ACA Cinema Project Presents New Films From Japan at NYC’s IFC Center in February

ACA Cinema Project Presents New Films From Japan at NYC’s IFC Center in February
NEW FILMS FROM JAPANAdds 5th film and filmmaker appearance (February 10-16) Kei Ishikawa’s A MAN is added to the lineup YAMABUKI’s Juichiro Yamasaki will attendduring the Opening weekend for Q&As            A MAN poster ACA Film Project and IFC Film Center bring 5 festival favoritesfrom around the world to New York City for one week in February    A MAN Juichiro YamasakiA MAN, Juichiro Yamasaki

What:New Films from Japan series is the latest presentation of the ACA Cinema Project, representing the buzzworthy films of contemporary Japanese screen entertainment and highlighting the work of award-winning and celebrated filmmakers from Japan to film fans, industry insiders, dealmakers, and press in the United States. With these film series, ACA works to promote Japanese cinema internationally.  Screening at the IFC Center (323 Sixth Ave – at West 3rd St,) on February 10-16, the lineup will include Kei Ishikawa’sA Manand the previously announced lineup of Shô Miyake’s Small, Slow but Steady, Nao Kubota’s Thousand and One Nights, Yuji Nakae’s The Zen Diary, and Juichiro Yamasaki’s Yamabuki. Yamasaki has just been confirmed to make the trip to New York to participate in Q&As following the screenings of his film on Friday 2/10, and Saturday 2/11.  *ACA: Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan  Screening information:IFC Center                             323 Sixth Ave – at West 3rd St.New York, NY  Screening Q&A schedule with Juichiro Yamasaki includes:Friday 2/10 at 7:30PM Saturday 2/11 at 3:00PM *Schedule is subject to change. Please see the IFC Film Center website.  To Purchase Tickets:Adults: $17Seniors and children: $14IFC members: $12Students: $13 (must show valid student ID at the box office)ACA cinema project postcard coupon gives you a $4 discount as well. For more information or to purchase tickets, go to:

NEW FILMS FROM JAPAN Film Descriptions and Filmmaker BiosAll films are in Japanese with English subtitles unless otherwise noted. Films are listed alphabetically.

A Man                                                                                      EAST COAST PREMIEREDirector: Kei IshikawaCountry: Japan; Running Time: 121 minutesAdapted from the Keiichiro Hirano novel, A Man comments on the collective existential crisis of Japan’s “lost generation” via the journey of a troubled lawyer plunged into a web of mystery when he is asked to follow the trail of a deceased man who lived under a false identity. As he gets closer to the shocking truth, he increasingly finds himself haunted by his own unsteady place in the world. Festivals/awards: Orizzonti Competition at the 79th Venice Film Festival, Naguib Mahfouz Award for Best Screenplay 44th Cairo International Film FestivalAbout the director:After studying physics at Tohoku University and film directing at the {polish National Academy for Film, Television, and Theater, Kei Ishikawa’s short film Dear World (2008) received a Special Prize in the prestigious Akira Kurosawa Foundation competition. His feature film, It’s All in the Fingers (2010) premiered at New Directors/New Films in NYC. His feature-length debut work,  Gukoroku – Traces of Sin (2017) was selected for the Orizzonti Competition at the 73th Venice Film Festival. His most recent film was Listen to the Universe (2019)

 Small, Slow but SteadyDirector: Shô Miyake  Country: Japan; Running Time: 99 minutes A hearing-impaired woman with dreams of becoming a professional boxer discovers her fight isn’t just in the ring with the next opponent, but also includes the struggle simply to focus and train properly due to the threatened closure of her boxing club compounded by the illness of its aging president, who has been her biggest supporter. Despite a lack of support and understanding from her family and her own struggles with feelings of self-worth, she must push herself to the limit if she is to succeed. The film stars Yukino Kishii and Tomokazu Miura.Festivals/awards: the 72nd Berlin International Film Festival, the 27th Busan International Film Festival, the 66th London Film Festival, the 56th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival About the director:Shô Miyake directed his first theatrical feature film Playback in 2012, which was screened in the Competition at Locarno International Film Festival. His feature film And Your Bird Can Sing (2018) was officially selected to the Forum section at Berlin International Film Festival. Other directorial works include a music documentary The Cockpit (2014) which was selected for the New Directors section of Cinema du Réel, a costume TV drama “The Courier” (2017) and a streaming TV drama series “Ju-on origins” (2020).

 Thousand and One Nights                                                       US PREMIEREDirector: Nao Kubota Country: Japan; Running Time: 126 minutesA gently paced character-study of two women brought together by their shared experience of husbands who have gone missing, Thousand and One Nights is set in a beautiful port town on a remote northern island. Thirty years have passed since Tomiko’s husband suddenly disappeared. She still doesn’t know why he disappeared or if he is still alive. She fends off the overtures from Haruo, a local fisherman, as she keeps waiting for his return, holding on to the small memories of her beloved. Then she meets Nami, a younger woman, whose husband also disappeared, two years ago. The women connect over their shared loss, as Nami searches for the reason why her husband “disappeared” in order to come to terms with her situation and move on. Then, Tomiko happens to see Yoji, Nami’s missing husband, on the street…The film stars Yuko Tanaka and Machiko Ono.Festivals/awards:the FIPRESCI Award at the 27th Busan International Film Festival About the director:A prolific television documentary filmmaker, Nao Kubata made their feature film directorial debut with Homeland (2014). The film premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and was nominated for a SIGNIS Award at the Hong Kong International Film Festival and the Asian New Talent Award at the Shanghai International Film Festival. 

Yamabuki                                                                                US PREMIEREDirector: Juichiro YamasakiCountry: Japan/France; Running Time: 97 minutesLanguages: Japanese, Korean, VietnameseA story of finding a place to root yourself when life’s obstacles have disheartened you. Multiple characters have stories that intersect including a former equestrian athlete forced to give up on his dream works at a quarry site to work off crushing debt while trying to find happiness with a woman and her infant daughter who are estranged from the girl’s father. Meanwhile, Yambuki, a high school girl stages silent protests at a major intersection that begin to grow into community action to the dismay of her father, a widowed policeman. Everyone’s frustration and loneliness that have been lying just under the surface, increasing reveal themselves and are given a voice, which in turn begins to connect people in unexpected ways. The film stars Kang Yoon-soo and Kilala Inori. Festivals/awards: the ACID section of the Cannes International Film Festival About the director:Juichiro Yamasaki organized a student film festival during his studies at university, made a couple of short films and worked as an assistant director. The Sound of Light (2011), about life as a farmer in current times, was his feature debut and won the Nippon Visions Award at the Nippon Connection Japanese Film Festival. His follow up, Atarashki tami (2015) portrayed an uprising of people of Sanchu in 1726.

  The Zen Diary                                                              EAST COAST PREMIEREDirector: Yuji Nakae Country: Japan; Running Time: 111 minutesAdapted from Tsutomu Mizukami’s book, The Zen Diary follows Tsutomu, a man who lives alone in the mountains, writing essays, cooking food with vegetables he grows and mushrooms he picks in the hills. His routine is happily disturbed when Machiko, his editor/love interest, occasionally visits to pester him for his next manuscript. She loves to eat, and he loves to cook for her. Tsutomu seems content with his daily life. However, a close brush with death will now force him to decide on what he values most in life and what he must choose going forward. The film stars Kenji Sawada and Takako Matsu.Festivals/awards: the Culinary Cinema section of the San Sebastian International Film Festival and the Hawaii International Film Festival About the director:Yuji Nakae specializes in films set in Okinawa, featuring Okinawan music, language, themes, and atmosphere. He shared the Directors Guild of Japan New Directors Award for his debut film, Pineapple Tours, which was an omnibus film co-directed with Tsutomu Makiya and Hayashi Tōma. His film, Hotel Hibiscus (2002) won a Special Jury Prize at the Tokyo International Film Festival, as well as receiving a Special Mention at the Hong Kong International Film Festival.

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