The Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre and Shiseido (Canada) Inc. are pleased to announce the inaugural Toronto Japanese Film Festival (TJFF), a two week showcase of the best of Japanese contemporary cinema in Toronto from June 7 to 21, 2012. With the support of its industry sponsor Alliance Films Inc., TJFF acts as a forum to connect Toronto audiences, Japanese filmmakers, industry professionals and supporters.
This new Festival will showcase the finest Japanese films that have been recognized for excellence by Japanese audiences and critics, international film festival audiences and the Japanese Film Academy.
TJFF also aims to continue to focus awareness of and support for the on-going needs of the Japanese people following last year’s earthquake and tsunami. A portion of the proceeds of the festival will go to the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre’s Japan Earthquake Relief Fund which has already raised over $1.5 million for the relief effort.
The Festival will open with the Canadian premiere of Rebirth. Directed by Izuru Narushima and based on the novel by popular Mitsuyo Kakuta, Rebirth garnered 13 Japanese Academy Award nominations including best film of the year.
“We are thrilled to open the inaugural Toronto Japanese Film Festival with Rebirth,” said James Heron, director of the festival and executive director of the JCCC. “It is a powerful film about motherhood and child abduction with searing central performances from Mao Inoue and Hiromi Nagasaku; it was a huge hit with audiences and critics in Japan and I think its universal themes will resonate with Toronto audiences as well.”
Films screening at the Toronto Japanese Film Festival include the Canadian premieres of:
- 99 year-old director Kaneto Shindo’s Postcard, Japan’s nominee for the best foreign language Academy Award, winner of the Grand Prize at the Mainichi Film Awards and Kinema Jumpo magazines’ best film of 2011
- Director Hisako Matsui’s Leonie, a Japanese-American co-production on the life of iconic sculptor Isamu Noguchi’s relationship with his American mother in Japan. The film stars Emily Mortimer (Shutter Island, Hugo), Shido Nakamura (Letters from Iwojima) and Christina Hendricks, (Drive, Mad Men). Director Hisako Matsui will be attending the festival to introduce and discuss her film.
- Director Hitoshi Inoue’s exuberant comedy Moteki: Love Strikes!, nominated for 4 Japanese Academy Awards, and selected on the Top Films of 2011 by The Japan Times, Kinema Jumpo and Eiga Geijutsu.
Other films include Sion Sono’s Guilty of Romance, Masato Hara’s Chronicle of my Mother (winner of Special Jury Prize at the 2011 Montreal International Film Festival), Takashi (13 Assassins) Miike’s Ninja Kids, and Mami Sunada’s Ending Note: Death of a Japanese Salesman.