With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

J-POP SUMMIT 2016 announces variety of festival contests

J-POP SUMMIT 2016 ANNOUNCES A FUN VARIETY OF JAPANESE
POP CULTURE INSPIRED SONG AND DANCE CONTESTS

The San Francisco Bay Area’s Premiere Japanese Pop Culture Event
Announces The Return Of J-POP IDOL Karaoke Contest,
Odottemita Dance Contest And Popular Cosplay Masquerade;
First-Ever “J-POP Queen” Drag Contest Also Announced

J-POP SUMMIT 2016, one of the world’s biggest Japanese pop culture events, has detailed a fun and colorful variety of festival contests, open to attendees and set to be hosted and judged by notable festival Guests of Honor.

J-POP SUMMIT 2016 takes place Saturday and Sunday, July 23rd and 24th at the historic Fort Mason Center located in San Francisco’s Marina district. This year, J-POP SUMMIT attendees will be able to experience a vibrant 2-Day celebration of Japanese pop-influenced culture including edgy fashion events, pop art exhibits, live music, interactive showcase and session, accented by ramen vendors, sake-tasting, and additional attractions also highlighted by celebrity Guests of Honor. Full details on 2016 J-POP SUMMIT are available at: www.J-POP.com.

Complementing this year’s dynamic live music program that features some of Japan’s hottest pop, rock and dance artists, J-POP SUMMIT 2016 will deliver a brand new edition of J-POP IDOL, karaoke contest with the support from The Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco. The participants are invited to pay tribute to their favorite Japanese pop stars. This year’s J-POP IDOL will be judged by featured Guest of Honor, pop stars, Silent Siren. The video submission period is from June 3rd to June 15th, and the winner will receive a special gift from Silent Siren, in person. Entry guidelines are available at: www.j-pop.com/j-pop-idol-contest-2016/.


J-POP SUMMIT 2016 is also proud to announce the launch of the festival’s first ever “J-POP Queen” Drag Contest that will feature special celebrity judge and Japanese drag royalty, Mitz Mangrove, and will be hosted by San Francisco’s most sought after gay icon D’Arcy Drollinger. Contestants are invited to empower their inner J-POP Queen and don their most extravagant costumes to compete with lip sync performances based on pop-inspired themes such as kimono, school-girl, cosplay, and Harajuku-looks. The submission period for performance videos runs from June 20th to June 30th. Full contest details and complete entry guidelines are available now at: www.j-pop.com/drag-contest.

Guest of Honor Mitz Mangrove is a celebrated Japanese TV personality and has used her gender fluidity, eloquent speech and powerful personality to help bring gay culture into the mainstream in Japan, smash stereotypes and redefine how it is perceived. Mitz Mangrive made her professional debut as a singer in 2011 through the Nippon Columbia label with the single, “Wakaitte Subarashii.” She is currently also an active member of the choral trio, Hoshikuzu Scat. Mitz Mangrove is also a star and host a variety of TV and radio shows, and has become a familiar face of everyday Japanese entertainment. For additional artist information, please visit: www.j-pop.com/guests/mitz-mangrove.


J-POP SUMMIT 2016 also celebrates the return of the Odottemita Dance Contest, an online dance phenomenon-inspired competition that has been part of the J-POP SUMMIT main stage program since 2011. This year, the competition will take the form of contestant created video submissions, with the pre-selected winners to the stage and perform as part of their prize. The contest will be judged by festival Guest of Honor and featured performers, GARNiDELiA. Join the competition now by submitting a dance video. The winner will receive an exclusive gift from GARNiDELiA in person. Entry guidelines are available at: www.j-pop.com/odottemita-dance-contest-2016/.

Finally, attendees are invited to join in, or simply witness the creativity and colorful spectacle of the JPOP SUMMIT 2016 Cosplay Masquerade, hosted by leading online cosplay community, Coskami. Winners will receive special prizes from JPOP SUMMIT 2016 co-host Coskami. Pre-registration is ongoing at: www.j-pop.com/cosplay-contest-2016/.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Sion Sono's LOVE EXPOSURE at Japan Society on Friday, June 3rd

Japan Society Film Program's
Monthly Classics Series
Presents
 
Love Exposure / Ai no Mukidashi
Directed by Sion Sono
With Takahiro Nishijima, Hikari Mitsushima, Sakura Ando,
Atsuro Watabe, and Makiko Watanabe
Japan, 2008, 237 minutes
Blu-ray, color, in Japanese with English subtitles

When: Friday, June 3rd, 2016 at 7:00 pm
Where: Japan Society
333 East 47th Street, NYC
Map

In anticipation of the upcoming 10th edition of JAPAN CUTS: Festival of New Japanese Film (July 14-24, 2016) Japan Society NY will be screening Sion Sono’s notorious masterpiece about love, family, religion and upskirt photography.

After feeling rejected by his Catholic priest father for not having any sins to confess, high schooler Yu dives headfirst into sinning by becoming a master “peek-a-panty” photographer. Along the way, he gets entangled in an absurd love triangle involving his step-sister and his female alter ego, all the while being stalked by a parakeet-handling cult leader intent on taking everyone he loves away from him.

A fan-favorite at JAPAN CUTS in 2009 and one of the most memorable films released in the last ten years, Love Exposure is destined to be regarded as a classic of Japanese cinema.

I did not see the film at JAPAN CUTS in 2009, but did  get ti watch some time ago. I give it a 3.5 out of 4 star rating; very highly recommended. See it this Friday if you haven't seen it before, see it again if you have.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

NAOMI KAWASE Retrospective coming to MoMA NY

Japanese film director Naomi Kawase
Naomi Kawase Retrospective
When: June 25–July 14, 2016
Where: : Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
11 West 53rd Street, NYC

Naomi Kawase is among the most renowned contemporary Japanese filmmakers. She began making films in 1988, when she was 19 years old, and has been garnering awards for the intimate and timeless tenor of her work ever since. Her earliest films, shot in an experimental style on Super 8mm and 16mm film, had an autobiographical bent, focusing on her family life and abandonment by her birth father (Embracing, 1992), or the loving but charged interactions with the foster mother who raised her (Katatsumori, 1994). While she continued to explore nonfiction, Kawase began developing fiction films, and in 1997 she released her debut dramatic feature, Suzaku. Focusing on the trials of a family living in a rural area of Japan in economic decline, the film won the Cannes Film Festival’s Camera d’Or—making Kawase the award’s youngest recipient to date. Ten years later The Mourning Forest, her feature about the intertwined fates of a young woman and an older man, won the Cannes Grand Prix.

Kawase’s films are often based in her native Nara Prefecture, the woodsy, rural area of one of the ancient capitals of Japan. Nature, the elements, and the seasons are important signposts in all of her films, signifying both permanence and the cycles of life. Japanese culture, traditional ritual, and music are also significant elements in her films, and she often works with a combination of professional and non-professional actors.

Kawase studied television and film at Visual Arts Osaka, graduating in 1989. She founded Kumie Inc. Production Company in 1996, and the Nara International Film Festival in 2010. Kawase received the Chevalier des Arts et des Letters of France in 2015.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Ticket on-sale dates for JAPAN CUTS

JAPAN CUTS: Festival of New Japanese Film
When: July 14-24, 2016 
Where: Japan Society NY
333 East 47th Street, NYC
Map 

Save the dates! JAPAN CUTS, North America’s largest festival of new Japanese film returns for its 10th anniversary edition, offering eleven days of impossible-to-see-anywhere-else screenings of the best new movies made in and around Japan with special guest filmmakers and stars, post-screening Q&As, parties, giveaways and much more. Featuring an expansive and eclectic slate of cinematic offerings that includes crowd-pleasing blockbusters, peerless independents, arthouse gems, influential classics, radical documentaries and avant-garde animations, JAPAN CUTS 2016 promises thrilling new discoveries for film fans of all stripes.

TICKET ON-SALE DATES:
Monday, June 6: Japan Society Members Exclusive (Join Japan Society)
Monday, June 13: General Public.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Retrospective of cinematographer MARK LEE PING-BING coming to MoMA NY in June

The Rooftop
Luminosity: The Art of Cinematographer Mark Lee Ping-Bing
When: June 16–30, 2016
Where: : Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
11 West 53rd Street, NYC

In a career that spans over three decades, Mark Lee Ping-Bing (Taiwanese, b. 1954) has distinguished himself as one of the world’s foremost cinematographers and moving image creators. His exquisite presentation of light, shadow, and color; graceful camera movement; and arresting compositions bring cinematography’s central role in the creation of motion pictures to the forefront. Lee is a master of filming in natural- and low-light conditions, revealing dense, lustrous layers of light and darkness that provide incredible depth and space. Each frame allows viewers to immerse themselves in rich visual landscapes, whether naturalistic or highly stylized. Lee’s seductive, observant long takes do more than punctuate the passage of time; they mark subtle emotional transformations and inject distinctive rhythmic shifts. He has shot primarily on film throughout his career, and he remains among a small number of cinematographers who continue to use this medium today.

An essential partner to the directors he works with, Lee is best known for his longtime collaboration with director Hou Hsiao-Hsien. In the 10 award-winning features they’ve made together, the duo has defined a vision for Taiwan New Cinema realism—and beyond. Lee has also collaborated with such celebrated filmmakers as Wong Kar Wai, Tran Anh Hung, Tian Zhuangzhuang, and Ann Hui, and his work has won him numerous international honors, most recently a Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution at the 2016 Berlinale, for Crosscurrent. For this first American retrospective of Lee’s work, MoMA presents a diverse group of films from Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Vietnam, Japan, and France.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

VIZ Media is set to produce GAKKIMALS animated series

VIZ MEDIA TO DEVELOP ORIGINAL
ANIMATED KIDS SERIES
GAKKIMALS

Japanese Children’s Property Combines Animals And Music
Licensed For Development Into An Original Animated Series

VIZ Media has acquired the production and licensing rights to develop an original animated series based on the Japanese children’s property, GAKKIMALS.

The series will be produced under license from ShoPro, a subsidiary of three of Japan's largest publishing houses, Shogakukan Inc., Shueisha Inc. and Hakusensha Inc., that focuses on licensing and merchandising the properties owned by Shogakukan Inc. GAKKIMALS is based on an original concept created by Japanese production duo, PecanNuts.


Welcome to the wonderful adventures of the GAKKIMALS, where madcap mash-ups of musical instruments and animals combine to bring happiness and harmony to their fun-filled world.

“The acquisition of GAKKIMALS represents an important step in our initiative to develop new and engaging global content in partnership with our creative partners in Japan,” says Brad Woods, CMO, VIZ Media. “GAKKIMALS is a truly unique children’s property that combines the evergreen appeal of music and animals into a vibrant environment that inspires early childhood learning with a fun cast of endearing characters. We look forward to working closely with our partners at ShoPro to develop this exciting new show.”

For more information on GAKKIMALS and other titles available from VIZ Media, visit www.VIZ.com.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Sentai Filmworks has acquired “Hanaukyou Maid Team: La Verite”


Sentai Filmworks has announced its acquisition of Hanaukyou Maid Team: La Verite.

A reimagining of 2001’s Hanakyou Maid Team, this anime delights in the way every moe title should. After losing his mother, 15-year-old Taro Hanaukyou moves to live with his grandfather in Tokyo. Despite their blood relation, Taro never knew that his grandfather was extremely wealthy, owning a mansion and maintaining a large fortune. When his grandfather leaves Taro both his riches and the manor, Taro also inherits the services of the home’s network of dedicated maids.

The series was directed by Takuya Nonaka (Fate/Zero, Ah! My Goddess). Jukki Hanada, Takashi Aoshima, and Hideaki Koyasu shared scriptwriting duties, with Jukki (Beyond the Boundary, K-On!, Steins;Gate) also handling series composition. Sound direction was overseen by Hiromi Kikuta, with art direction by Takashi Aoi. Animation production was handled by Daume (Strawberry Marshmallow, DearS, Indian Summer, Shiki).

Hanaukyou Maid Team: La Verite will soon be available through select digital outlets, with a home video release to follow.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Award winning doc MY FATHER'S VIETNAM is available today on VOD and other digital platforms

Gravitas Ventures
Presents
My Father's Vietnam
Written and Directed by Soren Sorensen
USA, 2015, 79 minutes

My Father's Vietnam, an award winning documentary by first-time filmmaker Soren Sorensen, is being released today, May 24th, on VOD and across all other digital platforms by Gravitas Ventures.

The film had its genesis in a visit the Sorensen family made to Washington, D.C. when Soren was a child. Peter, his father, made pencil rubbings of two of the names on Maya Lin's Vietnam Veterans Memorial and was clearly emotionally distraught. It was not until Soren was in his thirties, however, that he was able to ask his father about his experiences while serving in Vietnam.

In the fall of 1969, shortly after marrying, Peter began his tour as a combat engineer. He was fortunate to be reassigned to the U.S. Army's 31st Public Information Office in the spring of 1970. The names he made rubbings of were of two men Peter knew well and who did not make it home: Loring M. ("Ring") Bailey, a foot soldier, and Glenn Ricker, a helicopter pilot.

The film features interviews with Soren's father, mother and sister, with Ring Bailey's father and brother-in-law, and with men who had served with Bailey and Ricker. The "talking head" shots are complimented by some never-before-seen photographs and 8mm footage of the Vietnam War, the later largely made by Ricker from his chopper.


My Father's Vietnam is a touching film that looks at the cost of the Vietnam war at an intimate and personal level. Born in 1948, I was an early "baby boomer." I was in high school and college as the war expanded and went totally out of control. Thus, along with the Civil Rights Movement and the Counter Culture, the Vietnam War was one of the defining aspects of my youth. I found Soren's approach fascinating and engrossing, since he never experienced the daily body counts on the evening news programs, nor the way the war seemed to be rendering the United States asunder.

For me the film is probably one of the three best about the Vietnam War. Hearts and Minds (1974), the winner of Oscar for Best Documentary Film, looked at it from a macro-cosmic point of view. Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now (1979) used the plot of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness to vividly bring to the fore the war's madness and incomprehensibility.

My Father's Vietnam, which won the Soldiers and Sacrifice Grand Prize at the 2015 Rhode Island International Film Festival (RIIFF) and the Best Picture Documentary at the 2016 Flagler Film Festival, tackles the war on a micro-cosmic level, bringing home the impact of the war on the lives of one soldier who survived it and of those who knew and loved two servicemen who didn't.

AsianCineFest Rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars; very highly recommended.

Official Website of MY FATHER'S VIETNAM

Monday, May 23, 2016

RISE OF THE LEGEND reviewed; available today on Blu-ray & DVD

Well Go USA
Presents
 
Rise of the Legend / Huang feihong zhi yingxiong you meng
Directed by Chow Hin Yeung
Hong Kong/China, 2014, 132 minutes

Rise of the Legend is the latest entry in the huge filmography of movies about the martial artist folk hero Wong Fei Hong. The film will debut on Blu-ray™ and DVD tomorrow, Tuesday, May 24th from Well Go USA Entertainment.

Over a roughly thirty year period, Hong Kong actor Kwan Tak-hing starred as Wong in over 70 films. Jet Li portrayed him in several films in the mid- and late-1990s. In this new origins story, Eddie Peng (Unbeatable) has the honor of playing Wong, and he acquits himself quite well.

Eddoe Peng as Wong Fei Hong

Hong Kong action legend Sammo Hung stars as Wong's nemesis Master Lei, the leader of the Black Tiger Gang who seeks to defeat the rival North Sea Gang for control of the Hunagpu Doc in Guangzhou in the late 1860s. While the foreign tade at the pier is lucrative, of equal or greaater importnace are the Black Tiger Gang's opium dens, gambling houses and brothels, each controlled by one of Lei's three adopted sons.

Wong, a supremely righteous martial artist, infiltrates the gang to bring back to his native town. Aiding him are friends from his childhood: Fiery (actor Jing Boran, The Guillotines) and Chun (actress Wang Luodan, The Continent). Angelababy (Tai Chi Zero) plays Orchid, a courtesan who also provides assistance.

Sammo Hung as Master Lei

Rounding out the cast are Tony Leung Ka-Fai (Tai Chi Hero) as Wong's father, a doctor, who seen in some flashback scenes, and Jin Zhang (Kill Zone 2) as Wu Long, the son of the boss of the North Sea Gang.

There are numerous, fine action scenes. In separate scenes both Peng as Wong and Jing as Fiery each have one-against-many battles. The opening fight is one of these, as Peng fights many opponents in a narrow street. (This scene takes place in the rain and reminded me of the opening fight in Wong Kar Wai's The Grandmaster, although that one took place at night and this one occurs in daylight.)

Angelababy as Orchid

Corey Yuen served as the film's action director and the only thing that I was a bit unhappy about was his rather excessive use of wire-work. This especially was the case with Sammo Hung's fight scenes. Now I love Sammo, but his girth has only increased in recent years, and I find it a bit upsetting to see him flying through the air as he often does here.

Still, this is a minor complaint and doesn't change the fact that Rise of the Legend is a very satisfying and well-crafted film overall.

Blu-ray & DVD Disc Specs:
-- Audio
  -- Mandarin DTS 5.1 HDMA
  -- Mandarin 2.0 Stereo
  -- English DTS 5.1 HDMA
  -- English 2.0 Stereo
-- Subtitles
  -- English
  -- Off
-- Bonus Features Include:
  -- Five part “Making of” Featurette
    -- Characters (2:11)
    -- Eddie Peng (1:51)
    -- Injuries (2:11)
    -- Cinematography (2:19)
    -- Special Effects (2:10)
  -- Trailer
-- Previews
  -- Kill Zone 2
  -- Ip Man 3
  -- Kung Fu Killer

AsianCineFest Rating: 3 out of 4 stars; a solidly recommended martial arts action film.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

THE RETURN OF GODZILLA to be released on September 13th



You can’t keep a good giant monster down, especially when he’s being very, very bad! Kraken Releasing will continue the tradition of releasing the very best in kaiju (giant monster) entertainment with the first U.S. release of the complete and uncut The Return Of Godzilla®! Available on both Blu-ray and DVD, and featuring both the original Japanese version with English subtitles, as well as an English dubbed version, this special release is the Godzilla® epic that fans and collectors have been waiting for.

With a higher budget and more advanced special effects than any previous film in the series, The Return Of Godzilla returns Japan’s greatest monster to his intended role as an epic force of destruction and the film’s spectacular success re-launched the Godzilla® franchise after nearly a decade in suspended animation. Unfortunately for North American audiences, this direct sequel to the original 1954 feature film has previously only been available in a highly edited version that cut over twenty minutes of original footage and effects, changed key plot points and altered the dark dramatic tone and narrative by inserting additional scenes and humor in an attempt to “Americanize” the film. But now, at long last, the acclaimed kaiju masterpiece finally hits American shores in all its uncut original glory! Get ready for the biggest Godzilla® epic that you’ve never seen as Kraken Releasing unleashes the complete and unedited The Return Of Godzilla!

The Return Of Godzilla will be released on September 13th.

About Kraken Releasing:
KRAKEN RELEASING is a new international video distribution label specializing in Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror genre entertainment for mainstream audiences. Together with sister labels MAIDEN JAPAN (DEN-NOH COIL, PAT LABOR, ROYAL SPACE FORCE) and SWITCHBLADE PICTURES (CORPSE PARTY, IRON GIRL 1& 2, ATTACK GIRLS SWIM TEAM VS. THE UNDEAD) Kraken’s goal is to bring the best filmed entertainment from around the world to our customers.

About Section23 Films:

Section23 Films provides home video marketing and distribution services for a variety of companies, including Sentai Filmworks, Switchblade Pictures, Maiden Japan and AEsir Holdings. With its special focus on genre entertainment, Section23 Films distributes some of the very best anime, martial arts, and horror titles on the market today.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

MY LOVE, DON’T CROSS THAT RIVER to open in NY & LA in June; national release to follow

My Love, Don't Cross That River
Written and Directed by Moyoung Jin
South Korea, 2014, 86 minutes

WINNER! BEST DOCUMENTARY- LOS ANGELES FILM FESTIVAL
OFFICIAL SELECTION: HOT DOCS, NEW YORK ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL

“100-year old Lovebirds” Byong-man Jo and Gye-yeul Kang, have been inseparable companions for the past 76 years. Living in their small home by the river, they wear traditional Korean clothes, go shopping at the local market, have picnics with neighbors, and enjoy dance parties. Every night they go to sleep holding each other’s hands. Observing this fragile couple for 15 months, director Mo-Young Jin acts as a fly-on-the-wall, capturing their twilight days with tender moments that reveal simple acts of affection – from a good-natured leaf fight to a gentle caress of the cheek.

A blockbuster in its native Korea, where it would go on to become the country’s biggest independent film of all time, My Love, Don't Cross That River presents an unforgettable story of true love that transcends both generations and cultures.

OPENING THEATRICALLY:

New York on Friday, June 17 and Los Angeles on Friday, June 24 with a national release to follow

NYC Theaters: Lincoln Plaza Cinemas and Angelika Film Center

LA Theater: The Royal

Friday, May 20, 2016

Jaoanese pop art illustrator KAORI WAKAMATSU to be a guest of honor at J-POP SUMMIT 2016

J-POP SUMMIT 2016 WELCOMES JAPANESE POP
ART ILLUSTRATOR KAORI WAKAMATSU
AS A GUEST OF HONOR

The San Francisco Bay Area’s Premiere Japanese Pop Culture Event
Presents The Renowned Artist And Illustrator For Her First-Ever U.S.
Professional Appearance As A Special Guest Of Kinokuniya Bookstores

J-POP SUMMIT 2016, one of the world’s biggest Japanese pop culture events, has announced that it will welcome pop art creator – Kaori Wakamatsu – as a Guest of Honor at this year’s festival.

J-POP SUMMIT 2016 will take place Saturday and Sunday, July 23rd and 24th at the historic Fort Mason Center located in San Francisco’s Marina district.

Kaori Wakamatsu is acclaimed for her vivid illustrations highlighted by delicate and stylized imagery and her innovative use of patterns, manga and fashion-esque themes. The artist will make her first-ever U.S. appearance for several exclusive autograph sessions on both days of the J-POP SUMMIT at the Fandom Booth powered by 2016 festival sponsor, Kinokuniya Bookstores.

Passes to attend one of the autograph sessions will be available to the first 200 people that purchase at least $20.00 of Kaori Wakamatsu products or a Kinokuniya Gift Card ($20.00 or more) from the Kinokuniya’s Retail Booth during J-POP SUMMIT. Autograph sessions will take place inside the Fandom Booth by Kinokuniya, located adjacent to main Kinokuniya’s Retail Booth. See more details at http://www.j-pop.com/kaori-wakamatsu-autograph-sessions.

This year, J-POP SUMMIT attendees will be able to experience a vibrant 2-Day celebration of Japanese pop-influenced culture including edgy fashion events, pop art exhibits, live music, a technology summit and display, and interactive activates, accented by ramen vendors, sake-tasting, and additional attractions also highlighted by celebrity Guests of Honor. Full details on 2016 J-POP SUMMIT are available at: www.J-POP.com.

A variety of affordable ticket options and V.I.P packages will give J-POP SUMMIT attendees the maximum amount of flexibility to customize a memorable festival experience. Adult single-day passes start at only $25.00 each; 2-day passes start at only $40.00 each. Ticket details are available at www.J-POP.com/Tickets.

Kaori Wakamatsu began her career as an illustrator in 2002. Her artwork is featured on a variety of consumer products including postcards, calendars, and book covers. The artist uses both traditional and digital tools to create her work and effectively conveys a vivacity that appeals to today’s digital generation while also incorporating delicate and whimsical details. Kaori Wakamatsu has gained widespread notoriety in Japan and also internationally among those interested in Japanese pop art and culture. She says, “When illustrating characters, I try to put the atmosphere and the world around the person into the picture.”

Kaori Wakamatsu’s notable works include the character designs for a popular Japanese social game, “Brilliant Thieves Royale (Kaito Royale).” Her bold and stylish designs have helped the game attract over 10 million players and prompted it to be adapted into a TV series. Wakamatsu also has designed cover illustrations for more than one hundred books across multiple genres including historical novels, detective stories, and youth fiction. In 2014, Kinokuniya bookstores in San Francisco and Seattle featured one of Wakamatsu’s designs on their loyalty cards.

Official Artist Website: www.graffiti-bunny.com
Official Artist Blog: http://gb-blog.seesaa.net.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

NA Hong-jin's THE WAILING opens in L.A. on May 20th; expands nationwide starting June 3rd

Well Go USA
Presents
The Wailing / Goksung
Directed by NA Hong-jin
Starring Hwang Jung-Min , Chun Woo-Hee,
and Kwak Do-Won
South Korea, 2016, 156 minutes

From acclaimed South Korean director NA Hong-jin (The Yellow Sea and The Chaser) comes this highly regarded (8.6/10 at IMDb) mystery thriller which will begin an exclusive engagement at CGV in Los Angeles on May 20, 2016 and expand nationwide and throughout Los Angles on June 3, 2016.

Synopsis:

In The Wailing, the arrival of a mysterious stranger (Chun Woo-hee, of Mother and Cart) in an otherwise quiet village coincides with a rash of vicious murders, causing panic and suspicion amongst the villagers. When the daughter of investigating officer Jong-Goo (Kwak Do-won, seen in Tazza: The Hidden Card and The Berlin File) falls under the same savage spell, he calls for a shaman (Hwang Jung-min, from New World and Veteran) to assist in finding the culprit.

The Wailing official webpage

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

THE ART OF MAGIC: THE GATHERING: KALADESH scheduled for January 2017 release

Magic: The Gathering, Wizards of the Coast, and their respective logos are trademarks of Wizards of the Coast LLC in the USA and other countries. ©2016 Wizards.
WIZARDS OF THE COAST AND VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCE
THE ART OF MAGIC: THE GATHERING: KALADESH

Wizards of the Coast and VIZ Media have jointly announced the forthcoming publication of the latest addition to THE ART OF MAGIC: THE GATHERING collection. Scheduled for release in January 2017, THE ART OF MAGIC: THE GATHERING: KALADESH is the third volume in VIZ Media’s ongoing series of hardcover art books presenting the incredible illustrations of Magic: The Gathering™. The 240-page book will feature dozens of full color works by more than 95 artists, including Cliff Childs, Winona Wilson, Christine Choi and Adam Paquette, who also illustrated the cover, and will be complemented with additional in-depth lore by bestselling author and Magic: The Gathering Senior Game Designer, James Wyatt.

Throughout its 22-year history, Magic: The Gathering has visited many richly imaginative worlds through card sets and stories. Developed by Wizards of the Coast, Magic: The Gathering has more than 20 million fans, is played in more than 70 countries, and is available in 11 languages. Magic: The Gathering has won numerous notable awards, including a Mensa Award and multiple Origins Awards, the Hobby Game industry’s annual top award.

Optimism, innovation, and the spirit of creativity fill these pages, lavishly illustrated with the award-winning art of Magic: The Gathering™! Welcome to Kaladesh – a vibrant, beautiful plane where anything is possible. Join the heroic Planeswalkers of the Gatewatch as they explore the Inventors’ Fair, and let your imagination soar alongside thopters and airships crafted by the best artificers in the Multiverse. Come discover the marvels of Kaladesh – its inhabitants, its inventors, and its artifacts. They all await you at the grand Inventors’ Fair!

“On Magic’s newest plane, Kaladesh, we’re exploring a bright world of innovation and creativity that comes to life in THE ART OF MAGIC: THE GATHERING – KALADESH,” says Elaine Chase, Senior Director of Global Brand Strategy and Marketing for Magic: The Gathering. “We are excited to continue working with VIZ Media to bring fans and players more ways to enjoy Magic’s art and detailed lore.”

“THE ART OF MAGIC: THE GATHERING: KALADESH offers a unique way to explore the captivating home world of Planeswalker Chandra Nallar,” says Beth Kawasaki, Senior Editorial Director, VIZ Media. “We are extremely happy to continue our close collaboration with Wizards of the Coast to develop this vividly illustrated series of books and we look forward to Magic players and fantasy art fans discovering this beautiful new release early next year.”

THE ART OF MAGIC: THE GATHERING: KALADESH joins THE ART OF MAGIC: THE GATHERING: INNISTRAD (available July 5th) and THE ART OF MAGIC: THE GATHERING: ZENDIKAR, available now from VIZ Media. Each contains specially curated collections of illustrations from Wizards of the Coast’s popular strategy card game, Magic: The Gathering.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

THE FINAL MASTER opens theatrically in U.S. on June 3rd

United Entertainment Partners
Presents
The Final Master
Written and Directed by Xu Haofeng
Starring: Liao Fan, Song Jia, Jiang Wenli, Jin Shi-Jye,
Song Yang and Huang Jue
China, 2015, 109 minutes
In Mandarin with English Subtitles

Theatrical Release Date: June 3, 2016 in New York and Los Angeles
and major cities with a wider release to follow.

2016 Seattle International Film Festival *** Official Selection ***

52 Taipei Golden Horse International FF ***WINNER of Best Action Choreography***

In award-winning director Xu Haofeng’s film adaptation of his acclaimed short story, The Final Master, the last torchbearer of Wing-Chun seeking to pass down his art is caught in a power struggle with local officials and must choose between what is right and what is expected in order to fulfill his destiny.

Xu Haofeng is a Chinese director, producer, screenwriter, professor and writer. He is best known for his best-selling novel, Monk Comes Down the Mountain, and his award-winning screenplay for Wong Kar-wai’s The Grandmaster. The film won Best Screenplay in the 33 Hong Kong Film Awards, and was selected as Hong Kong’s submission for the Best Foreign Picture in the Academy Awards. In 2014, Xu published a critically acclaimed novella The Master, which became the basis for his 2015 film The Final Master. The film is the official selection of 2016 Seattle International Film Festival and was nominated for 2015 Golden Horse Awards Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress and Best Action Choreography. The film won Best Action Choreography.

Cities/Theaters:

- New York (June 3): Court Street UA, AMC Empire, Village East Cinema, College Point Multiplex (Flushing), AMC Stoneybrook.

- Los Angeles (June 3): AMC Century City, Landmark, Burbank AMC Town Center, Arclight Hollywood, Arclight Pasadena and more.

- New Jersey (June 10): AMC Starplex and AMC New Brunswick

- Boston (June 10)-Manchester Boston Common

- Washington DC (June 10): AMC Rio

Monday, May 16, 2016

VIZ Media announces participation at Anime Central 2016, May 20-22

VIZ Media Returns To Mid-West’s Largest Anime/Manga
Convention With Fun Booth Giveaways, Advance Copies
Of Upcoming Titles, Exciting Panels And Much More!

VIZ Media announces a fun weekend highlighted by booth giveaways and exclusive items for sale, informative panel discussions, anime screenings, and other activities scheduled for Anime Central 2016.

Anime Central 2016 (ACen) takes place May 20th through 22nd in Rosemont, IL, at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare and the adjacent Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, located less than 30 minutes from downtown Chicago. ACen presents special Guests of Honor from the Japanese and U.S. sectors of the anime and manga industry, as well as gaming, cinema, and other Asian pop culture personalities. VIZ Media will be located in Booth #I-49. Complete details on Anime Central 2016 are available at: http://www.acen.org.

The VIZ Media booth will offer fans a wide variety of retail products available for purchase throughout the convention. A limited edition VIZ Media tote bag featuring favorite characters in 3 different designs will be given as a free gift with purchase.

Check the daily posted schedule for each day’s events. Stop by the booth throughout the convention for a FREE DEATH NOTE poster giveaway, and spin the prize wheel to score fun items featuring your favorite VIZ Media properties like SAILOR MOON!

Notable VIZ Media products available at Anime Central 2016 include:

• Exclusive Gift with Purchase: Limited Edition VIZ Media Tote in 3 Available Designs!
SHONEN JUMP, SAILOR MOON or THE LEGEND OF ZELDA
• WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP Annual Digital Subscription $20
12-month digital subscription to the world’s most popular manga magazine includes Exclusive NARUTO Game Mat & YU‐GI‐OH! Promo Card: Relinkuriboh
• Exclusive: SAILOR MOON R T‐Shirts $15 each
Ladies and Unisex styles available!
• SAILOR MOON R Set 1 Home Media Set
Limited Edition Combo Pack $65; Standard Edition DVD $40
• Pre-Street Manga Titles – Be The First To Catch The New Releases!
   BLACK CLOVER, Vol. 1 $10
   DON’T BE CRUEL, Vol. 1 (2-in-1) $17
   JOJO’S BIZARRE ADVENTURE PART 2, Vol. 4 $20 (Vol. 1 also available)
   NEON GENESIS EVANGELION, Vol. 5 (2-in-1) $20
   ULTRAMAN Vol. 4 $13
   (Special ULTRAMAN Bundle features Collectible Figure $30)

VIZ Media’s Anime Central 2016 Panels Include:

Friday May 20th:

6:00PM Official SAILOR MOON Panel (Panel Room 1)
Join the VIZ Media staff as well as cast member, Erica Mendez (Haruka Tenoh / Sailor Uranus) from the legendary series for news, updates and fun as only the Guardians of Love and Justice can provide. Everyone attending will receive a special treat while supplies last!

Saturday May 21st:

4:30PM VIZ Media Panel (Panel Room 1)
Come party with VIZ Media! Hear thrilling tales of upcoming releases and other Earth-shattering announcements from North America's largest distributor of manga and anime! VIZ Media has brought you thousands of your favorite titles including huge hits like NARUTO, ONE-PUNCH MAN, SAILOR MOON, TOKYO GHOUL and more!

Also don’t miss special convention screenings of a variety of acclaimed VIZ Media anime titles including BLEACH, ONE-PUNCH MAN, SAILOR MOON, and THE LAST: NARUTO THE MOVIE. Specific screening times and dates will be listed in the official Anime Central 2016 program guide.

For more information on titles available from VIZ Media, visit www.VIZ.com.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Section23 Films has announced its August 2016 slate of releases


Home video distributor Section23 Films has announced its August slate of releases, including Sentai Filmworks’ latest acquisition Trinity Seven. The Complete Collection will be available on DVD and Blu-ray. Product details in order of release:

Title: GOURMET GIRL GRAFFITI COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 8/2/2016
Format: BD, DVD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $59.98, $49.98

SYNOPSIS: Like many Japanese middle school girls, Ryo Machiko is fascinated with cooking. Unfortunately, both of her parents work full time overseas, so she's spent most of her time living alone since the death of her grandmother a year ago. Ryo's still practicing and learning, of course, but without someone there to appreciate the fruit of her labors and offer constructive feedback, it's just not the same. Things have a way of working out, however, and when it turns out that Ryo's artistically inclined cousin Kirin intends to attend the same Sunday cram school, it only makes sense for her to room with Ryo over the weekends. And that means that Ryo will be gaining more than just an enthusiastic new audience. Together with Ryo's friend Shiina, she'll be learning the most important lesson of all: No matter how fancy or tasty the food may be, it's even better when it's shared in GOURMET GIRL GRAFFITI!


Title: MAGICAL SHOPPING ARCADE ABENOBASHI COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: AEsir Holdings
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 325 min.
Street Date: 8/2/2016
Format: DVD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $39.98

SYNOPSIS: Arumi and Sasshi seem to be normal, twelve-year-old kids living in Osaka, but things are not exactly what they seem. Suddenly, Arumi and Sasshi find themselves in a world like their own... only not! As they try to fight their way back to the real world, they’ll face menacing mushrooms, big-breasted space pirates, killer kung-fu fighters, a sorcerer who seems to be in a mid-life crisis… and that’s just the beginning. Hold on to your hats, and get ready for one wildly wacky and frenetically funny ride as reality takes an extended vacation in the madcap, spaced-out world of Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi!


Title: WAKE UP, GIRLS! TV SERIES COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 8/9/2016
Format: BD, DVD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $59.98, $49.98

SYNOPSIS: The gateway to Idol stardom might have opened for the newly formed singing group Wake Up, Girls, but the path to fame is full of perils and pitfalls. And for Mayu, Airi, Minami, Yoshino, Nanami, Kaya and Miyu, it's going to be especially difficult knowing who to trust, as their manager Matsuda's lack of experience could give other, less scrupulous, individuals a chance to take advantage. That's a situation that quickly comes to a head when Green Leaves' president suddenly disappears with most of the money, and things only get worse when the replacement producer seems more interested in getting the girls into revealing swimsuits than promoting their music. As malicious gossip begins to surface regarding Mayu's past membership in a rival group, and internal tensions begin to tear the team apart, they'll need more than just ambition to survive. Singing may be a business, but friendship and a love of music is what will keep everything together in WAKE UP, GIRLS - THE SERIES!


Title: PUNCH LINE COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 8/16/2016
Format: BD, DVD
Language: Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $59.98, $49.98

SYNOPSIS: When your day begins with being held hostage in a hijacking, can things get much worse? How about being kicked out of your own body? Or learning that if you can't re-possess your physical shell, you'll trigger a panty-fueled apocalypse that will wipe out all life on the planet? For Yuta Iridatsu, it's just the start of the worst out-of-body experience ever. Now, if his dissed disembodied spirit doesn't pursue the persuasions of a porn-obsessed paranormal pussycat and purloin a missing mystical manual, a meteor will collide with Earth! And to stack the odds even further, the book is hidden somewhere in the boarding house Yuta shares with a bevy of beautiful babes, but if he gets an eyeful of his ravishing co-renters in their unmentionables before he's back in himself, it's flash-forward to Doomsday! Will the literal end of the world be wearing briefs, a bikini, or a thong? Find out when panties, possessions and extinction level events have the ultimate rear-end collision in PUNCH LINE!


Title: TRINITY SEVEN COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 8/16/2016
Format: BD, DVD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98, $59.98

SYNOPSIS: Things have been looking sunny for Arata Kasuga lately. Unfortunately it's been the wrong sun in the sky, and the mysterious Breakdown Phenomenon that accompanied it destroyed his town and stole his beloved cousin Hiijiri, leaving Arata in a fantasy world of his own creation! There's still a chance to save her, however, as the appearance of the Black Sun also revealed Arata's potential abilities as a mage, placing him in the powerful Demon Lord class. But first, since Arata and his newfound magical talents are far too dangerous to leave to their own devices, he's immediately whisked off to the Royal Biblia Academy. That's where he'll meet seven beautiful female mages whose powers are intrinsically tied to the same sins that Arata has to master to put his world back together. Of course, the tricky part is that they have their own plans for him as well! The lessons in sin are about to begin as Arata takes on the TRINITY SEVEN!


Title: CROSS ANGE: RONDO OF ANGEL AND DRAGON COLLECTION 2
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 8/23/2016
Format: BD, DVD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98, $59.98

SYNOPSIS: The foundation of Ange's world has been ripped to shreds over and over again, since the moment her throne was stolen and she was stripped of her humanity. But the destruction of Arzenal and the stunning revelation about the true nature of the DRAGONS were only the start of a devastating new series of shocks and discoveries. Transported to an alternate and devastated world with Tusk and Vivian, Ange will finally learn the history of her world and the true nature of her own reality. She will discover who her ultimate enemy really is and how her para-mail, Villkiss, may be the only key to salvation. The fate of two worlds hangs in the balance, but unless Ange can conquer her own fear and rage, the battle will be lost before it's even begun. The final war between man, DRAGON, and machine is about to begin in the climatic conclusion of CROSS ANGE: Rondo of Angel and Dragon!


Title: HAKUOKI ~ THEATRICAL VERSION, CHAPTER 2: WARRIOR SPIRIT OF THE BLUE SKY
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 95 min.
Street Date: 8/23/2016
Format: BD, DVD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $39.98, $29.98

SYNOPSIS: The battle at Koufu Castle has been lost, the Furies are no longer restrained by daylight, and while the individual members of the Shinsengumi still survive, the links that bound them together have been torn and shattered. As Harada, Shinpachi, and Saito try to fight their way out of Koufu, Chizuru holds true to her oath to Hijikata, standing guard over Kondou, while he and Okita fight to recover from their gunshot wounds. And Hijikata faces the greatest test of all. Having partaken of the Water Of Life, he must now balance his humanity against a need for blood and the deeds the Fury's power makes possible. Is saving the lives of those he cares about worth the ultimate sacrifice? Because no matter how skilled they are, no matter how brave, not everyone will survive the epic conclusion of the Hakuoki saga. Swords flash, heroes die and the fires of war ignite in the thrilling second motion picture of HAKUOKI: WARRIOR SPIRIT OF THE BLUE SKY!


Title: WHEN SUPERNATURAL BATTLES BECAME COMMOMPLACE COMPLETE COLLECTION
Published by: Sentai Filmworks
Distributed by: Section23 Films
Run Time: 300 min.
Street Date: 8/30/2016
Format: BD, DVD
Language: English & Japanese with English Subtitles
SRP: $69.98, $59.98

SYNOPSIS: The origin of the Senko High School Literature Club’s powers might be a little sketchy, and they may spend more time chatting than engaging in superhuman feats. Still, there’s no questioning the incredible abilities of the club’s female members: Tomoyo can control time; Hatoko is a mistress of the elements; Chifuyu can create matter; and Sayumi can return any item to a previous state. With these powers, there are few tasks these girls can’t handle. Meanwhile, Jurai, the club’s only male member, has a dark flame that seems a little pointless in comparison, and only time will tell if it matures into anything more useful. Toss in a Student Council president who’s developed powers of her own and things are about to get seriously weird as the study of literature takes a comic book turn in WHEN SUPERNATURAL BATTLES BECAME COMMONPLACE!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

VIZ Media announces digital manga update for May 2016

BORUTO © 2016 by Masashi Kishimoto, Mikio Ikemoto, Ukyo Kodachi/SHUEISHA Inc.
VIZ MEDIA STARTS OFF SPRING WITH A BRAND
NEW DIGITAL MANGA UPDATE AND NEW
WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP SERIES FOR MAY

Catch The Launch Of A New BORUTO Series In WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP,
NARUTO: SAKURA’S STORY, THE HEIRESS AND THE CHAUFFEUR
And DRAGON BALL FREEZA ARC Full-Color Edition
As Well As A Special VIZ Media 30th Anniversary Sale

VIZ Media continues to deliver spring reading excitement, drama and adventure as the company announces brand new digital manga updates for May.

This month fans and readers can catch the launch of three notable new series and releases. NARUTO: SAKURA’S STORY, the third book in a series of original novels, depicts the story of Sakura Haruno, a faithful and skilled member of Naruto’s team. The shojo drama depicting the romance between a turn-of-the-century heiress and her servant unfolds in THE HEIRESS AND THE CHAUFFEUR while the martial arts action of the classic DRAGON BALL returns in a vivid new way with the release of the DRAGON BALL FULL COLOR FREEZA ARC. All three new titles are now available.

Fans won’t want to miss today’s issue of WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP, which will feature the first chapter of a brand new BORUTO manga series. The new series will be supervised by the creator of NARUTO, Masashi Kishimoto, and written and illustrated by those deeply involved in the NARUTO universe. New chapters of this series, which follows the adventures of Naruto's son, will be available each month on the same day they come out in Japan! Visit http://shonenjump.viz.com/ for more information and access to WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP content.

This summer, VIZ Media celebrates the 30th Anniversary of the founding of the company. As a prelude to the many consumer promotions that will be offered throughout the summer to commemorate this important milestone, VIZ Media unveils a special 30th Anniversary Flash Manga Sale. The sale will celebrate titles from VIZ Media’s classic collections and introduce readers to the next generation!

Set to launch this month the Anniversary Flash Manga Sale offers discounts on select titles. The ongoing weekly flash sales will offer manga titles that will be categorized and offered under a variety of themes, which will be announced throughout the month.

New May 2016 Digital Manga Series Include:

THE HEIRESS AND THE CHAUFFEUR Vol. 1 • Rated ‘T’ for Teens •
DIGITAL MSRP: $6.99 (U.S. / CAN) • Now Available
Sayaka wears a crimson ribbon that signals she is at the top of her class, and her classmates all revere her. So when Narutaki ignores decorum and breaks school rules to protect Sayaka, will she stand by him or dismiss him as the school demands?

DRAGON BALL FULL COLOR FREEZA ARC Vol. 1 • Rated ‘A’ for All Ages •
DIGITAL MSRP: $12.99 (U.S. / CAN) • Now Available
After his epic battle with Vegeta, Son Goku and his friends must obtain the wish-granting Dragon Balls in order to resurrect their fallen allies! Their search will take them all the way to the planet Namek, where the evil Freeza and his minions are slaughtering the Namekians in order to fulfill Freeza’s wish for immortality. What will it take to defeat this great evil?


NARUTO SAKURA-HIDEN SHIREN,HARUKAZE NI NOSETE © 2015 by Masashi Kishimoto, Tomohito Ohsaki/SHUEISHA Inc.

NARUTO: SAKURA’S STORY • Rated ‘T’ for Teens •
DIGITAL MSRP: $6.99 (U.S. / CAN) • Now Available
The Great Ninja War did not only harm adults, but left many damaged children behind. Medical ninja Sakura travels the land, opening clinics dedicated to healing children of the mental trauma they experienced. She learns of a series of attacks against Konoha, and her investigation leads to an impossible conclusion: Sasuke is the terrorist mastermind behind them all! Using her skills and her heart, Sakura strives to clear Sasuke’s name and bring the real perpetrator to justice.

Additional digital manga updates for May include new volumes for 12 continuing VIZ Media series. Notable digital debuts include not-to-be-missed volumes for BLUE EXORCIST (Vol. 15), MY HERO ACADEMIA (Vol. 4), NISEKOI (Vol. 15), ONE PIECE (Vol. 78), along with new VIZ Signature releases for TERRA FORMARS (Vol. 12) and ULTRAMAN (Vol. 4). New shojo manga additions include KIMI NO TODOKE (Vol. 24), and MAID SAMA 2-in-1 (Vol. 4).

The free VIZ Manga App continues to be the top application for reading digital manga and features a massive library of the most popular series in the world. Through the innovative VIZ Manga digital platform registered users are able to use one account to view their purchased manga across more devices than ever. New series and volumes are added every Tuesday. Fans can also find these titles and more for the NOOK, Kindle Fire, and Kobo eReaders, as well as in the ComiXology, iBooks and Google Play Stores.

Most manga volumes are available for purchase and download in the U.S. and Canada within the VIZ Manga application starting from only $4.99 (U.S. / CAN) each. Readers can also explore free Chapter 1 previews of every series. For more information, please visit VIZManga.com or www.VIZ.com/apps.

To learn more about VIZ Manga, visit www.vizmanga.com.

Friday, May 13, 2016

New York Asian Film Festival 2016

Here's the recent press release from Film Society of Lincoln Center and Subway Cinema concerning the first fifteen titles that have been announced. AsianCineFest has covered NYAFF since 2006 and once again looks forward to covering this year's festival. 

Film Society of Lincoln Center and Subway Cinema
announce initial details for
THE 15th NEW YORK ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL
June 22 – July 9, 2016
15 FOR 15: THE COOL, THE CRAZY, THE CORRUPT

This summer’s New York Asian Film Festival (June 22 – July 9) has its most cutting-edge lineup yet, with a cast of Asia’s hottest stars, some receiving our significantly expanded Star Asia and Screen International Rising Star Awards. Today, we give our first glimpse at this year’s offerings, revealing the 15 key titles that shape the themes of our 15th anniversary edition.

From the Philippines we present three genre-defying films that explore fatherhood, and what it means to be an adult: Erik Matti’s religious crime drama Honor Thy Father, Ralston Jover’s noir youth drama Hamog (Haze), and Mario Cornejo’s sensual surfing film Apocalypse Child, which posits that Francis Ford Coppola left behind an illegitimate son as well as a surfboard after shooting Apocalypse Now in the Philippines.

We cling to the company of lost souls to explore the little known territory of Tamil-language Malaysian cinema and the plight of the local Indian community in the 1990s. First-time director Shanjhey Kumar Perumal’s Jagat (Brutal) follows the hardships of a 12-year-old boy as he gets drawn into the criminal lifestyle of his uncle, a henchman for a local Malaysian gang. Channeling the spirit of Satyajit Ray, this raw coming-of-age story receives its North American premiere at NYAFF.

From South Korea come films about people selling their souls, both figuratively and literally. In E J-yong’s The Bacchus Lady, an elderly prostitute plies her trade in city parks. The bittersweet tale reflects the national scandal of a generation facing abject poverty and abandonment. Kim Jin-hwang’s The Boys Who Cried Wolf follows an unemployed actor paid to be a false witness to a child’s murder, while Jang Jae-hyun’s modern exorcist thriller The Priests will have heads spinning with its hair-raising car chases, piglets as demonic vessels, and the antichrist.

In explorations of innocence corrupted, we put the spotlight on first-time female directors with China’s What’s in the Darkness (dir. Wang Yichun), about a curious teenage girl who is seduced into her cop father’s investigation of a serial killer; Hong Kong’s Lazy Hazy Crazy (dir. Jody Luk), in which schoolgirls explore the city’s heart of greed by charging for sex; and Thailand’s Grace (dir. Ornusa Donsawai & Pun Homchuen), a merciless attack on social-media idolatry.

We next descend into Japanese madness with Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s unnerving Creepy, about a maniac who infiltrates and corrupts the nuclear-family unit; Sakaki Hideo’s shocking Kiyamachi Daruma, featuring a manipulative yakuza boss who lacks not only digits but also his arms and legs; and the loony Hentai Kamen 2, the hotly anticipated sequel to our 2013 Audience Award winner about a fetishistic superhero who wears his crime-busting underwear on his head.

We round out our 15 key films with two thrillers that explore institutionalized corruption—in the police, in the courts, in the media, and on the political stage—with Woo Min-ho’s Inside Men from South Korea and Cheng Wen-tang’s Maverick from Taiwan. Both films are razor-sharp dissections of the corruption at the heart of the two fragile democracies at a moment when both are swinging pendulums of political turmoil.

The festival’s executive director, Samuel Jamier, says, “To celebrate our 15th edition, we made the difficult and deliberate decision to have a lean selection of approximately 50 features. Bigger isn’t better; better is better. While maintaining a focus on quality, we’re putting our energies into promoting each film, so that they have a life after the festival. We have a larger lineup of exciting guests booked, including Asian stars who are joining us for our anniversary celebration.”

The festival will announce its opening film and the Screen International Rising Star Award recipients in mid-May from Cannes, followed by the full-lineup reveal at the end of May.

15 for 15
1. Apocalypse Child; dir. Mario Cornejo [Philippines], North American Premiere
2. The Bacchus Lady 죽여주는 여자; dir. E J-yong [South Korea], New York Premiere
3. The Boys Who Cried Wolf 양치기들; dir. Kim Jin-hwang [South Korea], North American Premiere
4. Creepy クリーピー 偽りの隣人; dir. Kiyoshi Kurosawa [Japan], New York Premiere
5. Grace อวสานโลกสวย; dirs. Ornusa Donsawai & Pun Homchuen [Thailand], International Premiere
6. Hamog (Haze); dir. Ralston Jover [Philippines], North American Premiere
7. Hentai Kamen 2 HK 変態仮面 アブノーマル・クライシス; dir. Yuichi Fukuda [Japan], North American Premiere
8. Honor Thy Father; dir. Erik Matti [Philippines], New York Premiere
9. Inside Men 내부자들; dir. Woo Min-ho [South Korea], New York Premiere
10. Jagat (Brutal); dir. Shanjey Kumar Perumal [Malaysia], North American Premiere
11. Kiyamachi Daruma 木屋町DARUMA; dir. Hideo Sakaki [Japan], International Premiere
12. Lazy Hazy Crazy 同班同學; dir. Jody Luk [Hong Kong], North American Premiere
13. Maverick 菜鳥; dir. Cheng Wen-tang [Taiwan], North American Premiere
14. The Priests 검은 사제들; dir. Jang Jae-hyun [South Korea]
15. What’s in the Darkness 黑处有什么; dir. Wang Yichun [China] North American Premiere

The New York Asian Film Festival is co-presented by Subway Cinema and the Film Society of Lincoln Center and takes place from June 22 to July 5 at the Film Society’s Walter Reade Theater, and July 6 to 9 at SVA Theatre. Keep up to date with information at www.subwaycinema.com and www.filmlinc.org.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Korean Movie Night New York returns!!! Free screening of PHANTOM DETECTIVE on May 18th

Korean Cultural Center NY
Presents
Korean Movie Night New York: Premiere Showcase
Phantom Detective
Directed by JO Sung-hee
Starring: LEE Je-hoon, KIM Sung-kyun, PARK Geun-hyung, GO A-ra
South Korea, 2016, 125 minutes
In Korean with English subtitles 
East Coast Premiere

When: Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at 7:00 PM
Where: IFC Center (323 Ave of the Americas, New York City)
Map

Inspired by the folk tale “The Story of Hong Gil-dong” (a Korean equivalent of Robin Hood), PHANTOM DETECTIVE is a stylish neo-noir thriller set in the unspecified past. Private investigator Hong Gil-dong (LEE Je-hoon, from ARCHITECTURE 101 and BLEAK NIGHT) has one goal in life: to find the one-eyed man who murdered his mother and exact revenge on him. It’s been 20 years since he witnessed the murder, and he finally has the culprit’s name: Kim Byung-duk. When he tracks him down to a hut in the countryside, instead of Byung-duk, Gil-dong finds Byung-duk’s two young granddaughters, who will become his unlikeliest sidekicks. As Gil-dong continues his pursuit, he will discover the truth behind his mother’s death and uncover a vast conspiracy.

THE MIDNIGHT AFTER coming to home video on June 21st

Well Go USA
Presents
The Midnight After
Directed by 
Hong Kong/China. 2014, 124 minutes

Innovative Director Fruit Chan (Made in Hong Kong, Durian Durian) seamlessly blends a variety of genres -- including mystery, thriller, sci-fi and comedy -- for the critically-acclaimed, end-of-the-world satire The Midnight After, debuting June 21 on DVD and digital from Well Go USA Entertainment.

Variety’s Maggie Lee noted that “Fruit Chan bends genre like it’s putty in his hands, distilling the macabre from the everyday and making the apocalyptic seem absurdly matter-of-fact.” In Hong Kong, a group of 16 people on a city bus emerge from a tunnel to find the entire population of the city has vanished. Based on a cult internet novel by “Mr. Pizza,” the film follows the eclectic group as they deal with horrific discovery …

The cast includes Simon Yam (Kill Zone 2), Wong You Nam (IP Man), Janice Man (Turning Point 2), Kara Hui (Lock Me Up, Tie Him Down), Chui Tien You (Contagion), Lam Suet (Kung Fu Hustle), Vincci Cheuk (Kick Ass Girls), Lee Sheung Ching (Stool Pidgeon), Sam Lee (Lost in Hong Kong) and Cherry Ngan (Mojin: The Lost Legend).

Following its premiere at the 2014 Berlin International Film Festival, The Midnight After was nominated for eight Hong Kong Film Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor & Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects and Best Screenplay, winning for Original Film Score. In addition, the film received Best Picture and Best Director nods at the 2015 Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards.

Synopsis:

16 strangers on a bus. An apocalyptic accident. A downtown full of people: Vanished. The newly-dead: Instantly Decaying. Ominous glimpses of men in gas masks. What’s happened to the world, and how far would you go to get your life back?

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Home media release of SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL SET 1 on August 16

©Naoko Takeuchi / PNP / KODANSHA / TOEI ANIMATION
VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES HOME MEDIA RELEASE OF
SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL SET 1

Series Based On The Classic SAILOR MOON Manga Arrives
This Summer As A Limited Edition Combo Pack With 14
Uncut Episodes; Pre-Orders Available Now!

VIZ Media has announced the home media release this summer of SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL SET 1.

Scheduled for release on August 16th, SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL SET 1 will be available as a special Limited Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack as well as a multi-disc Standard Edition DVD Set. Pre-orders are available from a variety of leading outlets and online retailers beginning today. Fans that pre-order from Rightstuf.com will receive a special acrylic sun-catcher featuring the Sailor Guardian team (while supplies last).

Anime fans can dive into all the action of the first 14 episodes of the acclaimed reboot of the classic anime series based on Naoko Takeuchi's original Sailor Moon manga series along with a host of extra bonus features. Uncut English dubbed as well as Japanese subtitled dialogue options are offered on both formats. The SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL SET 1 Limited Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack will carry an MSRP of $79.99 U.S. / $99.99 CAN; the Standard Edition DVD will carry an MSRP of $39.99 U.S. / $51.99 CAN.

The special acrylic sun-catcher featuring the Sailor Guardian team

The Limited Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack contains a deluxe, 4-disc collection (2 DVDs & 2 Blu-rays), packaged with an exclusive chipboard box with specialty printing. The Combo Pack also contains 7 full-color collectible art cards and a premium full-color art booklet featuring episode summaries and more. Bonus content includes series trailers, a digital art gallery and a special “Introduction to SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL” featurette with the English voice actors. Blu-ray episodes are presented in 1080p HD video format from the Japanese home video masters.

The SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL SET 1 Standard DVD Set features 4 discs with beautifully illustrated variant O-card packaging and specialty foil printing. Episodes will be presented in 480p standard video format.

Naoko Takeuchi’s landmark series, Sailor Moon, returns for a new generation! Sailor Moon Crystal tells the story of Usagi Tsukino, an awkward teenage girl whose life is turned upside-down when she becomes Sailor Moon, guardian of justice and the Legendary Silver Crystal. With Tokyo under constant threat from the dark forces of Queen Metalia, Usagi’s arrival couldn’t have come at a better time. And luckily, she won’t have to do it alone! Other Sailor Guardians are awakening to join in the fight and help Usagi answer the biggest question of all: What power does the Legendary Silver Crystal hold?

Fans are also invited to enjoy the original, classic SAILOR MOON anime series available from VIZ Media as Limited Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo Packs as well as a multi-disc Standard Edition DVD Sets.

For more information on SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL or other award-winning anime titles from VIZ Media, visit www.VIZ.com.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Sentai Filmworks acquires “Chaika the Coffin Princess: Avenging Battle”


The quest to recover Emperor Gaz’s scattered remains continues in Sentai Filmworks’ latest acquisition, Chaika the Coffin Princess: Avenging Battle.

Chaika, Toru, Akari, and Fredrica’s adventures continue as they plot to secure the emperor’s heart from the Hero Claudia. However, when another of the emperor’s dark secrets come to light, Chaika struggles to come to terms with her identity and her purpose. With conflict looming on the horizon, will Chaika's quest ultimately bring peace? Or will the country, once again, be torn apart by war?

Soichi Masui, who directed the first season, returns to direct the second season, with Touko Machida once again in charge of series composition. Animation production was again helmed by BONES, the same studio responsible for hits like Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood and Space Dandy.

Chaika the Coffin Princess: Avenging Battle will be available through select digital outlets, with a home video release to follow.

Monday, May 09, 2016

THE POKÉMON COOKBOOK to be published by VIZ on December 6, 2016

VIZ MEDIA INVITES FANS TO POWER UP THEIR
TASTE BUDS WITH THE POKÉMON COOKBOOK

Create Over 35 Inventive And Tasty Dishes Inspired By World-Famous
POKÉMON Video Games, Trading Card Games
And Anime / Manga Series

VIZ Media tantalizes the taste buds of POKÉMON fans and home chefs everywhere as it announces plans to publish THE POKÉMON COOKBOOK: EASY & FUN RECIPES on December 6th.

Arriving in time for the holidays, THE POKÉMON COOKBOOK: EASY & FUN RECIPES contains delectable and inventive recipes inspired by the best-selling Pokémon characters. Created by Maki Kudo, THE POKÉMON COOKBOOK will carry an MSRP of $14.99 U.S. / $17.99 CAN.

Create a variety of delicious dishes that look like your favorite Pokémon characters—from desserts to pizza—with more than 35 fun, easy recipes. Make a Poké Ball sushi roll, Pikachu-style ramen or mashed “Meowth” potatoes for your next party, weekend activity or powered-up lunch box.

“This book offers fans a tasty way to celebrate POKÉMON with dozens of recipes inspired by the property’s many iconic characters,” says Beth Kawasaki, Senior Editorial Director for VIZ Media. “Filled with mouth-watering snacks, entrees and desserts, THE POKÉMON COOKBOOK is sure to become a fun and creative kitchen companion for families and foodies!”

POKÉMON is one of the most successful international entertainment franchises of all time. More than 275 million POKÉMON video game titles and over 21.5 billion Pokémon Trading Cards have been sold in more than 74 countries in addition to substantial publishing and merchandise sales. VIZ Media is the official North American distributor for a wide variety of POKÉMON home media releases including animated series and films and also publishes a variety of POKÉMON manga graphic novel series including POKÉMON ADVENTURES, POKÉMON ADVENTURES: FIRERED & LEAFGREEN, POKÉMON ADVENTURES: EMERALD, POKÉMON ADVENTURES: DIAMOND & PEARL/PLATINUM, POKÉMON ADVENTURES: HEARTGOLD & SOULSILVER, POKÉMON ADVENTURES: BLACK & WHITE and POKÉMON X•Y.

For more information on titles available from VIZ Media, visit www.VIZ.com.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Award winning documentary MY FATHER’S VIETNAM to be released on multiple formats on May 24th

Gravitas Ventures
Presents
My Father's Vietnam
Written and Directed by Soren Sorensen
USA, 2015, 79 minutes

The award winning documentary My Father's Vietnam, directed by first-time filmmaker Soren Sorensen, will be released by Gravitas Ventures on VOD and across all other digital platforms on May 24, 2016, to coincide with Memorial Day Weekend.

A personal film about a public subject, My Father's Vietnam explores the human bonds forged and shattered by war. Set against the backdrop of never-before-seen photographs and 8mm footage of the Vietnam War, the film is the story of three soldiers, only one of whom made it home alive.


My Father's Vietnam won the Soldiers and Sacrifice Grand Prize at the 2015 Rhode Island International Film Festival (RIIFF) and the Best Picture Documentary at the 2016 Flagler Film Festival.

Official Website

Saturday, May 07, 2016

VIZ Media to celebrate its 30th anniversary with new activities


Leading Entertainment Company Looks Ahead To Forging New Paths
In Global Pop Culture And Multimedia Content Development

To celebrate its 30th Anniversary, VIZ Media will soon detail exciting activities for fans to commemorate 30 years of telling stories that resonate with audiences the world over.

Founded in San Francisco in July 1986, VIZ Media is dedicated to bringing the finest in manga, anime and global entertainment to English-speaking audiences around the world. The company’s success reflects the massive and enduring popularity the genres enjoy among fans of all ages. VIZ Media has the largest library of any English publisher, and is focused on diversifying its award-winning catalog with licensed properties outside of the manga and anime sphere, as well as developing its own original content.

“VIZ Media has been at the forefront of the manga and anime industry for 30 years,” says Ken Sasaki, President and CEO, VIZ Media. “Throughout its history, the company has pioneered new paths to bring the best in popular entertainment to as wide an audience as possible. We look forward to continuing our ceaseless commitment to developing high quality, unique content for fans across the globe.”

To complement the 30th anniversary milestone, an all new official website has been launched at www.VIZ.com. Completely refreshed in partnership with design studio Mule Design, the interactive web destination offers increased functionality, seamless interoperability and a host of easy-to-use new content features that are accessible across all platforms, including mobile devices and tablets.

“The website delivers a whole new level of user interaction and direct fan engagement for the online anime and manga communities,” adds Ken Sasaki.

For more information on titles available from VIZ Media, visit www.VIZ.com.