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Japan special 2014 UK office MBI, 101 Finsbury Pavement, London, EC2A 1RS Tel: +44 (0) 20 3033 4267 US office Screen International, 8581 Santa Monica Blvd, #707, West Hollywood, CA 90069 E-mail: (unless stated) Editorial Editor Wendy Mitchell +44 (0) 20 3033 2816 Contributors Jason Gray, Jean Noh, Sten Saluveer Asia editor Liz Shackleton, US editor Jeremy Kay +1 310 922 5908 News editor Michael Rosser +44 (0) 20 3033 2720 Chief critic and reviews editor Mark Adams +44 7841 527 505 Group head of production and art Mark Mowbray +44 (0) 20 3033 2817 Group art director, MBI Peter Gingell +44 (0) 20 3033 4203 Chief reporter Andreas Wiseman +44 (0) 20 3033 2848 Advertising and publishing Commercial director Andrew Dixon +44 (0) 20 3033 2928 Sales manager Scott Benfold +44 (0) 20 3638 5050 Sales manager Nadia Romdhani (maternity leave) UK, South Africa, Middle East Andrew Dixon +44 (0) 20 3033 2928 France, Spain, Portugal, Latin America, New Zealand, Singapore, Australia, Scott Benfold +44 (0) 20 3638 5050 Germany, Scandinavia, Benelux, Eastern Europe Gunter Zerbich +44 (0) 20 3033 2930 Italy, Asia, India Ingrid Hammond +39 05 7829 8768 VP business development, North America Nigel Daly +1 323 654 2301 / 213 447 5120 Production manager Jonathon Cooke +44 (0) 20 3033 4296 Group commercial director, MBI Alison Pitchford +44 (0) 20 3033 2949 Subscription customer service +44 (0) 1604 828 706 Festival and events manager Mai Le +44 (0) 20 3033 2950 Sales administrator Justyna Zieba +44 (0) 20 3033 2694 Chief executive, MBI Conor Dignam +44 (0) 20 3033 2717

new stories to tell The two Japanese films selected for Cannes 2014 reflect two sides of the Japanese industry: Naomi Kawase returns to Competition with Still The Water, an intimate arthouse drama from the Japanese auteur who is especially loved by French cinephiles; and The Tale Of Princess Kaguya in Directors’ Fortnight offers a big Studio Ghibli animation, always a crowd-pleaser. In Screen’s overview of the Japanese industry, writer Sten Saluveer notes how the majors in Japan enjoy stability but he also points out that 2014 has seen something of a breath of fresh air with independent international co-operations such as Sundance hit thriller Killers and comedy Fuku-chan Of FukuFuku Flats. That international reach is crucial for Japan’s premier film festival, Tokyo International Film Festival




2 Growth business Japanese film’s international appeal is on the rise, and 2014 could see independent productions trump the local blockbusters

4 drawn to tiff Tokyo International Film Festival will this year present a special showcase of Japanese animations


6 on the market TIFFCOM continues to attract increasing numbers of buyers and sellers, thanks to its innovative mix of film, TV, music and animation projects

9 creatinG the virtuous circle In his second year as head of Tokyo International Film Festival and multi-content market TIFFCOM, Yasushi Shiina talks about his plans for 2014 and beyond

10 cannes 2014: the hit list

Screen International is part of Media Business Insight Ltd (MBI), also publisher of Broadcast and shots


(TIFF), which will celebrate its 27th edition (October 23-31). Yasushi Shiina, now in his second year as director general, says he wants to “maintain our position as an international film festival that can bring high-quality, world-class films”. Of course, promoting homegrown talents to local audiences and international guests is also important, as TIFF continues its Japanese Cinema Splash section and this year the festival will pay particular attention to local animation. As evidenced by the diversity of Japanese titles being sold at Cannes’ Marché (see page 10), this is an industry building on its traditional strengths while pushing forward on new ideas. The world will be watching. Wendy Mitchell, editor

Previews of the hottest Japanese films premiering at Cannes Film Festival, as well as a selection of buzz titles available in the market

May 2014 Screen International 1 n

Japan special overview

Cannes Competition title Still The Water

Growth business Japanese film’s international appeal is on the rise, and 2014 could see independent productions trump the local blockbusters. By Sten Saluveer


he Japanese industry has started the year with renewed vigour in terms of co-productions and international collaborations. Nikkatsu’s thriller Killers, helmed by the team of Timo Tjahjanto and Kimo Stromboel, marked the first Japan-Indonesia co-production and secured a hit premiere at Sundance with a healthy number of international sales (Los Angeles-based XYZ Films backed the project since its inception and also handled foreign sales). Despite Japan’s notoriously difficult track record regarding international collaborations, as well as the absence of an outlined system of subsidies or location incentives, all parties involved attest to the success of the production. “We found the collaboration very rewarding. The Japanese industry definitely has its own culture and works at its own pace, so you need to be prepared for that. But communication was excellent and everything ran very smoothly,

n 2 Screen International May 2014

we’d do it again in a heartbeat,” says XYZ Films partner Todd Brown. Currently in production on Takashi Miike’s Yakuza Apocalypse — marking the genre master’s return to his roots — Nikkatsu’s producer Shinjiro Nishimura has the international market firmly in sight. “For us the major goal is the North American market but also Europe’s biggest territories, France and Germany,” he says. An equally novel experiment comes in the form of the bittersweet comedy Fukuchan Of FukuFuku Flats, directed by Yosuke Fujita and starring popular comedian Miyuki Oshima. The film had its recent premiere at Udine Far East Film Festival in Italy and will hit Cannes Marché for international sales. Entirely Japanese in its content and nature, the production is among others backed by the UK’s Third Window, Germany’s Rapid Eye, Taiwan’s Joint Entertainment and, surprisingly, the Udine festival’s Tucker Film, demonstrating a new

approach to making and selling Japanese cinema internationally. The international sales will be handled by Third Window with input from the other partners. Fuku-chan producer Adam Torel says: “Combining distribution companies in the UK, Germany, Italy and Taiwan gives us four times the amount of audience, four times the amount of contacts and four times the amount of experience, and at the same time costs four times less to distribute, as we share all costs — plus we market and promote together.” While the overseas market seems difficult initially for Japanese titles, the potential lies in the cultivation of festival and fan audiences as well as trust between international partners. “Many Japanese producers assume that since they can’t sell their films overseas, there isn’t a market. But there is, and there are buyers who want to try. Yet people need to be realistic about what can be done and work together slowly and with trust,” says Torel. Indeed, trust has been the key point of discussion between the industry members across the region, where political machinations have an impact on the film business, such as the high-profile scrapping of Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Chinabound blockbuster 1905 last year. Slated to feature Tony Leung, the production partner Prenom H pulled out due to difficulties fuelled partly by ongoing political tension in the region.

‘centre point’

‘Many Japanese producers assume that since they can’t sell their films overseas, there isn’t a market. But there is’ Adam Torel, producer

The new year has brought fresh winds and sellers are seeing Asia once again rise as a central market for Japanese content. Nikkatsu’s Emico Kawai explains: “We have recently had excellent sales to Asia-Pacific, especially Malaysia, and I feel the region will grow to be a big territory in the near future.” Gaga CEO and chairman Tom Yoda agrees: “The buyers are varying according to the content of the films, and as to the theatrical release of Japanese cinema, Asia remains the centre point.” So 2014 might well see the return of vitality for the Japanese indies, with Naomi Kawase’s Still The Water on the Croisette, Confessions director Tetsuya Nakashima’s highly anticipated The World Of Kanako, as well as Miike’s latest attracting buyers and festival programmers at the Marché. Meanwhile, at home, the popular say-

“The film has been drawing wide audiences in North America, Europe, Asia, and even in Africa. It is marvellous that in France it became the biggest live action Japanese title of the year with 400,000 viewers,” notes Yoda.

New market opportunities

‘We are witnessing a standardised drop in MGs and the release size compared to the past’

The Little House

Judy Ahn, Showbox

Fuku-chan Of FukuFuku Flats

ing ‘Nothing new on the eastern front’ is apt. The Japanese market in 2014 has remained true to its stable dynamics with the territory and box office unsurprisingly dominated by domestic majors — both in distribution and production — along with a few international blockbusters thrown in. Many wonder what the viable solution would be for the growing divide in the Japanese industry where local studio productions are effectively stealing the show from director- or content-driven films. “The fact that, as a whole, Japanese films take two thirds of the market is incredible,” says Takashi Nishimura, managing director of UniJapan. “However, it is a ‘winner takes it all’ situation and it is two separate worlds if one considers the tough situation of independent and arthouse films.” Hardly surprisingly, the winning distributors at the box office have been Toho, Toei and Shochiku, holding a firm grip over the top 10 domestic releases. Disney’s animated Oscar winner Frozen had a home-run with Japanese audiences for a solid $105m box office, almost on par with Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises, which topped at an astonishing $120m in 2013, becoming the unchallenged victor last year. As uncontested as the Japanese market seems, strong opportunities do exist for smaller prestige titles and festival

Like Father, Like Son

favourites, such as Yoji Yamada’s historic melodrama The Little House that earned a Silver Bear at the Berlinale for actress Haru Kuroki, and Gaga’s Cannes award-winner Like Father, Like Son. Both performed well in Japan. Yoda underlines the importance of festivals and awards for a bankable outcome on independent films. Gaga, which tops the rankings in overseas acquisitions, recently positioned the release of director Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave to coincide with the film’s Academy Awards run, despite its seemingly tough-sell content for Japan’s filmgoers. “While American slavery is definitely a difficult theme for the local audience, our strategy of releasing the title after its Oscar nomination has been fruitful, with the film on its way to make our $4.9m (¥5bn) expectation. We also reopened S te v e Mc Q u e e n’s Hunger as a limited release due to high demand from the audience and even with one screen release the average outcome has been high,” says Yoda. Gaga’s success has also been ongoing with Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Like Father, Like Son, which has stolen hearts both at home and across the globe, enjoying a $31.3m (¥32bn) domestic box office.

High Kick Angels

The annual report of Gaihai, the association of foreign film importers of Japan, also hammers home the country’s favour towards domestic fare. Out of the 513 foreign films released in 2013, 193 were from the US, followed by Korea (46), UK (30) and France (28). While US cinema steals the show, overseas titles increasingly play in limited releases to a specialised or older arthouse audience, often with an internationally known cast as the major point of attraction. Judy Ahn, head of international at Korean sales company Showbox, says: “We are witnessing a standardised drop in MGs [minimum guarantees] and the release size compared to the past.” Despite the presence of Amazon, iTunes and Hulu alongside domestic outfits such as Tsutaya and VoD service Aoyama Theater, there has not yet been a massive increase in the streaming market. That presents a big opportunity for the future of specialised content. “TV series are getting really popular in Japan, especially our crime series. And as VoD is still very limited, we sell a lot of genre titles straight to DVD,” says Nicolai Korsgaard of Copenhagenbased sales company TrustNordisk, which recently sold Mikkel Norgaard’s thriller The Keeper Of Lost Causes to local distributor Magnet for Japan. But local players are also eager to experiment, says Kawai. “The condition of the home-video market has been tragic, thus we are piloting a collaboration with online portal Niconico with 33 million users for a simultaneous digital and theatrical release for our upcoming High Kick Angels in May.” Gaga has also added VoD to its strategy, expecting the business to pick up despite increasing competition. Yoda says: “We seek a similar effect to window shopping at a department store, aiming to make it a success within a few years. This goes along with Gaga’s branding strategy, in which we will have the audience recognise the films we distribute as the quality s films.” ■

May 2014 Screen International 3 ■

© Sega/Bayonetta Film Club

Japan special Tokyo film fesTival

Bayonetta: Bloody Fate featured at TIFF in 2013

TIFF submIssIons The 27th TIFF is taking Competition section submissions until July 15 through its website Last year, the festival received 1,463 entries from 93 countries and regions, and selected 15 finalists. Lukas Moodysson’s Swedish film We Are The Best! won the Tokyo Sakura Grand Prix. The festival is looking for feature fiction films — including animation — completed after January 1, 2014. Entrants should not have screened in any main competition sections of “competitive feature film festivals (non-specialised)” accredited by the International Federation of Film Producers’ Associations before screening at TIFF. Also, competition films must have their Asian premiere at the festival. World and international premieres are given priority. Japanese films in competition are required to have their world premieres at TIFF. The festival’s prizes comprise: n Tokyo Sakura Grand Prix: $50,000

Drawn to TIFF Tokyo International Film Festival (Oct 23-31) will this year present a special showcase of Japanese animations. Jean Noh reports


fter last year placing a renewed emphasis on discovering Asian talent and supporting Japanese cinema, the 27th Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) will turn the spotlight on Japanese animation. With director-general Yasushi Shiina at the helm for the second year, TIFF is also adding new theatres to the roster, including Kabukiza, the historic home to kabuki drama performances in Ginza, and Toho Cinemas in Nihonbashi, in addition to its established Roppongi Hills location. TIFF (October 23-31) is this year planning a Japanese animation programme with a special focus on commercial animation films, with further details to be announced later this summer. In a country where animated movies earn more money at the box office than live-action films, half of last year’s top 10 hits were local animation releases. Last year’s festival screened local animation titles including Patema Inverted,

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‘With a focus on animation, we hope to get global attention to TIFF and also hope to broaden the audience base for movies’ Yasushi Shiina, TIFF

which Asmik Ace sold to nine territories including the US, France, UK and Germany at TIFFCOM; and Bayonetta: Bloody Fate, which Showgate sold to Taiwan and Korea. “By having a focus on animation, we hope to get global attention to TIFF internationally and also hope to broaden the audience base for movies, as well as to bear good ripple effects in

TIFF HITs In 2013 n Ayumi Sakamoto’s Forma, which won

the best picture prize in the Japanese Cinema Splash section, went on to take the Fipresci jury prize at Berlinale’s Forum. n Koji Fukada’s Competition title Au Revoir L’été picked up awards at Fribourg, Tallinn Black Nights, Hong Kong and Festival des 3 Continents film festivals. n Tetsuichiro Tsuta’s The Tale Of Iya, which earned a special mention in the Asian Future section, won awards at Hong Kong, Tromso and Pan-Asia film festivals.

cash prize to be shared equally by producer and director. n Special jury prize: $20,000 to be

shared equally by producer and director. n Best director, actress and actor prizes:

$5,000 cash prize each. n Best artistic contribution

(photography, sound, art direction, music, script): $5,000 cash prize.

TIFFCOM,” says Shiina. The festival plans to screen the programme at a new location in the Nihonbashi area, which is known as a symbol of the Edo period and as a shopping, dining and office district. It is also close to the Akihabara electronics district that has become a mecca for devoted fans of anime and manga. Organisers are anticipating the Nihonbashi area will take the animation programme to its heart. TIFF is also looking forward to screening a major film at the Kabukiza theatre. “We hope the glamorous atmosphere of Kabukiza will create good chemistry with films and give fabulous excitement to the audience,” says Sanae Koyama, TIFF’s international PR. Owned by Shochiku, Kabukiza is a theatre complex with a history that dates back to the late 19th century. Rebuilt several times after fires, earthquakes and bombings, the theatre is newly reopened after being renovated s last year. n

Japan special TiFFcOM

On the market TIFFCOM (Oct 21-23) continues to attract increasing numbers of buyers and sellers, thanks to its innovative mix of film, TV, music and animation projects. Jean Noh reports


n its 11th edition, the TIFFCOM TV and film market (October 21-23) is settling into its third year on the futuristic island of Odaiba in Tokyo Bay, away from the Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) centre in Roppongi Hills. It is also the market’s second year combining with Tokyo International Music Market (TIMM) and Tokyo International Animation Festival (TIAF) under the umbrella of the Japan Content Showcase. “One of the advantages of TIFFCOM is that it deals with TV, film and animation contents with equal emphasis. Thus, the participants will find it more fulfilling than other markets which feature only films,” says Mika Morishita, director of TIFFCOM. Backed by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), with its recent ‘Cool Japan’ initiative of promoting Japanese content overseas through different policies and programmes, TIFFCOM benefits from the Subsidy for Localization and Promotion of Japanese Contents (J-LOP). The subsidy helps Japanese content to appear at overseas markets with support for costs that include items such as market booth fees, English-language trailers, subtitling and dubbing costs. Last year, Japan Content Showcase housed 316 exhibitors, up 15% year-onyear. The increase was mostly due to local exhibitor numbers going from 121 to 156 with the help of J-LOP. Exhibitors included major local distributors such as Toho, Toei, Shochiku

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and Kadokawa, South Korea’s CJ E&M and Finecut, Spain’s Imagina and the UK’s Shed Media. The event had nine umbrella stands, from Canada, Cambodia, Indonesia, UK, Spain, Malaysia, Taiwan, South Korea and Thailand. The market also grew more festive last year with a Korean reception, Canada’s beer mixer and the Japan Film Commission and Fuji TV’s sake parties at their respective stands. TIFFCOM reports some 27% of exhibition was TV-related while 23% was film, 16% was video/DVD, 9% was music, 8% internet, 5% events and concerts, 3% mobile, 2% publications and 1% was comics. Organisers also report a 109% increase on registered buyers year-onyear. The 1,074 buyers last year included Sundream Motion Pictures from Hong Kong, Eagle International from Taiwan and Madman Entertainment from Australia. Japan Content Showcase announced it saw 4,844 meetings from which, it says, a total deal value of $64.9m was generated last year. Participants came from 26 territories, while 31% of business meetings were with Japanese corporations and 69% were with non-Japanese.

Draw for buyers and sellers “Since Madman is Australia and New Zealand’s major distributor of anime and Japanese film, this market is one we really enjoy attending,” says Tim Anderson, managing director at Madman

TIFFCOM reports a 109% increase on registered buyers year-on-year

‘TIFFCOM deals with TV, film and animation contents with equal emphasis’ Mika Morishita, TIFFCOM

Entertainment. “To have all of our partners assembled in one venue, with accommodation in the same location is hugely convenient. It enables us to cover almost the entire Japanese market in a few days, and the meetings seem to run quite smoothly and efficiently. The nearest ‘major’ market to this for us is MIPCOM. We find that to meet with our Japanese partners at TIFFCOM has the fringe benefit of making MIPCOM a more manageable market, too.” Last year at TIFFCOM, Japan’s Showgate sold Fuminori Kizaki’s feature animation Bayonetta: Bloody Fate, which played in TIFF’s Special Screenings section, to Taiwan’s Proview Entertainment and Korea’s Doki Entertainment. “We were able to screen it during TIFF and the buyers could watch it there. After TIFFCOM, we also sold it to Germany, the UK and Thailand. “I think TIFFCOM is good for us. We can meet many buyers, especially from Asian countries. We had a total of 80 meetings, and Asian companies made up 55 of those,” says Fumiki Yamazaki,

Plans for 2014 Building on the concept of the Japan Content Market, TIFFCOM will this year have an All-Japan Property Booth with local companies from publishing, animation, music and film distribution collaborating jointly. The booth will be a platform for globally popular Japanese properties such as Attack On Titan, in all its versions of film, manga, game, music and more. Organisers also plan to expand the locations market in TIFFCOM and bring in more film commissions from other countries, in addition to those from Japan. The government, with its ‘Cool Japan’ strategy, will be promoting a ‘Visit Japan’ campaign to attract more international producers to shoot on location in Japan. In addition, TIFFCOM this year will also have a newly established script market at which the Japanese rightsholders of a script — namely, publishing companies — will pitch their original script to international film producers. “We’d like to put an emphasis, through our new programmes, on approaching other industries and fields, including publication, merchandise manufacturers, the apparel industry and others,” says TIFFCOM director Mika Morishita. Japan Content Showcase will run October 21-23 at the Grand Pacific Le Daiba hotel on Tokyo Bay.

Showgate’s general manager, licensing division international sales. She adds: “Hong Kong Filmart and Cannes Film Festival are also good for us. The schedule is good [with TIFFCOM].” Sitting on the festival and market calendar between Toronto, Busan and the American Film Market (AFM), TIFFCOM has always enjoyed a synergy with its affiliated festival, TIFF. The festival supports English subtitling fees for Jap-

anese Cinema Splash films and it also provides Japanese subtitling for foreign films that have not yet been picked up for Japan. Local buyers can go see the films with subtitles in their native language, screening to local audiences, and gauge the effect. Local buyers also have the option of using TIFF’s subtitle work after buying a film. Although this year the market starts two days before the festival begins —

‘To have all of our partners assembled in one venue, with accommodation in the same location is hugely convenient’ Tim Anderson, Madman Entertainment

Participants can meet at the market in a social capacity

ending on TIFF’s opening day — Morishita says they are making provisions for that. “This year we’re planning to provide the buyers with more opportunities to watch TIFF films. A number of films selected from TIFF will be showcased at Odaiba exclusively for the TIFFCOM participants and we’re also planning to have a VoD system for buyers, which will enable them to watch some TIFF films online for a certain period after TIFFCOM. Also, the local buyers can watch the films with audiences throughout the festival,” she explains. “One of the most important efforts for the Japanese government to promote cultural contents overseas is hospitality for guests from other countries. This will be the first year for TIFFCOM to open two days prior to the opening of Tokyo International Film Festival. Since TIFF will start on the last day of the market, we’re planning to invite the market guests to TIFF’s opening event, which was difficult to schedule in previs ous years,” adds Morishita. n

May 2014 Screen International 7 n

Book your Cannes 2014 advertising now

Published May 14-21



Japan special Yasushi shiina


asushi Shiina, a 20-year industry veteran of companies such as Ka d o k awa P i c t u re s, wa s appointed director general of Tokyo International Film Festival and TIFFCOM in 2013. In his first year on the job, he revamped the programme sections and introduced the new Asian Future and Japanese Cinema Splash sections — not to mention a new festival logo. How do you think the 2013 festival went, and do you think you’ve implemented your ‘style’ on the festival yet? Yasushi Shiina Last year was my first year as director general of Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF). By serving as a director general throughout the year, I came to truly realise how TIFF is an essential and valuable film festival for creators of content, and how it also has attention from around the world. At the same time, I felt keenly the need to make more effort to raise our profile as an international film festival. Last year, I undertook to reinforce the structure to work together as a team with the Japanese film industry and the government. This year, I will continue to strengthen that structure to enhance industry development, and play a role to encourage and promote cultural exchange through films. Is there anything you still want to improve? YS Firstly, we still need to raise our profile internationally. In order to raise the profile of TIFF as one of the largest and most important film festivals in Asia and to enhance its role and authority, we need to carefully select from quality films submitted from all corners of the world and ensure that award-winning films are rewarded with positive consequences both in the domestic and international film markets. This kind of virtuous cycle is also important to maintain our position as an international film festival that can bring high-quality, world-class films. This year, we’ll focus on commercial animation films, which are an emblem of made-in-Japan content. By having a focus on animation, we hope to bring global attention to TIFF and also to broaden the audience base for movies, as well as to have positive ripple effects in TIFFCOM. Thirdly, we’re expanding the number

‘Our role is to spotlight talented creators and industry professionals, to introduce them to the world, to support them’ Yasushi Shiina, TIFF and TIFFCOM

content markets, and Tokyo is one of the world’s most exciting and fascinating cities, in which the 2020 Olympics will be held. TIFF is held in the heart of Tokyo, the centre of Asian business. Tokyo is also one of the top cities in terms of the number of foreign arthouse films shown. We still have a certain market, good audiences and rich ground for international films. We always make a big effort to offer good hospitality to guests and to have the festival well-organised. From the very first TIFF, we launched the Young Cinema Competition section and still inherit the spirit to discover and support young talent from at home and abroad in current sections such as Asian Future and Japanese Cinema Splash.

Creating the virtuous circle Yasushi Shiina is in his second year as head of Tokyo International Film Festival and multi-content market TIFFCOM. He talks to Jean Noh about his plans for 2014 and beyond of screens. We’ll be extending the excitement of TIFF from the Roppongi area, where it has been held for many years, to Nihonbashi where a new Toho Cinemas complex has recently opened. We decided that such a move and opportunity is essential in order to enrich the quality and quantity of films and related events. What do you think are TIFF’s strengths? YS Japan is one of the world’s largest

What do you think is the role of festivals in general in supporting Asian films? YS Our role is to spotlight talented creators and industry professionals, to introduce them to the world, support them so they can have their films shown widely, and enable them to continue making films both locally and internationally. To make that happen, we believe it is necessary that film festivals co-operate with each other to increase the opportunities for such goals. Do you have any thoughts on trends in festivals worldwide — anything you like or would like to avoid? YS I like that all the international film festivals in the world are now recognising, featuring and highlighting excellent Asian works. I also like the increase of support for co-productions and young industry professionals through workshops and labs. But today, international film festivals and industries are in need of discovering and developing the next talented stars and too much competition between festivals might be an obstacle s to achieving that common goal. n

May 2014 Screen International 9 n

japan special hot titles

The Furthest End Awaits

Cannes 2014: the hit list The hottest Japanese films premiering at Cannes Film Festival, as well as a selection of buzz titles available in the market, are previewed by Jason Gray Five Minutes To Tomorrow Dir Isao Yukisada Director Isao Yukisada (Parade, Go!) is one of Japan’s more Asiafriendly directors. His latest film features a Hitchcockian suspenseromance storyline and a JapanChina cast. In-demand Japanese actor Haruma Miura (The Eternal Zero) plays Ryo, a clock-maker living in Beijing. One day he meets a beautiful woman who has an identical twin. When the two sisters take a trip together and one of them is killed in an accident, neither Ryo nor the other sister’s fiancé (Joseph Chang) are quite sure which one has come back alive. Chinese TV

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star Liu Shi Shi (Badges Of Fury) plays the twins. Five Minutes To Tomorrow is still in post but buyers can view clips and press materials. Contact Toei


The Furthest End Awaits Dir Chiang Hsiu Chiung Taiwanese director Chiang Hsiu Chiung makes her feature narrative debut with this Japan-set drama produced by Toei Studios. Set on the scenic coastline of the Sea of Japan, The Furthest End Awaits tells the emotional story of a woman (Hiromi Nagasaku) who opens a coffee shop, and a single mother (Nozomi

Sasaki) who is struggling to survive; the pair form a precious bond. Chiang is a protege of film-maker Hou Hsiao-hsien, and went on to codirect an award-winning feature documentary about Hou’s cinematographer, Mark Lee Ping Bin, entitled Let The Wind Carry Me. Festival programmers and buyers looking for emerging female directing talent from Asia should contact Toei for access to the invitation-only screening (no press). Contact Toei


Miss Hokusai Dir Keiichi Hara After a hiatus from animation with

live-action film Dawn Of A Filmmaker: The Keisuke Kinoshita Story, Keiichi Hara returns with a tale of another artist. Adapted from the manga of the same name, Miss Hokusai focuses on the remarkably unsung daughter — known as Oei — of legendary painter Hokusai. She is said to have painted many of her father’s later works. Hara parlayed his experience working on Japan’s most popular animated shows, Doraemon and Crayon Shin-chan, into commercial and critical success with 2007’s Summer Days With Coo and 2010’s Colourful, both of which won top animation prizes at home and overseas. With the film now in production, Production I.G will begin sales


Miss Hokusai

Naomi Kawase (left) on the set of Still The Water

in Cannes. Miss Hokusai is slated for release in 2015. Contact Production I.G

Mother Dir Kazuo Umezu Kazuo Umezu is a legendary manga artist in Japan, perhaps best known for his horror comics, some of which have been adapted into J-horror titles including Orochi: Blood, anthology Kazuo Umezu’s Horror Theater and God’s Left Hand, Devil’s Right Hand. Now the 77-year-old icon makes his directorial debut for Shochiku with a meta-infused, spooky tale of a manga artist — based on himself

Five Minutes To Tomorrow

and played by Ainosuke Kataoka — whose late mother’s spirit (Kimie Shingyoji) returns with a vengeance when a pretty young biographer (Mimi Maihane) enters the artist’s life. Buyers looking for a J-horror title that is a little more off-the-wall than usual can see Mother as a market premiere. Contact Shochiku


Still The Water Competition

Dir Naomi Kawase Still The Water marks film-maker Naomi Kawase’s fourth appearance in competition for the Palme d’Or, in addition to serving as a member of

the jury last year. While Kawase’s films have earned plaudits overseas, including a Grand Prix for 2007’s The Mourning Forest, they are extremely personal works with limited commercial appeal. Still The Water looks to combine Kawase’s love of Japan’s cultural rituals and natural settings with a more plotdriven tale of a teenage couple (Nijiro Murakami and Jun Yoshinaga) who come of age as they try to uncover the mystery of a corpse that has appeared on a beach on the Amami Islands. Sales company MK2 picked up worldwide rights in August before the film went into production. Contact MK2 juliette.

Parasyte Part 1 Dir Takashi Yamazaki Coming off of the success of mega-hit The Eternal Zero, Takashi Yamazaki is taking on a two-part adaptation of the smash 1990s manga of the same name. The story sees parasites from space take over their human hosts. The cast includes Shota Sometani and Ai Hashimoto. Buyers can check out a promo reel. Part one is released in December 2014 with the second part to follow next year. Contact Toho


May 2014 Screen International 11 n


japan special hot titles

The World Of Kanako

The Torture Club The Tale Of Princess Kaguya

The Tale Of Princess Kaguya

Yakuza Apocalypse

Directors’ Fortnight

Dir Takashi Miike

Dir Isao Takahata Although less famous internationally than his Studio Ghibli colleague Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata has had an illustrious career in animation, with Grave Of The Fireflies and Pom Poko just two of his masterpieces. After a 14-year hiatus since his last feature, My Neighbours The Yamadas, Takahata returns with this beautiful handdrawn retelling of Japan’s oldest folk tale about a bamboo cutter who discovers a miniature princess inside a stalk. Despite being released in Japan last November, The Tale Of Princess Kaguya’s Directors’ Fortnight screening marks its first festival date. The film opens in France after Cannes through Walt Disney and in the US through GKIDS this autumn. Contact Wild Bunch


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Nikkatsu begins sales of the latest genre shotgun-blast from prolific director Takashi Miike, while the film wraps production. Miike has declared he is going back to his roots for this frenetic fusion of crime and vampire action. Hayato Ichihara (from Miike’s 2008 title God’s Puzzle) stars as a yakuza underling who finds out

The Torture Club Dir Kota Yoshida The concept of this live-action manga adaptation from publishing and movie major Kadokawa is remarkable: Yuzuki (Noriko Kijima) is accepted into a prestigious girls’ school only to be abducted and taken to the school’s torture dungeon where her sexy classmates bind and flog each other. The school-approved

his boss is a blood sucker, only to be bitten before squaring off against foreign assassins. Continuing the relationship forged with Indonesia on Killers, Nikkatsu has cast none other than The Raid’s Mad Dog — Yayan Ruhian — in the role of the overseas opponent. No footage is yet available, but buyers can be assured it will be a wild ride. Contact Nikkatsu


‘torture club’ is actually a training ground for future police and military interrogation experts. But it is only when Yuzuki falls in love with beautiful senior Aoi (Haruna Yoshizumi) that she really gets into trouble. The trailer is jaw-dropping and buyers can see the whole film at the market. The Japanese title translates as The Kinda Cute Iron Maiden. Contact Kadokawa


The World Of Kanako Dir Tetsuya Nakashima Director Tetsuya Nakashima finally returns with a follow-up to his 2010 zeitgeist-capturing high school drama Confessions. The World Of Kanako is based on a controversial novel by Akio Fukamachi and features Japanese youth gone wild as the adults either join in or are left in the dust. Koji Yakusho (13 Assassins) plays a bedraggled ex-cop who goes in search of his missing, estranged teenage daughter Kanako (newcomer Nana Komatsu). He soon finds out that pretty Kanako was far from angelic. Nakashima’s eye-popping anamorphic images are on full display at a time when Japanese films with TV-like visuals are all too common. Producer-distributor Gaga is handling sales for Asia, while Wild Bunch handles the rest of the world. World sales contact Wild Bunch Asia sales contact Gaga s n







*Offer available to new and individual subscribers only, closes 31 May 2014. Overseas rates: UK£82 Rest of World $164

Screen Japan Special 2014  
Screen Japan Special 2014