The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2017: Odd Obsessions: Desires, Hopes and Impulses in Japanese Cinema
3 February – 29 March 2017
"The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme keep(s) going from strength to strength, and make(s) real efforts to get Asian films exhibited beyond the metropolitan hub" Anton Bitel, Sight and Sound
Following 103 screenings nationwide over a two month period, the largest ever Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme drew to a close in late March. Featuring 14 titles, ranging from contemporary films, classics, documentary and anime, the programme toured to 15 venues around the country, including new venues in Stirling (Macrobert Arts Centre) and Inverness (Eden Court).
This year we also welcomed three very special guests, Naotaro Endo (director of Tsukiji Wonderland), Daishi Matsunaga (Pieta in the Toilet) and Shuichi Okita (The Mohican Home Comes), all of whom took part in post-screening discussions of their films in London and around the UK.
Below are some of this year’s highlights:
Director Daishi Matsunaga visited the UK to attend screenings of his debut feature film Pieta in the Toilet. In addition to appearing at the film’s UK premiere at ICA, Matsunaga also travelled to Watershed in Bristol, Showroom Cinema in Sheffield and Quad in Derby.
Another of the 9 UK premieres shown as part of the season was Shuichi Okita’s latest film The Mohican Comes Home. Two of Okita’s films have been released in the UK (Woodsman and the Rain and The Story of Yonosuke) and his fans turned out in numbers for the screening at the ICA!
Okita also attended screenings of The Mohican Comes Home at the Queen’s Film Theatre in Belfast and Exeter Phoenix.
And then in March, we were joined by Naotaro Endo, director of the season’s featured documentary, Tsukiji Wonderland. Following the film’s sell-out screening at ICA, London in February, Endo joined us for an exclusive ‘Filmmaker Talk’ at the Soho Hotel in London, before embarking on a tour around the UK, attending screenings in Broadway in Nottingham, Filmhouse in Edinburgh and Exeter Phoenix.
Among the titles, Naoko Yamada's anime A Silent Voice proved a huge hit, selling out screens up and down the country. The film's London premiere at ICA as part of the programme was the fatest selling film in the programme. On the day of the screening the queue was stretching out of the door - see below!
The programme was also well received and was ranked among TimeOut magazine's top 10 film events in February. Here's a few snippets of some reviews:
"We’re big fans of the way that the Japan Foundation takes a bundle of recent and classic Japanese films around the UK every year. (This year’s selection is) another fine collection." Spank the Monkey (Mostly Film)
"The Japan Foundation Touring Programme is one of those all too rare events in the world of Japanese cinema that just might demonstrate that all is not lost by promoting a renewed image of Japan, thanks to its original and varied programme." Gabriel Bernard (ZOOM Japan)
The Japan Foundation tours have always triumphed by not limiting their footprint to a single city. Since the season began in 2004, the selection has grown from a small handful of 5 titles to a staggering 14. (…A) fantastic opportunity to catch more Japanese films on the big screen in a single weekend that you’re likely to see across the whole of the rest of the year. Use it or lose it! Jasper Sharp (All the Anime)
And here are some lovely comments from our audiences!
All events, every year, something new comes to us. It's really great!
Thank you for your efforts. Great work! Thank you so much for showing so many wonderful films.
I'd love to see more Japanese films in cinemas! There isn't enough and it is very popular!
Thank you to everyone who attended the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme this February and March! We look forward to seeing you again at the 15th edition in 2018!