New York Japan Cinefest

By Joy Chiang Ling

On June 12, 2014, Mar Creation and Asia Society hosted the third annual New York Japan Cinefest. The Cinefest highlights the creative works of some of Japan’s most talented up and coming filmmakers. The festival was founded by two filmmakers, Yasu Suzuki, Kosuke Furukawa and a music producer Hiroshi Kono.

Asia Society Film Curator La Frances Hui

The screenings at the festival consisted of six short films, including:

The Misadventures of Incredible Dr. Wonderfoot
Directed by Grier Dill & Brett Glass
This sci-fi comedy tells the story of an aging, time-travelling podiatrist and his nephew. The story is told through flashbacks about the podiatrist’s unbelievable past. It contains bizarre humor and a mind-boggling plot that will not be easily forgotten.

Directed by Davina Pardo
Minka is a documentary about a Japanese student and an American journalist who share a common fascination with Minka architecture. After refurbishing an ancient Minka farmhouse in the snowy region of Japan, the two form a lifelong bond. This film is both an enlightening and emotional insight into a unique relationship.

Directed by Shoko Hara and Paul Brenner
This animated film was created with impressive watercolor visuals, and conceptualizes the imagination of a girl who cannot play outside due to the effects of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. It contrasts the purity of the girl’s dreams with the corruption of reality.

Lil Tokyo Reporter
Directed by Jeffrey Gee Chin
Based on a true story, Lil Tokyo Reporter recounts the achievements of community leader Sei Fujii, a Nisei news reporter who exposes corruption in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo during 1935. He faces Japanese gangsters in his endeavor to make his hometown a better place.

Junk Head 1
Directed by Takahide Hori
For a stop-motion animation film that was created by a single person, Junk Head 1 features incredibly impressive visuals that carve out a fascinating dystopian landscape. The story takes place in a fictional world that has been ravaged by a war between humans and clones. In order to study the clones’ habitat, the humans send a lone individual to navigate their mysterious environment.

Little Kyota Neon Hood
Directed by Satsuki Okawa
Following an earthquake in Kiryu City, ten-year-old boy Kyota refuses to abandon two of his most precious items: a disaster prevention hood and a worn-out English vocabulary book. His English teacher, Mr.Tim, returns from Scotland to continue his career in Japan, shows concern for his neon-hooded pupil. Kyota, fascinated by the foreigner, tries to introduce Mr. Tim to his single mother.

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