LA EigaFest This Weekend

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Left: “The Floating Castle.” (©2011 “The Floating Castle” Film Partners) Right: “Asura.” (© George Akiyama, ©2012 “Asura” Film Partners)

LA EigaFest, a Japanese film festival based in Los Angeles and hosted by the Japan Film Society, will be held from Friday, Dec. 14, to Sunday, Dec. 16, at the Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd.

“Rurouni Kenshin” (© Nobuhiro Watsuki/Shueisha, ©2012 “Rurouni Kenshin” Film Partners)

Its main objectives are to showcase Japanese and Japanese-influenced films that appeal to the broad American audiences; introduce and promote new and upcoming filmmakers and talent to the Hollywood community; and enhance the communication and relationship between the U.S. and Japanese film industries and thus create business opportunities.

“Eiga,” which means “film” in Japanese, was chosen to be included in the name of the film festival in hope that this would become an iconic term and a symbol of the world of Japanese cinema.

The lineup is as follows:

Feature Films

• “Rurouni Kenshin” (るろうに剣心), directed by Keishi Otomo, on Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m. 134 minutes. Based on the international best-selling manga, this film stars up-and-coming young actor Takeru Sato as the deadly but gentle (and sometimes goofy) wandering samurai Kenshin Himura. Also starring Emi Takei, Munetaka Aoki, Koji Kikkawa, Yu Aoi. Preceded by opening ceremony at 7 p.m. and followed by Q&A with Otomo and Aoki at 10 p.m. and reception at 10:30 p.m.

“Roadside Fugitive” (©2012 SR3 Crew)

• “Roadside Fugitive” (SRサイタマノラッパー ロードサイドの逃亡者), directed by Yu Irie, on Dec. 15 at 11:45 a.m. 110 minutes. The third installment in a trilogy about a group of countryside hip-hop amateurs who have dreams of making it as rappers in the big city. While they can’t seem to escape the backwaters from which they emerged, they find their way to an open-air rap concert with the chance for one more comeback. Starring Ryosuke Komakine, Shingo Mizusawa, Eita Okuno, Akihiro Kitamura. (Contains adult language; viewer discretion advised.) Q&A with Kitamura follows.

• “Rakugo Eiga” (らくごえいが), directed by Mikihiro Endo, Issey Matsui and Yuichiro Sakashita, on Dec. 15 at 2:30 p.m.  A modern adaptation of three rakugo tales presented in three short films starring Yumiko Tajima, Takayuki Yamada and Takako Kato. Sanshiro Katsura, a master of rakugo (traditional humorous storytelling), will perform live. There will be a Q&A with Endo.

• “The Kirishima Thing” (桐島、部活やめるってよ), directed by Daihachi Yoshida, on Dec. 15 at 5 p.m. 103 minutes. A star volleyball player named Kirishima inexplicably quits the team and disappears, creating reverberations that echo across his high school campus and affecting his buddy, girlfriend and classmates. Starring Masahiro Higashide, Mizuki Yamamoto, Ryunosuke Kamiki, Ai Hashimoto.

• “Helter Skelter” (ヘルタースケルター), directed by Mika Ninagawa, on Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m. 127 minutes. Lilico (Erika Sawajiri) is Japan’s top model and the envy of every high school girl in the country. But she is the result of advanced plastic surgery methods, and her life unravels when her manufactured body begins to deteriorate. Also starring Nao Omori, Shinobu Terashima, Kaori Momoi. (Contains graphic violence and nudity. Viewer discretion advised.) Q&A with Ninagawa and Momoi follows.

• “Thermae Romae” (テルマエ・ロマエ), directed by Hideki Takeuchi, on Dec. 15 at 10:15 p.m. 108 minutes. Lucius (Hiroshi Abe) is a bathhouse architect in 2nd-century Rome. Having difficulty coming up with a design that will please the emperor, he comes across a time-traveling portal and is whisked away to a bathhouse in present-day Tokyo, where he marvels at the modern bath culture of the Japanese. Also starring Aya Ueto, Masachika Ichimura.

“Helter Skelter” (©2012 “Helter Skelter” Film Partners).

• “Asura” (アシュラ ), directed by Keiichi Sato, on Dec. 16 at 1:30 p.m. 75 minutes. In this animated film set in 15th-century feudal Japan, little Ashura (voiced by Masako Nozawa) survives being burned alive and teaches himself to survive by killing and eating those unfortunate enough to cross his path. When a young woman and a priest try to bring out his human side, he must decide if he can trust them. Also starring Megumi Hayashibara, Kinya Kitaoji. (Contains graphic violence. Viewer discretion advised.)

• “Wolf Children” (おおかみこどもの雨と雪), directed by Mamoru Hosoda, on Dec. 16 at 6 p.m. 118 minutes. In this animated film, a woman falls in love with a man who has the ability to alternate between human and wolf form. A tragedy leaves her to care for a son and a daughter who must grapple with who they are. Cast includes Aoi Miyazaki, Takao Osawa.

“Thermae Romae” (©2012 “Thermae Romae” Film Partners)

• “The Floating Castle” (のぼうの城), directed by Isshin Inudo and Shinji Higuchi, on Dec. 16 at 8:15 p.m. 145 minutes. In 1590, warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi (Masachika Ichimura) seeks to unify Japan under his rule and sends troops to take one of the last holdouts, Oshi Castle, which lies in an area surrounded by an enormous lake. Only 500 men led by Narita Nagachika (Mansai Nomura) face an army of 20,000. Also starring Nana Eikura, Hiroki Narimiya, Yusuke Kamiji, Koichi Sato.

Competition Shorts

Dec. 16 at 3:15 p.m.

• “Yukuharu,” directed by Jason Gray

• “Sacrifice,” directed by Ikuma Horii

“Rakugo Eiga” (©2012 “Rakugo Eiga” Film Partners)

• “Nuku Nuku” (ぬくぬくの木), directed by Shoh Kataoka

• “Battle on the Underground” (揺れに揺られて、揺られてゆらり), directed by Yukinori Makabe

• “Famiry” (カリカゾク), directed by Taishi Shiode

• “Edo of the Dead,” directed by Kiyoshi Yamamoto

Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia Selection

• “Mother of the Groom” (ニービチの条件), directed by Tsukasa Kishimoto

• “Mo ikkai” (もう一回), directed by Atsuko Hirayanagi

• “Legend of Family” (伝説の家族), directed by Toshiyuki Teruya

“The Kirishima Thing” (©2012 “Kirishima” Film Club, © Ryo Asai/Shueisha)

• “Trobow” (トゥルボウ), directed by Shohei Tada

Top Chefs: The Wide World of Japanese Food Anime

Dec. 16 at 11 a.m. Co-presented by Japan Visualmedia Translation Academy

• “Oishinbo, Episode 9: The Soul of Sushi” (寿司の心), directed by Masato Sato

• “Toriko, Episode 2: The Secluded Monster! Toriko, Capture the Garara Croc!” (秘境の巨獣!トリコ、ガララワニを捕獲せよ!), directed by Akifumi Zako

• “Mister Ajikko, Episodes 4 and 5: Ramen Battle!” (秘伝の味・ラーメン勝負! / 熱闘・ラーメン祭り!), directed by Sei Ikeda and Yuji Yamaguchi

Business Panel

Dec. 15 from 1:30 to 4 p.m. in the Solano Canyon Room (Mezzanine Level) at Loews Hotel Hollywood, 1755 N. Highland Ave. Hotel valet parking is $15 for up to four hours, $20 for up to 10 hours. Self-parking available at the Hollywood & Highland garage for $10.

“Wolf Children” (©2012 “Wolf Children” Film Partners)

Four professionals in the field of bringing Japanese IP to Hollywood will discuss the current situation, the challenges, and most importantly, the opportunities in this area. Topics will include remakes, co-production, and localization (voice-overs and subtitles). The panelists are:

• Sandy Climan, CEO, All Nippon Entertainment Works
• Roy Lee, producer, Vertigo Entertainment
• Kelly C. Crabb, entertainment lawyer, Sheppard Mullin
• Donald H. Hewitt, English adaptation screenwriter for Studio Ghibli films
• Hayato Mitsuishi (moderator), president, Japan Film Society

Panel discussion will be from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., followed by Q&A at 2:45 p.m. and networking event at 3:30 p.m.

A ramen booth will open in the courtyard at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Festival tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students in advance, $25 and $15 at the door. For more information, email [email protected] or visit www.laeigafest.com.

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