SciFi Japan

    Tribute Animation Festival for Japan Debuts in NYC with Premiere Pixar Short

    Source: Japan Society Official Site: Special Thanks to Shannon Jowett Films for Hope ** Curated by Justin Leach with Appearances by Enrico Casarosa and Dai Sato ** Sunday, September 11, 2011, 1:00-8:00 pm, at Japan Society 333 East 47th Street New York, NY 10017-2399 New York, NY – Conceived and developed in response to the disasters following the March 11 earthquake in Japan, Films for Hope is a showcase of thrilling, diverse short animated films from around the world celebrating the creativity of artists inspired by Japanese animation techniques and storytelling. Taking place Sunday, September 11, at Japan Society, Films for Hope commemorates the half year point after the earthquake, as well as the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. “This is a time of mourning and remembrance in the U.S. and Japan, with rebuilding efforts in both countries still underway,” notes curator Justin Leach. “This series of films captures the spirit of possibility and the incredible invention that ushers us through seemingly insurmountable challenges and makes us more resilient on the other side of tragedy.” With over 30 shorts from countries such as France, Spain, the U.K. Germany, Poland, Taiwan, China, Canada, the U.S. and Japan, the festival features the East Coast premiere of Pixar’s latest animated short film, LA LUNA. Director Enrico Casarosa appears in person to discuss the creation and production of LA LUNA, as well as his efforts to help Japan through grassroots fundraising. In addition, Dai Sato presents his new animated feature FIVE NUMBERS! (Norageki!), a U.S. premiere, and discusses his efforts to help those impacted by the earthquake and share his thoughts on how the disasters will impact Japan’s animation industry in the years to come. The one-day festival is comprised of four programs. The first two are family-friendly and suitable for all ages, including ONCE UPON A DREAM: KIDS BLOCK ( 1:00-2:00 pm) and KOMANEKO: THE CURIOUS CAT (2:30-3:30). Programs 3 and 4 are recommended for ages 13+ due to some violence and mature themes. They are SECTOR ANIMAUTEURS (4:00-5:15) and the centerpiece presentation LA LUNA and FIVE NUMBERS! (5:30-7:00). The final program is followed by a reception. Japan Society is located at 333 East 47th Street between First and Second avenues (accessible by the 4/5/6 and 7 subway at Grand Central or the E and V subway at Lexington Avenue). Tickets to individual programs are $10/$7 members, students and seniors. A ONE-DAY PASS including all four screenings is available for $34/$24 Japan Society members, students & seniors. Half of all ticket sales go to the Japan Earthquake Relief Fund. All films shown have been graciously donated in support of the project. Curated by Justin Leach, the festival is a joint initiative of Japan Society’s Film Program and the U.S.-Japan Innovators Network. Tickets can be purchased in person at Japan Society, by calling the box office at 212-715-1258, or by visiting For more information, call 212-832-1155 or visit the website. Japan Society would like to thank Robot Communications, Inc. for their generous support of Films for Hope.


    Program 1: ONCE UPON A DREAM: KIDS BLOCK 1pm-2pm Featuring LE ROYAUME by Oussama Bouacheria, Julien Chheng, Sébastien Hary, Aymeric Kevin, Ulysse Malassagne, Franck Monier, Nunos Alves Rodrigues, MOBILE by Verena Fels, HAPPY BOGEYS 1 by Takashi Kurihara, PARAPHENALIA by Sabrina Cotugno, DREAMGIVER by Tyler Carter, HAPPY BOGEYS 2 by Takashi Kurihara, BURNING SAFARI by Vincent Aupetit/Jeanne Irzenski/Florent De La Taille/Maxime Maleo/Aurelien Predal/Claude-William Trebutien, SALESMAN PETE by Marc Bouyer, Max Loubaresse, Anthony Vivien, HAPPY BOGEYS 3 by Takashi Kurihara, THE ARCTIC CIRCLE by Kevin Parry, LIZARD PLANET by Tomoyoshi Joko, HAPPY BOGEYS 4 by Takashi Kurihara, SHELL OUT by Sunmee Dong, GULP by Sumo Science, and OUT OF SIGHT by Ya-Ting Yu. This Program is suitable for all ages. Program 2: KOMANEKO: THE CURIOUS CAT 2:30pm-3:30pm Komaneko by Tsuneo Goda 2006, 60 min., 35mm, color. Directed by Tsuneo Goda. No dialogue. Komaneko spends her days in her attic making films with her handmade dolls. This delightful puppet animation features five short episodes from the director of the DOMO-KUN series. Komaneko’s pastel hues, kawaii characters and storylines delight both children and adults alike. This Program is suitable for all ages. Program 3: Sector Animauteurs 4pm-5:15pm Featuring RAIN TOWN by Hiroyasu Ishida, CAFFEINE by Danae Diaz, HAPPY BOGEYS 5 by Takashi Kurihara, IN A PIG`S EYE by Atsushi Wada, HAPPY BOGEYS 6 by Takashi Kurihara, PATHS OF HATE by Damian Neno2, HAPPY BOGEYS 7 by Takashi Kurihara, KEY LIME PIE by Trevor Jimenez, KUNG FU COOKING GIRLS by Cloud Yang, GRAND CENTRAL by Charlotte Cambon, Théo Guignard, Noé Lecombre, Hugo Moreno, Soizic Mouton, BROOKLYN by Alice Bissonet, Benjamin Moreau, Corentin Penloup, Marion Roussel, Louis Thomas, HAPPY BOGEYS 8 by Takashi Kurihara, ALMA by Rodrigo Blaas, THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER by David Francois, Rony Hotin, Jeremie Moreau, Baptiste Rogron, Gaelle Thierry, Mailys Vallade, and LA MAISON EN PETITS CUBES by Kunio Kato (2009 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film). This Program is suggested for ages 13+ for some violence and mature content in PATHS OF HATE and KUNG FU COOKING GIRLS. Program 4: LA LUNA and FIVE NUMBERS! 5:30pm-7pm LA LUNA, New York Premiere 2011, 6 min 51sec., 35 mm, color, directed by Enrico Casarosa. The timeless fable of a young boy coming of age in the most peculiar of circumstances. Tonight is the very first time his papa and grandpa are taking him to work. In an old wooden boat they row far out to sea, and with no land in sight, they stop and wait. A big surprise awaits the little boy as he discovers his family`s most unusual line of work. Should he follow the example of his papa or his grandpa? Will he be able to find his own way in the midst of their conflicting opinions and timeworn traditions? FIVE NUMBERS! U.S. Premiere 2011, 24 min., DVD, color, directed by Hiroaki Ando, script by Dai Sato. Four ex-convicts wake up in the ultimate prison. The guards are all gone and they do not know why they are there. A race to escape ensues, and the only person who seems to know the way out is the fifth prisoner, a mysterious old man with a black cat. This Program is suggested for ages 13+ for mature content in FIVE NUMBERS! The screenings are followed by a conversation with director Enrico Casarosa (LA LUNA) and scriptwriter Dai Sato (FIVE NUMBERS!, COWBOY BEBOP, SAMURAI CHAMPLOO) on the making of their latest films and how the aftermath of the March 11 disasters in Japan may influence Japan’s animation industry.

    Special Guests

    Enrico Casarosa is Director/Head of Story for Pixar Animation Studios. He joined Pixar in January 2002. He began working as a story artist on CARS and the Academy Award-winning feature RATATOUILLE. Casarosa’s next project was as story artist on Disney•Pixar’s Academy Award-winning feature film UP. Casarosa made his directing debut with the short film, LA LUNA, which will screen with the Disney•Pixar feature film BRAVE in 2012. Casarosa counts his early influences in Hayao Miyazaki’s work and grew up watching Miyazaki’s television series in Italy. Born and raised in Genoa, Casarosa moved to New York City in his twenties, to study animation at the School of Visual Arts and Illustration at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Before coming to Pixar, Casarosa worked as a storyboard artist at Blue Sky Studios on ICE AGE and ROBOTS. He also worked as a background designer and storyboard artist for a number of Disney Channel Television Series’ including 101 DALMATIANS and PB&J OTTERS. Dai Sato is an anime scriptwriter for Storyriders. Dai Sato started as a runner at several of Tokyo`s leading animation studios and TV stations before establishing a name for himself in TV. He has collaborated with some of Japan`s best-known anime writers, and used this experience in game development projects and interactive club events. He set up the Tokyo-based indie label Frogman Records in 1993, and in 1996 he created the Tokyo and London-based tech/anime/fashion/game consultancy group FROGNATION with Kengo Watanabe and Lynn Robson. Then, in the summer of 2007, Dai left FROGNATION and started his own company, Storyriders. An experienced journalist, he has regular weekly and monthly columns in many of Tokyo`s leading game and culture magazines. Dai has been a writer for critically and popularly acclaimed television series and films such as TEKKEN: BLOOD VENGEANCE (2011), HALO LEGENDS (2010), EDEN OF THE EAST (2009), SAMURAI CHAMPLOO (2004), CASSHERN (2004), GHOST IN THE SHELL: STAND ALONE COMPLEX (2004), and COWBOY BEBOP (1998). Dai is a member of Japan Society’s U.S.-Japan Innovators Network. Films for Hope is founded by Justin Leach, a 12 year veteran of the animation industry who has worked in on such films as: GREAT EXPECTATIONS, PALMETTO, BUNNY, ICE AGE, GHOST IN THE SHELL 2: INNOCENCE, GHOST IN THE SHELL 2.0, STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS, ICE AGE 3, Rio, ICE AGE 4 (in production), and LEAFMEN (in production). Leach lived and worked in Japan for nearly three years as a CG Creator at Production I.G. He currently works at Blue Sky Studios as a Rigging Supervisor. He is a member of Japan Society’s U.S.-Japan Innovators Network.

    About Japan Society

    The Japan Society Film Program offers a diverse selection of Japanese films, from classics to contemporary independent productions. Its aim is to entertain, educate and support activities in the Society`s Arts & Culture programs. The Film Program has included retrospectives of great directors, thematic series and many U.S. premieres. Some original film series curated by Japan Society have traveled to other U.S. venues in tours organized by the Film Program. Established in 1907, Japan Society has evolved into North America`s major producer of high-quality content on Japan for an English-speaking audience. Presenting over 100 events annually through well established Corporate, Education, Film, Gallery, Language, Lectures, Performing Arts and Innovators Network programs, the Society is an internationally recognized nonprofit, nonpolitical organization that provides access to information on Japan, offers opportunities to experience Japanese culture, and fosters sustained and open dialogue on issues important to the U.S., Japan, and East Asia. Japan Society’s 2010-2011 Film Programs are generously supported by the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Endowment Fund. Additional support is provided by The Globus Family, Yoshiko and Tim Schilt, David S. Howe, Dr. Tatsuji Namba, Elaine Sheng and Samuel Jamier, and with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, celebrating 50 years of building strong, creative communities in New York State’s 62 counties.
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