge / Soup Lounge
Benshi Workshop / Origami Workshop / Aikido Workshop / Animation Workshop / Subtitling Workshop / Sanshin Workshop
Talks / Lectures
Fukushima and the Cinema of Slow Death, by Dan O’Neill / Literature of the Atomic Bomb Re-Read, by Christian Chappelow / The Load: Letting Go of History, by Stephen Sarrazin / Film Criticism in Japan, by Maria Römer / Shinji SOMAI & the Long Take, by Aaron Gerow / The Coming of “Anime”, by Roland Domenig / KUROSAWA – The Aesthetics of the Long Farewell. Reading with Dr. Marcus Stiglegger / Kinema Club Conference
Nippon Home Cinema / Japanese Board Games / Game Center / Nippon BookCrossing / Japanese Massage
Animation Workshop / Baby Shiatsu Workshop / Calligraphy Workshop / Japanese Language Course with Manga and Anime / Kabuki Kids Makeup / Film Screening: Princess Kaguya