SciFi Japan

    2014 Japan Film Festival of San Francisco Launches July 19th

    Week-Long Live-Action and Anime Festival at NEW PEOPLE Cinema in Conjunction with 2014 J-POP SUMMIT Source: MediaLab press release Official Site: Special Thanks to Erik Jansen

    Meet the teen idol pop group Tokyo Girls’ Style. Photo courtesy of Japan Film Festival of San Francisco.

    The 2014 Japan Film Festival of San Francisco, the only fully-dedicated annual Japanese film celebration for the S.F. Bay Area, returns for its second consecutive year and kicks off during the 2014 J-POP SUMMIT Festival. Set to open on Saturday, July 19th and running thru Sunday, July 27th, the Japan Film Festival of San Francisco (JFFSF) will showcase a variety of unique programs, many as first-run U.S. premieres. The 2014 JFFSF takes place at the NEW PEOPLE Cinema, located inside the NEW PEOPLE J-POP entertainment complex at 1746 Post St., San Francisco, CA 94115. Tickets are $15.00 for most films, unless otherwise noted. Film summaries, trailers, screening times and advance tickets are available at The Japan Film Festival of San Francisco is presented in conjunction with the 2014 J-POP Summit, taking place Saturday July 19th and Sunday July 20th across the city’s historic Japantown district to celebrate the phenomenon of Japanese pop culture with a colorful array of live bands and artists, film premieres, edgy fashion shows, a J-pop dance and singing contest, celebrity appearances and more. Full details are available at Special film screenings taking place during J-POP SUMMIT include J-POP Splash! 2014, a FREE cinema event presented by the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco featuring a colorful feast of music videos by some of the hottest J-Pop artists! Also set to screen at the NEW PEOPLE Cinema during J-POP SUMMIT will be Tokyo Short Shorts: A New Generation of 5 Short Films, as well as Count Five To Dream of You and Kotodama: Spiritual Curse, which both star members of the smash hit teen idol pop group Tokyo Girls’ Style, who will perform at J-POP SUMMIT and also host a special audience Q&A following the film screenings.


    For the 2014 Japan Film Festival of San Francisco, exclusive live-action programs representing a vivid cross-section of the best in new Japanese cinema will have their exclusive U.S. and/or San Francisco premiere at NEW PEOPLE Cinema. Special JFFSF Screenings During 2014 J-POP SUMMIT Festival:

    COUNT FIVE TO DREAM OF YOU – U.S. PREMIERE!!! Saturday, July 19th, 12:00pm - Featuring Special Appearance by Tokyo Girls’ Style! Thursday, July 24th, 7:00pm 2014 | 85 min | with English Subtitles | Directed by Yuki Yamato Starring: Tokyo Girls Style | Distributed by avex entertainment This year`s alluring Guest of Honor, Tokyo Girls’ Style, make their big screen debut taking on the leading parts of this film that takes place at an all-girl private high school where the planning for the beauty pageant is in full swing. The short-lived and unforgettable moments of adolescence that is colored by adoration, impatience and impulses, is brought to life by each student played by the members of Tokyo Girls’ Style.

    Photo courtesy of Japan Film Festival of San Francisco.

    KOTODAMA: SPIRITUAL CURSE – U.S. PREMIERE!!! Sunday, July 20th, 12:00pm - Featuring Special Appearance by Tokyo Girls’ Style! Tuesday, July 22th, 9:15pm 2014 | 105 min| with English Subtitles| Directed by Masayuki Ochiai Starring: TOKYO GIRLS’ STYLE | Distributed by LT Corporation Co.,Ltd. Starring the members from Tokyo Girls’ Style, the story revolves around a high school where students start to gossip about the tragic deaths of former students from a gas accident inside of a mysteriously blocked classroom. Since then, a series of bizarre phenomenon begin to occur. Meanwhile, Hitomi and her friends sneak into an abandoned school for a video shoot without knowing that they are stepping into the underworld. J-POP SPLASH! 2014 Saturday, July 19th, 2:15pm 70 min | Presented by Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco Come check out the special FREE event, J-POP Splash! 2014, a flood of music videos presented by the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco, featuring the hottest J-Pop artists! Enjoy the latest musical acts topping the Japanese pop, rock, and modern charts on the big screen including Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, World Order, Sekai no Owari, Mr. Children, Rip Slyme, and many more! Don`t miss special guest DAICHI`s live performance as the opening act!

    Photo courtesy of Japan Film Festival of San Francisco.

    TOKYO SHORT SHORTS; A NEW GENERATION OF 5 SHORT FILMS – S.F. PREMIERE!!! Saturday, July 19th, 4:00pm 83 min | with English Subtitles Directed by Liliana Sulzbach (A Soccer Story), Shiro Tokiwa (The Eclipse’s Shadow), Seiki Watanabe (DEATH THE LOSER), Satsuki Okawa (Koyuki’s Wandering Football), Yukinori Makabe (TOKYO SKY STORY) Co-presented by SHORT SHORTS Film Festival & Asia Discover the latest big screen talent through a unique collection of five short films taking place in Tokyo and other parts of Japan directed by a new generation of filmmakers. From parallel stories of love unfolding around the world`s tallest tower, Tokyo Skytree, to a surreal comedy of a careless death god that pays a visit in the middle of surgery, these shorts are colorful and they warmly applaud life`s new beginnings and comebacks. Additional Japan Film Festival of San Francisco Live-Action Screenings:

    Photo courtesy of Japan Film Festival of San Francisco.

    ASK THIS OF RIKYU – S.F. PREMIERE!!! Saturday, July 19th, 6:00pm - Featuring Special Appearance by Director Mitsutoshi Tanaka! 2013 | 123 min | with English Subtitles | Directed by Mitsutoshi Tanaka Starring: Ichikawa Ebiz? XI, Miki Nakatani | Distributed by TOEI Based on the award-winning novel, Rikyu Ni Tazuneyo, by Kenichi Yamamoto, the film begins with the final days of Rikyu, the tea master with the most profound influence on chanoyu, the Japanese "Way of Tea" tradition, who was ordered to commit ritual suicide by the chancellor Hideyoshi Toyotomi. Who was Rikyu -- who inspired fear in the most powerful man of his time?

    Photo courtesy of Japan Film Festival of San Francisco.

    BON LIN – U.S. PREMIERE!!! Friday, July 25th, 7:00pm 2014 | 91 min | with English Subtitles | Directed by Keiichi Kobayashi Starring: Ema Sakura, Mahiro Takasugi | Distributed by FULMOTELMO Director Keiichi Kobayashi`s second feature film is a surprisingly pleasant and refreshing road movie about a young couple in Akihabara, the world-renowned holy ground for Otaku culture and anime fandom. Natsuko, a.k.a. BON, an eccentric Boys` Love (BL) and online game nerd girl, heads to Tokyo along with LIN, her longtime game-playmate, in order to save her best friend MIYU, who seems to be suffering from an abusive boyfriend she lives with.

    Photo courtesy of Japan Film Festival of San Francisco.

    CROWS: EXPLODE – U.S. PREMIERE!!! Thursday, July 24th, 9:00pm; Sunday, July 27th 12:00pm 2014 | 129 min | with English Subtitles | Directed by Toshiaki Toyoda Starring: Masahiro Higashide | Distributed by TBS Co-presented by SF IndieFest Based on the popular "school of punk" manga by Hiroshi Takahashi, CROW: EXPLODE boldly ignites the gang wars in the delinquent schoolyards of Japan. The deadly road battle quietly begins when lone wolf Kazeo Kaburagi transfers to the notorious Suzuran High School. He quickly establishes himself as a fearless fighter, though he has no interest in the power struggle that encircles him.

    Photo courtesy of Japan Film Festival of San Francisco.

    KANZABURO THE MOVIE – S.F. PREMIERE!!! Sunday, July 27th, 4:50pm 2013 | 95 min | with English Subtitles | Directed by Matsuki Tsukuru Starring: Nakamura Kanzabur? XVIII | Distributed by PONY CANYON This rare documentary features Nakamura Kanzabur? XVIII, a popular Kabuki actor who died of cancer at the age of 57 in 2012. With nearly 7,000 hours of footage that captured his life journey, the film takes us through his enthusiastic life as one of the greatest Kabuki Actors of our time, and his personal side as a father of two sons succeeding his path as descendants of the family with a long history in Kabuki tradition.

    PECOROSS’ MOTHER AND HER DAYS – S.F. PREMIERE!!! Saturday, July 26th, 2:10pm 2013 | 113 min | with English Subtitles | Directed by Azuma Morisaki Starring : Ryo Iwamatsu, Harue Akagi | Distributed by Tidepoint Pictures Based on the autobiographical comic by Yuuichi Okano, this heart-warming comedy depicts a middle-aged comic artist Pecoross` humorous daily life with his hapless mother, Mitsue, who has dementia that began soon after her husband passed away 10 years before. Directed by Azuma Morisaki, the oldest active filmmaker in Japan at the age of 85, the film was critically acclaimed as one of the best movies of 2013 in Japan.

    Photo courtesy of Japan Film Festival of San Francisco.

    SILVER SPOON – S.F. PREMIERE!!! Tuesday, July 22rd, 7:00pm 2013 | 111 min | with English Subtitles | Directed by Keisuke Yoshida Starring: Kento Nakajima (Sexy Zone) | Distributed by TBS Based on the bestselling manga by Hiroshi Arakawa, SILVER SPOON centers around an isolated agricultural high school in Hokkaido at the northern end of Japan. Kengo is a freshman with an inferiority complex due to his failure to meet his fathers` expectation. He finds himself to be a misfit among eager students from farmers’ families, but he gradually discovers his own perspective on life through farming and friendship.

    A STORY OF YONOSUKE – S.F. PREMIERE!!! Saturday, July 26th, 7:00pm 2012 | 160 min | with English Subtitles | Directed by Shuichi Okita Starring: Kengo Kora, Yuriko Yoshitaka | Distributed by NIKKATSU Corporation Co-presented by San Francisco Film Society A STORY OF YONOSUKE is a beautiful endearing film that reminds us of the incredible impact one person can have on the lives of others. Yonosuke, an 18-year old university freshman just moving to Tokyo, attracts people with his loving character. Set in the 80’s, the story is connected to the modern day by four friends of Yonosuke. Each have lost contact with him somehow, but are pleasantly reminded of their time together.

    Photo courtesy of Japan Film Festival of San Francisco.

    A TALE OF SAMURAI COOKING: A TRUE LOVE STORY – S.F. PREMIERE!!! Friday, July 25th, 9:00pm; Sunday, July 27th, 2:20pm 2013 | 121 min | with English Subtitles | Directed by Yuzo Asahara Starring: Aya Ueto, Kengo Kora | Distributed by GAGA A once-divorced woman named O-haru remarries into the Funaki family, generations of trusted samurai chefs that serve the lord of the Kaga Domain. Her husband Yasunobu is the young heir of the family, however, his cooking skills and passion aren’t up to par. With the full support of her new mother-in-law, O-haru takes it upon herself to help Yasunobu find his way to become a great chef and maintain pride of his family tradition.

    WHY DON’T YOU PLAY IN HELL? – S.F. PREMIERE!!! Sunday, July 20th, 6:00pm 2013 | 129 min | with English Subtitles | Directed by Sion Sono Starring: Jun Kunimura, Shinichi Tsutsumi, Hiroki Hasegawa | Distributed by Drafthouse Films Co-presented by CAAM WHY DON’T YOU PLAY IN HELL? is among Sono’s best work as his trademark outrageous-style is infused with his affection for 35mm and Japanese cinema. The Fuck Bombers are an eager group of wannabe filmmakers whose dream of making movies comes crashing down. Circumstances have brought them to this fateful moment where they’ll be able to film WHY DON’T YOU PLAY IN HELL?


    JFFSF complements its roster of live-action programs with 5 additional anime features, several to be presented as first-run U.S. premieres. The Festival has partnered with leading anime distributors Aniplex, Nippon Television, Sentai Filmworks, and VIZ Media to offer a must-see line-up. Special JFFSF Anime Screenings During 2014 J-POP SUMMIT Festival:


    SHORT PEACE Sunday, July 20th, 2:45pm 2013 | 68 min | with English Subtitles Directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, Shuhei Morita, Hiroaki Ando, Hajime Katoki Distributed by Sentai Filmworks The inspiring anime omnibus SHORT PEACE finds a lone traveler confronted by unusual spirits inside an abandoned shrine in the film, POSSESSIONS, while a mysterious white bear defends the village from a red demon in the brutal short, GAMBO. Men battle deadly robotic tanks in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo in A FAREWELL TO ARMS, and a spectacular tale of love, honor and firefighting in ancient Japan unfolds in COMBUSTIBLE.


    Additional Japan Film Festival of San Francisco Anime Screenings: ANOHANA THE MOVIE: THE FLOWER WE SAW THAT DAY Monday, July 21st, 8:15pm 2013 | 99 min | with English Subtitles | Directd by Tatsuyuki Nagai Voices: Miyu Irino, Ai Kayano | Distributed by Aniplex Don`t miss the last chance to see ANOHANA THE MOVIE on the big screen! The film is a tale of five childhood friends that have drifted apart from one another following the tragic death of their mutual friend Meiko "Menma" Honma. When "Menma" appears as a ghost and says that she cannot pass onto afterlife unless she is granted one last wish, time that has stood still begins to slowly move again.

    BERSERK THE GOLDEN AGE ARC III: THE ADVENT – U.S. PREMIERE!!! Wednesday, July 23th, 7:00pm & Sunday, July 27nd, 7:00pm 2013 | 110 min | with English Subtitles | Directed by Toshiyuki Kubooka Voices: Hiroaki Iwanaga, Takahiro Sakurai | Distributed by VIZ Media The horrifying conclusion to the Golden Age anime trilogy unfolds in a magnificently violent nightmare, signifying the birth of new era where darkness outshines the light. It’s been a year since Griffith’s imprisonment by the Kingdom of Midland. Once praised as the saviors of the Midland, The Band of the Hawk has been on the run and is on the brink of breaking apart. Much to everyone’s surprise, Guts returns to the Hawks and the search for Griffith begins!

    GARDEN OF WORDS – S.F. PREMIERE!!! Monday, July 21st, 7:00pm & Wednesday, July 23th, 9:15pm 2013 | 46 min | with English Subtitles | Directed by Makoto Shinkai Voices: Kana Hanazawa, Miyu Irino | Distributed by Sentai Filmworks Directed by Makoto Shinkai, this poignant film captures glowing moments from rainy season in Tokyo, unfolding a gentle tale of youth, love and unspoken words. When Takao, a 15-year old high school student who dreams of becoming a show designer, decides to skip school one day in favor of sketching in a rainy garden, he has no idea how much his life will change when he encounters a mysterious older woman named Yukino.

    Photo courtesy of Japan Film Festival of San Francisco.

    HUNTER X HUNTER: THE LAST MISSION – U.S. PREMIERE!!! Saturday, July 26th, 12:00pm 2013 | 97 min | with English Subtitles | Directed by Keiichiro Kawaguchi Voices: Megumi Han, Mariya Ise, Keiji Fujiwara | Distributed by Nippon Television Based on the bestselling manga series by Yoshihiro Togashi (creator of YuYu Hakusho), Gon and his friends visit the Battle Olympia tournament at Heavens Arena, where there`s an unexpected raid by an armed group called the Shadow Squad. The group`s leader, Jed, wants payback for the murder of his men by Netero. "Death to all Hunters!" declares Jed as he captures Netero. In order to rescue his friend, Gon must defeat Jed and his powerful mind force to unveil the Hunter Association`s dark secret!


    Launched in 2013, Japan Film Festival of San Francisco is the first and only fully-dedicated Japanese film event for the SF Bay Area, will feature a colorful mix of narratives, anime and documentary film premieres and exclusive screenings with special guest appearance at the NEW PEOPLE Cinema in SF Japantown from July 19 (Sat) through 27 (Sun), 2014. More details and ticket information available at

    About J-POP SUMMIT Festival

    Launched in 2009, J-POP SUMMIT Festival is an annual street fair held in San Francisco, CA that celebrates Japanese popular culture. By introducing the latest in Japanese music, film, art, fashion, gaming, anime, food, as well as niche subcultures, the festival has become a prominent platform to showcase the latest pop trends and creative innovations from Japan. The 5th annual J-POP SUMMIT held in July 2013 welcomed more than 80,000 attendees, making it one of the largest Japanese festivals in the United States. In addition to the original Festival held in Japantown, new attractions include the J-POP LIVE AT UNION SQUARE concert in downtown San Francisco, the Bay Area’s premier dedicated Japan Film Festival of San Francisco, and sake-tasting and fine foods events at the POP GOURMET Food Festival, which have each further enriched the experience. Additional information about J-POP SUMMIT Festival is available at

    About NEW PEOPLE Cinema

    NEW PEOPLE Cinema is a 143-seat cinema located in the underground floor of NEW PEOPLE in San Francisco. Equipped with a cutting-edge HD digital projection and THX-certified sound system, NEW PEOPLE Cinema is home for local film festivals and entertaining events.

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