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Nippon Connection 2011 – Festival Program completed

11th Japanese Film Festival in Frankfurt
April 27 – May 1, 2011

The program for the eleventh Japanese Film Festival Nippon Connection in Frankfurt is complete. In the 150th year of “German-Japanese Friendship“, the biggest festival for Japanese film worldwide will present an overview of film making in the Land of the Rising Sun, from April 27 to May 1, 2011, featuring many international premieres. More than 100 of the latest film productions from Japan will be shown in the NIPPON CINEMA and NIPPON VISIONS sections, and a number of them will be introduced by the filmmaker personally. In a retrospective dedicated to the critically acclaimed and visionary director Sion SONO (LOVE EXPOSURE), Nippon Connection will display some rarely seen gems from his oeuvre. This year’s festival will be opened by Hitoshi YASAKI’s love drama SWEET LITTLE LIES, a film taking a glimpse behind the facade of a seemingly perfect relationship.

The NIPPON CINEMA section is filled with many exciting new discoveries this year. One highlight of the festival will definitely be found in MILOCRORZE – A LOVE STORY, the feature film debut of video artist Yoshimasa ISHIBASHI, who will be present at Nippon Connection to introduce his latest work personally. Being a mix of various genres, and abounding with visual originality, this film ably blends elements of musical, fairytale, vintage commercials and samurai drama into a unique cinematic experience. DUMBEAST by German-born artist Mr. Hide, another feature film debut, will also be shown as a European premiere in the presence of the director. Mr. Hide has staged an idiosyncratic combination of pop comedy, criminal story and youth drama, with the film also containing animation sequences produced by Studio 4°C.

In addition to the Sion SONO retrospective, Nippon Connection will also present SONO’s latest work: COLD FISH has sparked an intense debate at the last Venice Film Festival, being an acerbic, thriller-like family portrait. In comparison, PERMANENT NOBARA by Daihachi YOSHIDA (FUNUKE SHOW SOME LOVE, YOU LOSERS!) is more subtle and unfolds a vicissitudinous love story only at second sight. Expectations are high for the international premiere of Shinsuke SATO’s manga adaptation GANTZ, the film proving to be a blockbuster at home. SATO has won last year’s Nippon Cinema Award with OBLIVION ISLAND: HARUKA & THE MAGIC MIRROR. Anime fans will also look forward to the German premiere of ARRIETTY, a Ghibli production directed by Hiromasa YONEBAYASHI (key animator of PONYO and SPIRITED AWAY), the script coming from no other than Hayao MIYAZAKI. Keiichi HARA and his poetic masterpiece COLORFUL give further proof of the diversity of Japanese animation films.
In the new program section of NIPPON VISIONS (formerly known as Nippon Digital), which focuses on promising new directors and artists, new cooperation and guest programs provide an opportunity for an even more comprehensive insight into the field of Japanese cinema. Among others, award winning films from the Osaka CO2 Festival and selected entries from the Asian Hot Shots Festival (Berlin) and the multi-media festival onedotzero (London), can be seen here. Three independent film magazines from Japan (NOBODY, HOGA HOLIC, EIGA IKKI) will present programs containing some of the more unusual films from beyond the area of mainstream productions.

Fresh from Berlinale and donning a FIPRESCI Award comes HEAVEN’S STORY, Takahisa ZEZE’s 278-minute impressive epic on guilt and atonement. Another visual delicacy will be Keita KUROSAKA’s anime MIDORI-KO, a surrealist masterpiece that has been drawn and animated by the director as a one-man project.

A special program section will be dedicated to Yokohama – soon to be a partner city of Frankfurt –, with five graduation film projects from Yokohama-based film academy TOKYO UNIVERSITY OF THE ARTS, a prestigious school under the direction of veteran Kiyoshi KUROSAWA.

Exciting documentaries will let you take a look at the Japanese film and artist scene. COMING FUTURE by Kyuya NAKAGAWA highlights the Japanese independent film scene, in LIVE FROM TOKYO director Lewis Rapkin portrays underground musicians, and Linda Hoaglund analyzes Japan’s post-world-war-two art and politics in her film ANPO. In his mockumentary SHIROME, Koji SHIRAISHI uses seemingly realistic images to create a hilarious horror farce about J-Pop band Momoiro Clover.

Nippon Connection Festival has two awards waiting for a winner. Among all the premiere films of the Nippon Cinema program, the NIPPON CINEMA AWARD will be given to a film chosen by the audience. This award with a value of 2,000 Euros is sponsored for the seventh time already by Bankhaus Metzler. In cooperation with JVTA (Japanese Visualmedia Translation Academy), the NIPPON VISIONS AWARD (formerly known as Nippon Digital Award) will be given to the best feature film of the NIPPON VISIONS section as a support for young filmmakers. The winner here will be chosen by an international expert jury (among others, Tom Mes of midnighteye.com and Maggie Lee of Hollywood Reporter), and will receive a subtitling for their next film.

This year’s NIPPON RETRO section presents films of Sion SONO, a director gaining not the least part of his international fame with LOVE EXPOSURE (2008). Some of his most expressive films will be shown with subtitles for the first time. As an international premiere, Nippon Connection will show the documentary/feature film UTSU-SHIMI (1999) which has been produced by SONO for the Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art. Other films include his feature film debut BICYCLE SIGHS (1990), his first international festival success HEYA - THE ROOM (1992), his experimental pink film DANKON: THE MAN (1998) as well as STRANGE CIRCUS (2005), NORIKO`s DINNER TABLE (2006) and EXTE: HAIR EXTENSIONS (2007).

The cultural program section of NIPPON CULTURE will see a series of animating performances by the boys of the cheerleading troupe “Gamushara-Oendan” from Tokyo. There will also be an exhibition on Japanese wrapping design, curated by Japan-based artist Bianca Beuttel. Artists Yuko TAKATSUDO and Fumio OHASHI will present their latest works in the Kunstraum Westend gallery.

Kids will enjoy the new section of NIPPON KIDS, where Japanese culture can be experienced playfully. Thanks to the cooperation with the International Japanese School Frankfurt, children between 6 and 12 years can try some ink painting or origami. And of course, their parents will have all the more leisure to explore the rest of the festival! But kids will also be attracted to the cinema when Nippon Connection presents two animation films, CHEBURASHKA und THE BEAR’S SCHOOL, in a children’s matinee.

In the middle of all the festival excitement, a yoga workshop with Yukari MATSUYAMA, a kendo session with the General Consul of Japan, shiatsu workshops as well as a special baby massage workshop will provide for the right balance between body and soul. At the festival center, the audience will enjoy traditional Japanese dance and singing performances, ikebana and origami. And of course Nippon Connection will not abandon its popular classics: give yourself a treat at the Japanese cooking workshop, in the tea and sake lounge or at the film breakfast. An entertaining evening will be guaranteed at “Nippon Home Cinema – Late Lounge Reloaded”, when host Roberto Cappelluti and Japanese film expert Jörg Buttgereit will pay homage to a selected highlight of Japanese trash cinema.

Apart from many lectures and talks with filmmakers on such topics as Japanese avant-garde cinema of the sixties and seventies, the Department of Japanese Studies at Goethe University Frankfurt will hold a conference on the specific social experiences of the younger generation (“Grown Up, All Alone: Visions of Life among the Young Generation in Contemporary Literary Texts”). In another cooperation with JVTA (Japanese Visualmedia Translation Academy), Taro GOTO, one of the most renowned English-Japanese translators, will give an interactive lecture on the subtitling and dubbing of films.

Naturally, Nippon Connection will also party. The opening lounge on Wednesday, April 27, features DJ Adam Torel from London (Third Windows Films), with visuals by VJ-artists of eyetrap.net. Friday night, April 29, will see a unique live performance staged by Japanese-German pop band OSCA from, and on Saturday, April 30, Nippon Connection legends DJ Hito and ODD will rock the dancefloor.

Nippon Connection is under the patronage of Eva Kühne-Hörmann, Hessian Minister for Science and the Arts, Prof. Dr. Dr. Matthias Lutz-Bachmann, Vice President of Goethe University Frankfurt, and the General Consulate of Japan in Frankfurt. Even with its growing popularity, the internationally renowned festival is still organized on a voluntary basis by the non-profit Nippon Connection registered association. In order to maintain this vivid cultural exchange, the festival offers special sustaining memberships.


Locations
Students’ House on Bockenheim Campus (Festival Center), Jügelstrasse 1, Frankfurt
Orfeo’s Erben Cinema, Hamburger Allee 45, Frankfurt
Mal Seh’n Cinema, Adlerflychtstrasse 6H
AusstellungsHalle 1A, Schulstrasse 1a, Frankfurt
Kunstraum Westend, Beethovenstrasse 35, Frankfurt

Advance Ticket Sale Starting April 11, 2011
www.nipponconnection.com
Landkarten Schwarz, Am Kornmarkt 12, Frankfurt
Campus-Shop, Grüneburgplatz 1 (Auditorium Center, Westend Campus), Frankfurt

Press Contact
Dennis Vetter, Mobil: +49 (0)176 6163 0693
presse@nipponconnection.com, www.nipponconnection.com

Stills and Info
www.nipponconnection.com/presseserver/
Username: nipponpresse, Password: nipponpresselogin

Excerpt Overview of the Film Program (as of March 20, 2011)
The ABC's of Marriage (Kekkongaku nyumon shinkonhen), D: Hisashi SATO, J 2010
Abraxas (Aburakusasu no matsuri), D: Naoki KATO, J 2010
ANPO: Art X War, D: Linda Hoaglund, J 2010
Arrietty (Karigurashi no Arrietty), D: Hiromasa YONEBAYASHI, J 2010
Beautiful Method (Utsukushii sube), D: Takamasa OOE, J 2009
Cage, D: Shinsuke KURIMOTO, J 2010
Cold Fish (Tsumetai nettaigyo), D: Sion SONO, J 2010
Colorful, D: Keiichi HARA, J 2010
Coming Future (Sinka), D: Kyuya NAKAGAWA, J 2010
Devil Has Come (Akuma ga kita), D: Shun SAKAIDA, J 2010
Doman Seman (Horikawa nakatachiuri), D: Go SHIBATA, J 2010
Door to the Sea (Umi he no tobira), D: Reiko OHASHI, J 2010
Drifting Clouds (Ukigumo), D: Daisuke HASEBE, J 2010
The Duckling (Ahiru no ko), D: Sayaka ONO, J 2010
DumBeast, D: Mr. Hide, J 2009
Gantz, D: Shinsuke SATO, J 2011
Good for Nothing (Yakutatazu), D: Sho MIYAKE, J 2009
Heavens Story, D: Takahisa ZEZE, J 2010
Helldriver, D: Yoshihiro NISHIMURA, J 2010
Here comes the Bride, My Mom (Okan no yomeiri), D: Mipo O, J 2010
Hero Show, D: Kazuyuki IZUTSU, J 2010
Hiroshima Nagasaki download, D: Shinpei Takeda, J 2009
Karate-Robo Zaborgar, D: Noboru IGUCHI, J 2011
Kyojima 3rd St., Sumida City (Sumidaku kyojima 3chome), D: Kota YOSHIDA, J 2010
Let's-Make-the-Teacher-Have-a-Miscarriage Club (Sensei wo ryuzan saseru kai), D: Eisuke NAITO, J 2011
Live from Tokyo, D: Lewis Rapkin, J 2010
Love Addiction (Fuyu no kemono), D: Nobuteru UCHIDA, J 2010
Midori-ko, D: Keita KUROSAKA, J 2010
MILOCRORZE - A Love Story, D: Yoshimasa ISHIBASHI, J 2011
Mole’s Festival (Mogura no matsuri), D: Kishu IZUCHI, J 2010
Muddy Planet (Doro no wakusei), D: Kishu IZUCHI, J 2010
Never Let Me Go (Hanasanaide), D: Sayaka FUKUI, J 2010
A Night in Nude – Salvation (Nudo no yoru: Ai wa oshiminaku ubau), D: Takashi ISHII, J 2010
Permanent Nobara, D: Daihachi YOSHIDA, J 2010
Rinco`s Restaurant (Shokudo Katatsumuri), D: Mai TOMINAGA, J 2009
The Rise and Fall of the Unparalleled Band (Aosugita guilty), D: Wataru HIRANAMI, J 2010
Sankaku, D: Keisuke YOSHIDA, J 2010
Sheep in the Night (Mayonaka no hitsuji), D: Paul Young, J 2010
Shirome, D: Koji SHIRAISHI, J 2010
Sketches of Kaitan City (Kaitan-shi jokei), D: Kazuyoshi KUMAKIRI, J 2010
Sweet Little Lies, D: Hitoshi YAZAKI, J 2009
The Tatami Galaxy, D: Masaaki YUASA, J 2010
Teto, D: Hiroshi GOKAN, J 2010
TUESDAY GIRL, D: Rikiya IMAIZUMI, J 2011
Wandering Home (Yoi ga sametara uchi ni kaero), D: Yoichi HIGASHI, J 2010
Wig (Kazura), D: Renpei TSUKAMOTO, J 2010
Yoko, D: Kayo NARUTOMI, J 2010

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