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Nippon Connection 2011 - Preview on the Festival Program

11th Japanese Film Festival, Frankfurt am Main  April 27 - May 1, 2011


There's only a few weeks left to the starting shot of the eleventh Nippon Connection Film Festival and the preparations are in full swing. From April 27 to May 1, 2011 more than 100 of the latest Japanese short and feature films will find their way to Frankfurt, among them many international premieres with the film makers in attendance. The biggest festival of Japanese film is topped off by a rich and sensuous cultural program. We are happy to reveal a number of the festival's highlights.


In the NIPPON CINEMA program section, fans of the renowned animation studio Ghibli can at last enjoy a new masterpiece. Nippon Connection will present the German premiere of ARRIETTY, with the famous animation artist Hiromasa YONEBAYASHI (key animator of PONYO and SPIRITED AWAY) serving as director for the first time. The screenplay was written by none other than Hayao MIYAZAKI. Keichi HARA's film COLORFUL proves that unique animation films are also created outside Studio Ghibli. The expressiveness of his poetic novel adaptation places him among the most talented anime directors of our time. 


After the success of Kazuyoshi KUMAKIRI and his film NON-KO at the festival of 2009, this year's audience can look forward to SKETCHES OF KAITAN CITY. In his atmospherically dense film, KUMAKIRI refers to a series of short stories by the late author Yasushi SATO. Quite another key is struck in HELL DRIVER: cult director Yoshihiro NISHIMURA (TOKYO GORE POLICE) has staged a splatter film full of non-stop action and a host of zombies. Using various allusions and distinctive ideas, NISHIMURA proves to have a strong grasp of the genre. Nippon Connection will also present the feature debut of German resident artist Hideaki HOSONO as a European premiere. In this bizarre and gaudy debut work, the congenial screenplay having been written by Kankuro KUDO (GO, PING PONG), Tadanobu ASANO plays an author whose friends are involved in a conspiracy for his murder. All premiere films will be eligible for the NIPPON CINEMA AWARD endowed with 2,000 Euros and sponsored for the seventh time already by Bankhaus Metzler. 


In the new program section NIPPON VISIONS (formerly known as Nippon Digital), exhibiting the diversity of Japanese independent film and new digital formats, the festival audience can experience the latest work of Takahisa ZEZE (MOON CHILD, PANDEMIC) who rose to fame in the nineties with his pink films. In the course of four and a half hours, his epic HEAVEN'S STORY depicts the lives of various protagonists, involving them in repeated encounters and confronting them with bitter strokes of fate. In a special feature, Nippon Connection will give a broad insight into the latest graduation projects of the GRADUATE SCHOOL OF FILM AND NEW MEDIA of TOKYO UNIVERSITY OF THE ARTS in Yokohama - one of the most important film academies in Japan, promoting talented newcomers under the direction of Kiyoshi KUROSAWA. Independent animation film is also present at Nippon Connection: the outstanding film MIDORI-KO by Keita KUROSAKA can be qualified as a surrealist masterpiece and has been drawn and animated virtually as a one-man project by the director himself. Animation film group CALF enriches the festival with a practical approach: besides presenting an exclusive film program, they will also invite the audience to their animation workshop. 


The cooperation with JVTA (Japanese Visualmedia Translation Academy) for supporting young film makers will be continued with this year's festival. For the second time, JVTA will donate the NIPPON VISIONS AWARD (formerly known as Nippon Digital Award) which will go to the best feature film of the NIPPON VISIONS section based on the decision of an international expert jury. The winner will be provided with a subtitling for their next film.


NIPPON RETRO is dedicated to the enfant terrible Sion SONO, who made himself known as a poet during his youth and who has been working successfully as a director for 25 years. Many of his films, such as SUICIDE CLUB and NORIKO`S DINNER TABLE, have been shown at international festivals. His virtuosic talent for narration culminated in LOVE EXPOSURE, receiving both the Caligari Film Award and the FIPRESCI Award at the 2009 Berlinale.


Once again, NIPPON CULTURE will offer a wide variety of exciting events ranging from traditional art forms to Japanese pop culture. The Japanese cheerleading troupe „Gamushara-Oendan" will certainly animate the festival audience in their performances and workshops. Many other events will allow an active experience of Japanese culture: The balance of mind and body is fostered in a yoga workshop with Yukari MATSUYAMA, a kendo session with the General Consul of Japan, Toyoei SHIGEEDA, as well as in shiatsu workshops and the  special baby massage workshop provided by aceki e.V.. Another innovation is the NIPPON KIDS section and its workshops, where children can playfully learn about Japanese culture. 


The exhibition on Japanese wrapping design curated by Bianca Beuttel, an artist living in Japan, promises to be a special highlight. You can also experience traditional Japanese dancing and try out some ikebana and origami for yourself. And of course, the festival will not abandon its highly popular classics: culinary indulgence is provided by a cooking workshop and the tea and sake lounge, along with the festival's traditional film breakfast. Nippon Home Cinema with Roberto Cappelluti and many other events at the festival will create a joyful atmosphere.


Adding to numerous lectures and talks with film makers as well as celebrating the 150th anniversary of German-Japanese Friendship, the Department for Japanese Studies at Frankfurt University will hold a colloquium on the topic "Grown Up: All Alone. Life Scripts of a New Generation in Contemporary Literary Texts". 


Friday night will see a unique performance by the outré pop band OSCA from Berlin, while on Saturday, April 30, DJ Hito, who is already a Nippon Connection legend, will make all the party people dance "Walpurgis Night style". 


Nippon Connection is under the patronage of Mrs. Eva Kühne-Hörmann, Hessian Minister of Science and the Arts, Prof. Dr. Dr. Matthias Lutz-Bachmann, Vice President of Goethe University Frankfurt, and the General Consulate of Japan in Frankfurt. Even with its increasing audience response, the internationally renowned festival is still organized on a voluntary basis by the non-profit association Nippon Connection. In order to support the vivid cultural exchange, the festival offers special sustaining memberships. Friends of Nippon Connection are also offered a chance to sponsor specific events in the NIPPON CULTURE section and become active partners of the festival. 



Students' House on Bockenheim Campus Bockenheim (Festival Center), Orfeo's Erben Cinema, Mal Seh'n Cinema, Exhibition Hall 1A, Kunstraum Westend



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