Simon Yam

Simon Yam
With Hong Kong actor Simon Yam at the 2010 NY Asian Film Festival

Friday, June 26, 2015

Special Opening Night Event planned for 2015 J-POP SUMMIT and 2015 Japan Film Festival of San Francisco

Actor Tadanobu Asano

Opening Night Event On August 7th Will Screen Electric Dragon 80000V
Starring Actor Tadanobu Asano And Feature A Live Performance
By Techno DJ Legend Ken Ishii

The 2015 J-POP SUMMIT, the Japanese pop culture event held annually in San Francisco, and the 2015 Japan Film Festival of San Francisco (JFFSF), the Bay Area’s first and only fully-dedicated Japanese film celebration, announce a special Opening Night Event on Friday August 7th at The Castro Theatre.

Advance tickets to the 2015 J-POP SUMMIT/JFFSF Opening Night Event at the Castro Theatre are available now for $25.00 each from

The event begins at 8:00pm kicking off both annual festivals and will feature a special 35mm presentation of director Sogo Ishii’s Electric Dragon 80000V, a rollicking comic-book style action film that stars acclaimed Japanese actor Tadanobu Asano, who is widely known for roles in movies such as Ichi the Killer, Zatoichi, Thor, 46 Ronin, and Battleship.

The evening will be highlighted by a personal appearance by actor Tadanobu Asano, who will introduce the film and participate in an audience Q&A, as well as a live DJ set collaboration by one of Japan’s legendary techno DJ and EDM producers, Ken Ishii, along with Japan’s top anime director Koji Morimoto, widely known as a founder of renowned Studio 4℃ and his works such as Animatrix and Genius Party Beyond.

Tadanobu Asano, Ken Ishii, and Koji Morimoto will also attend the special events at 2015 J-POP SUMMIT as official Guests of Honor on Sunday, August 9th at Fort Mason Center. Appearance times and event details will be announced shortly.

The 2015 J-POP SUMMIT takes place Saturday and Sunday August 8th & 9th at the historic Fort Mason Center in San Francisco’s Marina district. Tickets and V.I.P Passes to the 2015 J-POP SUMMIT are available now at: Throughout the weekend, attendees can enjoy a colorful assortment of Japanese pop-influenced culture, fashion, pop art, live music, technology and travel that will be complemented by celebrity Guests of Honor, anime programming, cosplay and pop idol contests, and a wide assortment of vendors and other programming.

The 2015 Japan Film Festival of San Francisco takes place August 7th to 16th at the city’s historic Castro Theatre and also at NEW PEOPLE Cinema, located in Japantown at 1746 Post St. San Francisco, CA 94115 ( This year’s JFFSF will showcase a dazzling array of new and recent Japanese live-action as well as anime film release, many as first-run U.S. premieres. Tickets and film schedules are available at:

“This Opening Night event will be an unforgettable way to kick off the 2015 J-POP SUMMIT and the Japan Film Festival of San Francisco and we are planning an exciting evening filled with film, music and personal appearances by notable Japanese entertainers,” says Seiji Horibuchi, chairman of the J-POP SUMMIT Festival Committee. “Join us for what promises to be a truly electrifying evening.”

In the film, Electric Dragon 80000V, Dragon Eye Morrison (played by Tadanobu Asano) is a reptile investigator who suffers from an intermittent explosive disorder caused by brain damage he sustained in a childhood accident. He manages to find a way to survive and control his urges to destroy with his love of reptiles and an electric guitar. Meanwhile, Thunderbolt Buddha (played by Masatoshi Nagase), an electric repairman turned vigilante who has acquired powerful electro-conductive powers after sustaining a childhood accident, goes after crime bosses and gangsters that take advantage of electric signals. Holding an obsessive hatred towards Morrison, Thunderbolt Buddha challenges him to a final showdown on the rooftops of Tokyo.

Actor Tadanobu Asano ( is an award winning Japanese actor, who has acted in notable roles in both Japan and the U.S. Most recently, he appeared in the Marvel Studios film, Thor, as well as its sequel Thor: Dark World. His film roles have earned him many awards from international film festivals including his leading role in the Oscar-nominated film, Mongol. He also owns and manages a talent agency called Anore Inc. with his family, and works with many of Japan’s most talented and up-and-coming actors and actresses.

Techno DJ and producer Ken Ishii

Ken Ishii ( is a legendary techno DJ and producer who has composed music for many different media outlets. Rising from the club scene in the 90’s, Ishii’s work first became internationally recognized when his single, “Extra,” won a music video award at the MTV Music Awards in 1996. He is also known for composing the music for the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony as well as various video game soundtracks, He has performed live internationally and enjoys a worldwide fan base in the electronic music scene.

Koji Morimoto ( is widely known as the co-founder of the renowned anime studio, Studio 4°C, and also for his animated works, MAGNETIC ROSE, from the trilogy, MEMORIES, as well as Ken Ishii’s EXTRA (music video), Animatrix, and Genius Party Beyond. In 2011, he received the Cannes Cyber Lions Silver for a French interactive anti-smoking campaign, Attraction. His collaborative work for LEXUS Short Films called, A Better Tomorrow, world-premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013. The same year, he also directed the opening segment for the acclaimed animated omnibus, SHORT PEACE by Katsuhiro Otomo (the creator of Akira).

Thursday, June 25, 2015

PORT OF CALL will be Opening Night Film at NYAFF on Friday; second screening Saturday afternoon

Aaron Kwok, center with glasses, stars in Port of Call
 Port of Call
Director: Philip Yung
Cast: Aaron Kwok, Michael Ning, Jessie Li
Hong Kong, 2015, 121 minutes
Language: Cantonese with English Subtitles
North American Premiere

When: Friday, June 26 at 8:30pm & Saturday, June 27 at 3:00pm

Port of Call will be the Opening Night Film at the 14th New York Asian Film Festival on Friday, June 26th. This screening will be preceded by the presentation of the Star Asia Award to actor Aaron Kwok. (This screening has -- not surprisingly -- sold out. However, there will be a standby line should any tickets go unclaimed.) The film will also be shown on Saturday, June 27th when Kwok will participate in an Intro and Q&A.

Jiamei (Jessie Li, in her film debut) is a sixteen year old girl who has moved to Hong Kong with her mother and sister, while her father stayed in Hunan. She dreams of becoming a model, but ends up as a teen-age prostitue who is brutally murdered. Hong Kong Police Officer Chong (Aaron Kwok, whose 53 credits include The Storm Riders and Cold War) is the detective who heads up the investigation into the crime. With glasses and grey hair, Chong is a grizzled veteran who is all but done in by all the violence he has seen. A loving father to his preteen daughter, one senses that what his job has done to him over the years probably has much to do with why he is separated or divorced.

The film is divided into four sections, and although the identity of the murderer is revealed fairly early on, much mystery remains. There are several jumps back and forth in time, but each shift is identified by year. Director Philip Yung has done a deft job of keeping the narrative clear and moving along. The cinematography is fabulous, which is what one would expect from veteran Christopher Doyle, who is probably best known for his work on several films by Wong Kar Wei.

A gripping crime mystery, Port of Call is a perfect film for opening night at this year's NYAFF. There's teen-age sex and prostitution and some harrowing violence, both described and depicted. There's also some explicit nudity. The film must carry a Category III (adults only) rating in Hong Kong. Given it's subject matter and nude scenes, I can't imagine it being released in any form -- even severely edited -- in Mainland China, except, of course, as an illegal bootleg.

AsianCineFest Rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars; very good indeed.

The two screenings of Port of Call are part of HONG KONG PANORAMA, one of the Special Focus sections of NYAFF, and are presented with the support of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office New York.

The full schedule for NYAFF 2015 can be found here.

FOR THE EMPEROR coming to home video on July 7th from Well Go USA

Well Go USA
For the Emperor
Directed by PARK Sang-jun
South Korea,  , 105 minutes

LEE Min-ki & PARK Sung-woong Star in the Action-Packed
South Korean Crime Thriller from Director PARK Sang-jun

A disgraced baseball player gets mixed up with gangsters and loan sharking in the action-packed crime thriller For the Emperor, debuting on Blu-ray™, DVD and Digital HD July 7th from Well Go USA Entertainment.

The stylish neo-noir drama from Director PARK Sang-jun (Bank Attack) stars LEE Min-ki (Shoot Me in the Heart, Haeundae), PARK Sung-woong (Shadowless Sword, New World), LEE Tae-im (S.I.U.), newcomer HAN Jae-young, and LEE Jae-won (The Man From Nowhere).

Synopsis: A disgraced pro baseball player goes to work for a mob-connected loan shark, rising through the ranks of money and power. But when his love interest disappears, he finds himself in a deadly battle of wits against his bloodthirsty mentor.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A FOOL to open New York Asian Film Festival this Friday, June 26th

A Fool / Yi ge shao zi
Director: Chen Jianbin
Cast: Chen Jianbin, Wang Xuebing, Jin Shijia
China, 2014, 105 minutes 
Language: Mandarin with English subtitles
North American Premiere

When: Friday, June 26th at 6:00 pm

In this, his directorial debut, actor Chen Jianbin plays Latiaozi, an honest goat farmer. One day, in a simple act of kindness and compassion, he gives a young homeless man some food. The youth, who is filthy, apparently mentally retarded and who wears a large broken red visor on his head, follows Latiaozi home. Fearful that the idiot will freeze to death, Latiaozi and his wife reluctantly agree that he should be allowed to sleep in the hut with the sheep.

This development further complicates the life of Latiaozi and his wife, whose son is in jail. They have already given $50,000 dollars (most certainly a subtitle error, as there's no way they could have amassed that amount in U.S. currency) to an intermediary to get the son's sentence reduced. Thus far they have nothing to show for the money they've spent.

The couple's efforts to find the young man's family ultimately bring them in contact with a parade of individuals, each of whom claim that the boy is their relative. Latiaozi's best intentions turn against him as he and his wife are beset with numerous financial claims from these greedy individuals.

A Fool, part drama, part black comedy, raises the question of who, in a world of greed and grifters, is it a kind, honest person who's actually the fool.

AsianCineFest Rating: 3 out of 4 stars; a good film, well-made and thought-provoking

A Fool will be the first film shown at this year's New York Asian Film Festival. Presented with the support of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office New York, Friday's screening is part of HONG KONG PANORAMA, a special focus portion of NYAFF.

The full schedule for NYAFF 2015 can be found here.

VIZ Media at 2015 Anime Expo


A Wide Variety Of Special Guest Appearances, Panel Discussions,
Autograph Sessions And Exclusive And Pre-Street Items Highlight
VIZ Media’s Presence At The Nation’s Largest Anime Convention

VIZ Media prepares for the nation’s largest dedicated anime convention, Anime Expo, with an exciting array of special guest appearances, panel discussions, autograph sessions, promotional giveaways and a variety of exclusive and pre-street items that will be available for purchase.

The 2015 Anime Expo takes place July 2nd–5th at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles. Tickets and full details are available at: VIZ Media will be located on the main convention floor in Booth #811.

VIZ Media is honored to welcome manga creator Julietta Suzuki as a special Guest of Honor. Suzuki is the creator of the acclaimed shojo manga series, KAMISAMA KISS. During Anime Expo, she will be among the artists to have original manga artwork prominently displayed in the VIZ Media booth to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the company’s Shojo Beat imprint. She also will participate in an informative panel discussion and appear for a pair of autograph sessions. Copies of KAMISAMA KISS (Vols. 1, 18) also will be available for purchase in the VIZ Media booth.

Shojo fans will not want to miss a visit to the VIZ Media booth to enjoy a special exhibit of original manga artwork from more than 40 top titles and creators that are published under the Shojo Beat imprint such as Arina Tanemura (IDOL DREAMS), Yuki Midorikawa (NATSUME’S BOOK OF FRIENDS), Yun Kouga (CROWN OF THORNS), Miko Mitsuki (HONEY BLOOD), Go Ikeyamada (SO CUTE IT HURTS!), Tomu Ohmi (SPELL OF DESIRE) and many more!

Join VIZ Media and the guardians of love and justice to celebrate the legendary action fantasy anime series with SAILOR MOON Day on Friday, July 3rd. Meet the voice cast at an exclusive autograph session in the Anime Expo autograph area and for a photo opportunity at the VIZ Media booth. Also catch all the latest SAILOR MOON news in the official panel discussion set for Friday morning, official fan/cosplay gathering, and the World Dub Premiere of the first 2 episodes of SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL later that afternoon.

Don’t forget to check the Anime Expo screening schedule for a variety of VIZ Media anime titles including showings of BLEACH, NARUTO SHIPPUDEN, NARUTO THE MOVIE: ROAD TO NINJA, TIGER & BUNNY Feature Films (THE BEGINNING and THE RISING), RANMA ½ and SAILOR MOON and SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL.

For more information on VIZ Media, visit