With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Sunday, November 30, 2008

ACF 188: "Naruto Shippuden" episodes free online!!!

VIZ Media Announces Multimedia Campaign To Provide Near Simultaneous U.S.-Japan Release Of New
NARUTO SHIPPUDEN Animated Episodes
For Free On

Here's some more news from VIZ for you anime - and manga - fans out there:

VIZ Media has announced an innovative and unprecedented multimedia plan to provide near-simultaneous Japan-U.S. release of NARUTO, one of the most popular Japanese animated and manga properties in the world. This campaign is the latest expansion of VIZ Media’s ongoing strategy to utilize the web to its maximum potential to stream a variety of hit animated properties.

Beginning on January 15th the latest episode of the NARUTO SHIPPUDEN (English-subtitled) animated series will be available for free viewing on the official NARUTO website, http://naruto.viz.com/, within days of its original airdate in Japan. A new English-subtitled episode will be added every Thursday thereafter.

On January 2nd, VIZ Media will also debut, for free, 8 uncut, English-subtitled episodes from the beginning of the NARUTO SHIPPUDEN series on www.Naruto.com. Each Friday thereafter there will be an additional 8 uncut, English-subtitled episodes added on Naruto.com until the series eventually catches up to the current third season of the hit program.

Also, coming this week, an exclusive sneak peek of NARUTO SHIPPUDEN (English-subtitled) debuting on Naruto.com.

On the manga (graphic novel) side, VIZ Media has unveiled an accelerated publishing schedule for upcoming editions of the best-selling NARUTO manga series, making them available to North American audiences sooner than ever before offered by VIZ Media. Beginning in February 2009, 11 new volumes of NARUTO will be released over 3 months, moving the series from Volume 34 (February 2009) to Volume 44 (April 2009) before returning to a quarterly release schedule beginning with Volume 45 (July 2009). First print-run editions of the volumes released in March and April will include a special promotional item – bookmark or sticker.

“This kind of accelerated and coordinated broadcast and publishing schedule is a first for VIZ Media and we are very excited to bring new episodes of NARUTO SHIPPUDEN to millions of eager domestic fans for free with this special campaign,” says Alvin Lu, Vice President of Production, VIZ Media. “The adventures of Naruto and his friends are underscored with themes of friendship, loyalty, responsibility, as well as failure and redemption, and have turned this unique series into a tremendous international hit. New and old fans alike won’t want to miss this special opportunity to watch online the latest episodes featuring the world’s favorite ninja mere days after their original air dates in Japan.”

NARUTO has become one of the hottest series from Japan and is one of VIZ Media’s most successful manga and animated properties. Created by Masashi Kishimoto, NARUTO was first introduced in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine in Japan in 1999 and quickly became that country’s most popular ninja manga targeting tweens and teens and has sold more than 80 million copies to-date. The manga series (rated T for Teens) and animated counterpart (rated TV-14) about a young ninja in training, captivates millions of fans across North America, Europe and South America.

In the NARUTO manga and animated series Naruto Uzumaki wants to be the best ninja in the land. He's done well so far, but Naruto knows he must train harder than ever and leaves his village for intense exercises that will push him to his limits.

NARUTO SHIPPUDEN begins two and a half years later, when Naruto returns to find that everyone has been promoted up the ninja ranks—except him. Sakura’s a medic ninja, Gaara’s advanced to Kazekage, and Kakashi…well, he’s the same. But pride isn’t becoming of a ninja, especially when Naruto realizes that Sasuke never returned from his search for Orochimaru. Plus, the mysterious Akatsuki organization is still an ever-present danger. As Naruto finds out more about the Akatsuki’s goals, he realizes that nothing in his universe is as it seems. Naruto is finding that he’s older, but will he prove wiser or stronger?

Earlier NARUTO episodes are also currently available for free through a variety of web-based, video streaming outlets that have partnered with VIZ Media, including HULU and JOOST.

More information on NARUTO is available at http://naruto.com/.

Friday, November 28, 2008

ACF 187: "Hwang jin Yi" TV Drama @ Korea Society on December 10th, 2008

The monthly screening of selected episodes of this blockbuster TV drama from Korea continues on Wednesday, December 10th, 2008 at 6:30 PM at The Korea Society.

In an age when women were treated as if they were invisible, Hwang Jin Yi, the celebrated Korean courtesan-singer-poet of the 16th century, was larger than life. Her beauty, wit and intellect propelled her from obscurity into the company of Korea’s most powerful aristocrats. The defining romance of her life broke across Korea’s rigid class lines and was in turn shattered by tragedy. A symbol of art and individuality, the subject of countless novels, movies and operas, Hwang Jin Yi remains a powerful feminist figure in Korea to this day.

Directed by Kim Cheol-gyu (More Beautiful Than Flowers) and written by Yoon Sun-Joo (The Immortal Lee Soon Shin), the acclaimed KBS TV drama series Hwang Jin Yi retells the tumultuous life story of Korea’s most famous kisaeng (courtesan). Top actress Ha Ji-won’s portrayal of Hwang Jin Yi made the series an instant television event when the series first aired in Korea in 2006, causing a nationwide rediscovery of the role kisaeng played in Korean history.

Part Two: The Birth of a Kisaeng
Hwang Jin Yi's mother fears that her young daughter will follow in her footsteps and become a kisaeng: a singer, dancer and hostess who lives a life catering to the whims of the yangban elite. Determined that her daughter should become more than a mere plaything for men, she sends Hwang Jin Yi deep into the forest to be cared for by an old monk. But when Hwang Jin Yi slips away and glimpses the beauty of a kisaeng dance, she is drawn to her destiny.

Special Guest:
Actress Jeon Mi-seon (the mother) will appear from Korea through an exclusive video conference to discuss the making of Hwang Jin Yi and answer audience questions.

This series continues with screenings on the second Wednesday of the month through February 2009. For the complete schedule and to view photos from the series, click here.

All screenings presented in Korean with English subtitles.

Tickets: $5 for members, $10 for non-members

Order tickets online or call The Korea Society at (212) 759-7525, ext. 323.

The series is co-sponsored by KBS (Korean Broadcasting System)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

ACF 186: Kim Ki-Duk's "The Bow" @ The Ruben Museum of Art

The Bow / Hwai
Directed by Kim Ki-Duk
South Korea, 2005, 90 min.
Cast: Jeon Sung-Hwan, Han Yeo-Reum, Seo Ji-Seok

Noted South Korean director Kim Ki-Duk's The Bow will be shown at the Rubin Museum of Art tomorrow night, Friday, November 28, 2008 at 9:30 PM as part of its Cabaret Cinema Series. Kim's other films include The Isle, Samaria, and Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter... and Spring, each well worth seeing if you haven't already.

With a bow and arrow, a sixty-year old man protects the young girl he plans to marry when she turns seventeen. She’s content with their life on a fishing boat until a young man arrives and changes everything.

The Bow illustrates the Bhutanese proverb: “The arrow of divine beings with absolute wisdom: it cannot be seen when shot, but can be seen when it hits.”

Tickets available by calling the Box Office of the Rubin Museum of Art @ 212.620.5000 x344, from 11 a.m.–5 p.m., Monday to Friday. Tickets may also be purchased at the admissions desk or museum shop.

Rubin Museum of Art
150 West 17th Street
New York, NY 10011

Co-presented with The Korea Society

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

ACF 185: BLEACH Posterzine will be available Dec 2nd, 2008

Here's some information about another release from VIZ. I'm passing it along because, although it pertains to print media, BLEACH is both a manga and an animated series.

VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media) has announced the upcoming release of a special BLEACH Posterzine, which features 11 massive full-color posters inspired by the smash hit manga and animated series (rated 'T' for Teens) created by Tite Kubo.

Available exclusively through participating newsstands nationwide beginning December 2nd, the Posterzine carries an MSRP of $9.99 and includes two original creations made especially for this unique release. Each poster in the collection folds out to 16” x 22” and depicts the heroic Soul Reaper Ichigo and his friends as well as villains rendered in beautiful detail. This special publication will also include 2 free BLEACH sticker sheets and an iTunes gift card valid for a free download of episode 59 of the popular BLEACH animated series and access to an interview with the creator of BLEACH Tite Kubo (iTunes gift card valid in the United States only).

BLEACH follows the story of Ichigo Kurosaki, a fifteen-year old student with the ability to see ghosts. His fate takes an extraordinary turn when he meets Rukia Kuchiki, a Soul Reaper who shows up at Ichigo's house on the trail of a Hollow, a malevolent lost soul. Drawn to Ichigo's high level of spiritual energy, the Hollow attacks Ichigo and his family, and Rukia steps in to help but is injured and unable to fight. As a last resort, Rukia decides to transfer part of her Soul Reaper powers to Ichigo. Ichigo, now a full-fledged Soul Reaper, and Rukia join together to face the challenges that lie ahead.

Christopher Boily, VIZ Media Sr. Director, Magazine Sales, Brand & Product Marketing, says of the release, “Building upon the incredible momentum and excitement which surrounded the first ever North American appearance of creator Tite Kubo at San Diego Comic-Con, we’re ecstatic to release this special collectable BLEACH Posterzine, which features two amazing images created exclusively for this publication by Studio Pierrot, which animates and produces the massively popular animated series. We look forward to fans visiting their local newsstand to pick up this special release!”

BLEACH is a tremendously successful multimedia property internationally. The manga has been licensed to more than a dozen countries, and over 50 million copies have been printed in Japan alone. In North America it is among the most popular titles in SHONEN JUMP magazine reaching close to 2 million fans each month, the manga graphic novels have been a sales hit and the popular animated series is viewed weekly by millions in the United States and Canada. This success has further spawned an array of related video games, apparel, action figures, trading cards and other merchandise.

More information on BLEACH is available at www.bleach.viz.com.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

ACF 184: Seven New Manga Series from VIZ

VIZ Media has announced several new manga series scheduled for release throughout the Fourth Quarter of 2008. Here's info and cover images:

Seven new series are set to debut, beginning this month, and feature a variety of captivating stories designed to appeal to Teen and Older Teen readers. The new series include BLANK SLATE, NORA: The Last Chronicle of Devildom, SOLANIN, CAPTIVE HEARTS, GABA KAWA, WE WERE THERE and St. ♥ Dragon Girl.

“We are looking forward to bringing a diverse range of titles in Q4 which will range from slice-of-life stories to romance and more!” says Evelyn Dubocq, Sr. Director of Public Relations, VIZ Media. “As the 2008 holiday season approaches, manga fans will have multiple strong VIZ Media releases to choose from in every genre.”

SOLANIN · Rated “T+” for Older Teens · MSRP: $17.99 US / $21.00 CAN Available Now

College graduates struggle to cope with the real world and music offers refuge in this modern manga with an American indie comic attitude. Meiko Inoue is a recent college grad working in a job that she hates and having issues with her freeloading boyfriend. Straddling the line between her years as a student and the rest of her life, Meiko struggles with the feeling that she's just not cut out to be a part of the real world.

SOLANIN was written and illustrated by award-winning creator Inio Asano and was originally published as a two-volume series but will be released by VIZ Media in a striking omnibus edition that includes six color pages. This touchingly realistic story was brought to life through Inio Asano’s distinctive art style and excellent writing. SOLANIN is part of VIZ Media’s Signature line, an imprint featuring manga for the experienced comic reader who seeks sophisticated stories with exceptional art.

NORA: The Last Chronicle of Devildom Rated “T+” for Older Teens MSRP: $7.99 US / $9.50 CAN Available Now

Nora, an unruly demon, has defied his Dark Liege one too many times. For the sake of his "education," Nora is sent to live among mortals and enters a bond of servitude with cool-as-ice star student Kazuma Makkari. But this relationship is destined to become a match made in Hell. Kazuma now must learn the ways of the underworld while Nora discovers more about the "real world" than he ever thought possible. When the seal for Nora's form is released he becomes Cerberus, the vicious dog of disaster. But Nora can only use magic when Kazuma grants him permission, and he doesn't grant it easily. The Dark Liege wants the pair to team up and crack down on renegade demon factions in the human world, but first they must find a way to get along. NORA: The Last Chronicle of Devildom is Kazunari Kakei's first manga series and originally debuted in Japan’s Monthly Shonen Jump magazine. Blending the conceptual appeal of supernatural cliffhangers like DEATH NOTE with the aesthetic design elements of manga series like FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST, the series will appeal to fans of character-based, supernatural genre franchises like Hellblazer and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In Japan, the popularity of NORA: The Last Chronicle of Devildom eventually spawned a second series called SUREBREC: NORA the 2nd, which also premiered in Monthly Shonen Jump.

BLANK SLATE Rated “T+” for Older Teens MSRP: $8.99 US / $10.50 CAN Available Now

BLANK SLATE is an edgy new shojo manga series by Aya Kanno that heightens the level of drama with plenty of social and political intrigue. Zen's memory has been wiped, and he can't remember if he's a killer or hero, and a lot of people want to keep it that way. Zen's unearthly charm attracts a veritable rogues' gallery of mysterious and shady characters, each with their own agenda. A bounty hunter becomes obsessed enough to become Zen’s new partner, while the daughter of a prominent General treats him like some sort of guru. But when Zen meets a mysterious doctor who may know him from the past, he learns that the real secret of his lost memory is definitely more sinister than saintly. Creator Aya Kanno first came to the attention of North American fans with her manga, SOUL RESCUE, and her latest series, OTOMEN, is currently serialized in Japan's popular BetsuHana magazine and is set to be published by VIZ Media in early 2009.

WE WERE THERE Rated “T+” for Older Teens MSRP: $8.99 US / $10.50 CAN Available Now

WE WERE THERE is a best-selling shojo manga by Yuki Obata that depicts the life of a high school freshman named Nanami Takahashi as she falls for Motoharu Yano, the most popular, carefree boy in class. For Nanami, it's first love, but Yano is still grieving the death of his girlfriend who died tragically the year before. Nanami begins high school with big hopes of making new friends. But as her crush on Yano intensifies, she soon learns that he may have too many secrets for her to handle. WE WERE THERE was a smash hit in Japan, with volume one being reprinted an amazing 22 times in only three years, and the manga was also developed into a popular animated series. Creator Yuki Obata won the Shogakukan Shinjin Comics Taisho Kasaku Award in 1998 for her debut, RAINDROPS, and she went on to win the prestigious 50th Shogakukan Manga Award for WE WERE THERE.

CAPTIVE HEARTS Rated “T” for Teens MSRP: $8.99 US / $10.50 CAN Available Now

CAPTIVE HEARTS is one of the major manga releases by Matsuri Hino that first established her as one of the top creators in the shojo genre. Carefree Megumi Kuroishi was living a life of luxury until the day a girl named Suzuka Kogami walked into his life. All of a sudden, Megumi finds himself kneeling at Suzuka's feet and prostrating himself like a servant! What Megumi doesn't initially know is that his family is cursed to follow the orders of the Kogami family. Can anything be done about Megumi's captive state or is he doomed to see Suzuka as his master forever? Matsuri Hino burst onto the manga scene with her first title WHEN THIS DREAM IS OVER, which was published in Japan’s monthly shojo manga magazine LaLa DX. She has gone on to gain international acclaim for her subsequent works like MERU PURI and the gothic-tinged VAMPIRE KNIGHT (both published domestically) and her ornate and eye-catching visual style has greatly impacted the manga scene both in Japan and North America as more fans discover her unique stories.

St. Dragon Girl Rated “T” for Teens MSRP: $8.99 US / $10.50 CAN Available December 2

Momoka Sendou, nicknamed "Dragon Girl,” and Ryuga Kou are childhood friends. Momoka is a skilled martial artist while Ryuga is a Chinese magic master who banishes demons. The action heightens when a demon serpent king that appears only once every hundred years to select a bride abducts Momoka's friend, Shunran. Will Momoka and Ryuga be able to defeat this powerful entity before Shunran is lost forever? In order to increase his power, Ryuga calls on the spirit of a dragon to possess him, but the spirit enters Momoka instead. Now the two must unite forces and fight the demon together in this exciting fantasy shojo adventure from Natsumi Matsumoto. St. Dragon Girl was a popular hit in Japan that also spawned a sequel, St. Dragon Girl Miracle.

GABA KAWA Rated “T” for Teens MSRP: $8.99 US / $10.50 CAN December 2

Gaba Kawa is a new supernatural shojo story from Rie Takada, who also created the popular Happy Hustle High and Punch! (both available from VIZ Media). GABA KAWA introduces readers to Rara, a young and spunky female demon who is only supposed to cause mischief in the mortal world and draw humans to the dark path. She's not supposed to help mortals and definitely not supposed to fall in love with them! But that's just what happens when Rara enters high school, where a hot guy named Retsu Aku calls her "Gaba Kawa,” referring to someone who is so persistent, it’s cute. But while demons gain power by causing mischief, the opposite is also true – if Rara uses any of her powers to help mortals, she'll immediately lose that very power. And if she loses enough power, she'll disappear! What's a "Gaba Kawa" demon to do? Readers will delight in the funny and romantic answer.

Creator Rie Takada has captivated millions with her innovative shojo series PUNCH! and HAPPY HUSTLE HIGH, which have sold more than 80K copies in North America combined. Her whimsical artistic style, called chibi (meaning short person" or "small child"), is an exaggerated style of manga illustration that’s currently the rage in Japan and is characterized by hyper-cute and often very petite characters bursting with bubbly personalities. The style also lends to a fun degree of comedy and zaniness that further typifies the chibi genre. GABA KAWA was also serialized in VIZ Media’s SHOJO BEAT magazine.

Monday, November 24, 2008

ACF 183: 'The Fish Fall in Love' @ Asia Society, NY

Touka (Golshifteh Farahani) and Atieh (Roya Nonahali)
Photo courtesy of Global Fim Initiative

The Fish Fall in Love / Mahiha Ashegh Mishavand
Directed by Ali Mishavand
Persian, 2006, 96 min.
In Persian with English Subtitles

Asia Society and Global Film Initiative will be co-presenting a screening of The Fish Fall in Love on Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008 at 7:00 PM. The film will be shown at Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue at 70th Street, New York City.

Atieh’s singular passion is food, and her small but popular restaurant on the sleepy Caspian coast is her pride and joy. But when Aziz, her former fiancé, appears after a twenty-year absence, the women believe he has intentions of closing the restaurant, so Atieh prepares his favorite dishes, one after the other, in a desperate effort to convince him otherwise.

Loosely based on the Persian fable of Shahrazad and the Thousand Myths, director Ali Raffi uses the language of food to paint a richly textured portrait of life and love on the northern coast of Iran.

A post-screening discussion with food critic Mimi Sheraton and international correspondent Katayoun Beglari-Scarlet will be followed by a reception featuring Persian food.

- $7 Asia Society and Iranian American Society of New York members, Students with ID, and Seniors
- $11 Nonmembers
- Free for Asia Circle Members

For tickets, call the Asia Society box office at (212) 517-ASIA or visit https://tickets.asiasociety.org/

No cancellations, exchanges or refunds.

(This screening is also cosponsored by The Iranian American Society of New York.)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

ACF 182: "BLEACH" & "DEATH NOTE" Download-To-Own on Xbox LIVE

Here's some more anime news from VIZ specifically geared to owners, or future owners, of the Xbox 360 video game system:

VIZ Media has announced the availability of the hit animated action series BLEACH and DEATH NOTE (both Uncut and English dubbed) on the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment console from Microsoft. Fans in the U.S. will now have the ability to watch these episodes on a Download-To-Own (DTO) basis through Xbox LIVE for 160 Microsoft Points per episode.

BLEACH features episodes 1-41 dubbed in English with more to be added, and DEATH NOTE features the full 37-episode series dubbed in English. The two series join NARUTO Uncut, which has been offered on Xbox LIVE since November 2007 and currently features episodes 1- 52 dubbed in English as well as episodes 1 – 24 subbed (with English subtitles), with more to be added. Episodes and more information are available at: www.xbox.com/live.

“The anime genre enjoys a huge following among millions of avid Xbox 360 owners and the addition of the BLEACH and DEATH NOTE series to the Xbox LIVE library will be a big attraction,” says Scott Nocas, group product manager for Xbox LIVE.

Xbox LIVE provides viewers with easy access to hundreds of full-length TV shows for Download-To-Own and the latest feature films for Download-To-Rent. Xbox 360 is also the first gaming console to offer Standard and High Definition TV shows and movies via digital distribution. Xbox LIVE currently includes a worldwide social entertainment network reaching more than 14 million members and offering 24/7 online access to gaming, movies, music, TV shows and more.

“We are very excited to team with Xbox LIVE to feature episodes of BLEACH and DEATH NOTE,” says Ken Sasaki, Vice President, Strategy & Business Development, VIZ Media. “The combination of the hottest television and movie programming, video gaming and social networking interaction makes Xbox LIVE a compelling platform to present these smash hit animated dramas. As the convergence of digital technology presents an innovative new way to access and download a wide array of content, we look forward to fans across the United States turning to Xbox LIVE for the latest in online animated programming from VIZ Media.”

DEATH NOTE (Uncut): Rated TV-14
is based on the manga series of the same name and is currently one of the hottest animated titles in Japan. The series depicts the adventures of Light Yagami, an ace student with great prospects but who is bored out of his mind. All of that changes when he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami death god. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies, and now Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. But when criminals mysteriously begin dropping dead, the authorities send the legendary detective L to investigate, and he is soon hot on the trail of Light, who must now reevaluate his one noble goal. Dedicated website at www.deathnote.viz.com.

BLEACH (Uncut): Rated TV-14
BLEACH follows the story of Ichigo Kurosaki, a fifteen-year old student with the ability to see ghosts. His fate takes an extraordinary turn when he meets Rukia Kuchiki, a Soul Reaper who shows up at Ichigo's house on the trail of a Hollow, a malevolent lost soul. Drawn to Ichigo's high level of spiritual energy, the Hollow attacks Ichigo and his family, and Rukia steps in to help but is injured and unable to fight. As a last resort, Rukia decides to transfer part of her Soul Reaper powers to Ichigo. Ichigo, now a full-fledged Soul Reaper, and Rukia join together to face the challenges that lie ahead. Dedicated website at www.bleach.viz.com.

Friday, November 21, 2008

ACF 181: Animated DVD Releases from VIZ Media


VIZ Media has announced a dynamic array of new animated titles scheduled for release throughout the Fourth Quarter. I'm sure that many anime lovers will be happy about at least some of these releases, especially as the holiday season approaches.

The new releases include the launch of a new series – HUNTER X HUNTER – as well as a variety of DVD Box Sets, Special Editions and single disc editions of popular series including BLEACH, NARUTO, DEATH NOTE, BUSO RENKIN, BLUE DRAGON and much-loved classics like INUYASHA.

Here's the info I received:

Hunter X Hunter Box Set 1:
(C) POT (Yoshihiro Togashi) 1998 - 2008

New Series Debut:

HUNTER X HUNTER DVD Box Set Volume 1 · Rated “T+” for Teens · MSRP: $49.98 US / $64.99 CAN · Available December 9

Based on the popular HUNTER X HUNTER manga series by Yoshihiro Togashi (also published by VIZ Media), this new fantasy action series introduces audiences to Hunters, a special breed of adventurers dedicated to tracking down treasure, magical beasts, and even humans. But such pursuit requires a license, and less than one in a hundred thousand can pass the grueling qualification exam. Gon might be a country boy, but he has high aspirations.

Despite his aunt's protest, Gon decides to follow in his father's footsteps and become a legendary Hunter. The journey begins on the long, arduous road to the Exam Hall, where he meets Leorio and Kurapika, two applicants with the same determination. Gon and his two companions must now prove their worth and earn the right to call themselves Hunters! The HUNTER X HUNTER DVD Box Set Volume 1 contains the series’ first 15 episodes on 3 discs.

Buso Renkin Box Set 2:
(C) Nobuhiro Watsuki / SHUEISHA, Busorenkin Project
SHONEN JUMP™ and BUSORENKIN™ are trademarks of Shueisha, Inc. in the United States and other countries

BUSO RENKIN Releases Include:

BUSO RENKIN DVD Box Set Volume 2 · Rated “T+” for Older Teens · MSRP: $49.98 US / $64.99 CAN · Available Now!

BUSO RENKIN is based on a popular 10-volume fantasy adventure manga series by Nobuhiro Watsuki (also published by VIZ Media). The Alchemist Warriors Kazuki and Tokiko continue their war against the evil homunculi. But the awakening of Victor, the "King" of all homunculi, triggers the dark force lurking within Kazuki. Cursed with the black kakugane, he becomes a marked man.

Hunted by their former allies, Kazuki and Tokiko find help from the most unlikely source, and as the showdown in this century-long battle nears its conclusion, the future rests in the hands of one young man. Kazuki must make a final decision that no one, not even Tokiko, could have predicted! The BUSO RENKIN DVD Box Set Volume 2 features episodes 14-26 on 3 discs as well as bonus material including special behind the scenes footage and a full-color collectable booklet.

Blue Dragon V. 2:
Microsoft, Blue Dragon, Xbox 360 and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies.
Based on the Xbox 360 game "BLUE DRAGON" published by Microsoft

BLUE DRAGON Releases Include:

BLUE DRAGON Volume 2 · Rated “A” for All Ages · 4 Episodes · MSRP: $14.98 US / $19.99 CAN · Available Now!

BLUE DRAGON is an exciting animated adventure inspired by the popular Microsoft Xbox 360 Role Playing Game. The game and animated series also feature memorable characters designed by Akira Toriyama, the creator of the best-selling DRAGON BALL series of manga (published in North America by VIZ Media and featured in SHONEN JUMP Magazine).

In BLUE DRAGON volume 2, Shu and his fellow shadow wielders are determined to seek help at Jibral Castle. When they are finally granted an audience with the king, Zola requests permission to view the all-important Book of the Beginning. But during an attack by Grankingdom, seven key pages of the book are stolen, and the group decides to set off on a dangerous journey to Grankingdom itself!

BLEACH Releases Include:

BLEACH THE MOVIE: MEMORIES OF NOBODY · Rated “T” for Teens · MSRP: $29.98 US / $39.99 CAN · Available Now!

Adapted from the wildly popular animated series and a best-selling manga series (both distributed and published in North America by VIZ Media) by acclaimed Japanese artist Tite Kubo, BLEACH THE MOVIE: MEMORIES OF NOBODY begins as unidentified beings known as “Blanks” start popping up. They are soon followed by a Soul Reaper named Senna who makes them disappear.

Puzzled by these unknown beings and the even more mysterious girl, Ichigo and Rukia set out to learn more, but uncover an evil plot when a menacing clan tries to kidnap Senna. Banished from the Soul Society long ago, the clan’s leader has sent the World of the Living and the Soul Society on a collision course, and Senna seems to be the key to his diabolical plot for revenge. Can Ichigo and his fellow Soul Reapers save the two worlds from annihilation?

BLEACH Volume 13 · Rated “T” for Teens · 4 Episodes · MSRP: $24.98 US / $34.99 CAN · Available Now!

Television luminary Don Kan'onji brings back Yuzu, Jinta, and Ururu as his Karakura Superheroes to revive his flagging show--with Kon serving as mascot! In the Soul Society, Rukia's execution is imminent. Luckily for Ichigo and his comrades, some of the Soul Reapers have taken their side and help break Chad, Ganju, and Uryu out of their prison cell.

While Ichigo struggles to complete his bankai training, Renji emerges to rescue Rukia, but finds himself face to face with none other than Rukia's brother, Byakuya Kuchiki. Will Renji's bankai prove strong enough to defeat his own captain? BLEACH Volume 13 features 4 action-filled episodes as well as exclusive collectable stickers.

DEATH NOTE Releases Include:

DEATH NOTE Volume 7 With Limited Edition Collector’s Figure · Rated “T+” for Older Teens · 4 Episodes · MSRP: $39.98 US / $49.99 CAN ·
Available Now!

With his memory recovered and Higuchi of the Yotsuba Group out of the way, Light can put his master plan into motion and march humanity closer to his perfect world. Then a new investigative force steps forward to challenge Kira – the SPK, headed by a boy genius named Near. Near's first plan of action is to get his hands on a Death Note, and when Light's sister Sayu is kidnapped it just might get him closer to his goal! Production art, audio commentary and interviews with the voice cast are also featured. The special Collector’s Edition includes a limited edition figurine of Mello.

DEATH NOTE Volume 7 Standard Edition · Rated “T+” for Older Teens · 4 Episodes · MSRP: $24.98 US / $34.99 CAN · Available Now!

Disc-only edition features the same content as the Collector’s Edition but without collectable figure.

DEATH NOTE DVD Box Set Volume 1 · Rated “T+” for Older Teens · MSRP: $69.98 US / $89.99 CAN · Available Now!

Volume 1 box set features episodes 1-20 of the animated supernatural mystery series based on the hit manga by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata (also published by VIZ Media). Meet Light Yagami, a brilliant but bored high school student whose life is changed when he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami, or god of death, named Ryuk. When Light discovers that any human whose name is written in the book dies, he vows to use its power to rid the world of evil. But every action has its consequences, and Light soon finds himself in a life or death battle of wits with the mysterious genius detective called L. Humanity itself becomes the battleground to determine what form of justice will prevail! Bonus features of this set include audio commentary, behind the scenes interviews with the voice cast and a production art gallery.

DEATH NOTE Volume 8 With Limited Edition Collector’s Figure · Rated “T+” for Older Teens · 4 Episodes · MSRP: $39.98 US / $49.99 CAN ·
Available December 30

When Mello realizes that he may be Kira's next target, he bursts into the SPK headquarters to retrieve a picture of himself – and gives Near a piece of information that may prove to be an invaluable advantage: some of the Death Note rules are fake. With this information in hand, Near's suspicions of the task force, and Light in particular, become certainties. Now that he's in the spotlight once more, Light decides it's time to recruit some new disciples. Bonus features of this set include audio commentary, behind the scenes interviews with the voice cast and a production art gallery. The special Collector’s Edition also features a limited edition figurine of Shidoh.

DEATH NOTE Volume 8 Standard Edition · Rated “T+” for Older Teens · 4 Episodes · MSRP: $24.98 US / $34.99 CAN · Available December 30

Disc-only edition features the same content as the Collector’s Edition but without collectable figure.

NARUTO Releases Include:

· Available Now!

Naruto, Sakura and Kakashi team up with Rock Lee to protect Prince Michiru and his son Hikaru on their return home to the Crescent Moon Kingdom in this latest full-length NARUTO feature. The mission initially seems easy enough, until the royal family becomes a royal pain! Prince Michiru can't help indulging his son, even buying him a circus along the way! Naruto has a tough time putting up with both the spoiled Hikaru and a saber-toothed tiger, but the real adventure begins when they reach the Land of the Moon and find themselves facing a villainous uprising. Does Naruto have what it takes to save an entire kingdom? The special 2-disc set also offers several bonus features including “The Story of Naruto: Growing Up a Ninja” as well as “Teamwork: The Art of Group Recording” which gives insights into the film’s voice cast. An interview with the NARUTO THE MOVIE 3 producers and the original Japanese movie trailers are also included.

NARUTO UNCUT DVD Box Set Volume 10 Special Edition · Rated “T+” for Older Teens · MSRP: $69.98 US / $89.99 CAN · Available Now!

Naruto's pursuit of Sasuke is halted by the most fearsome of the Sound ninja--Kimimaro, a ninja with an uncompromising loyalty to Orochimaru and a hair-raising Kekkei Genkai! But the Leaf Village has sent another able-bodied ninja to assist in the fight, the newly recovered Rock Lee! While the Leaf genin continue their battles against the Sound, Naruto finally catches up to Sasuke at the Final Valley, the legendary site at the border of the Land of Fire. There, Sasuke and Naruto must face each other in their most devastating battle yet, and Sasuke must make a terrible choice in his quest for power that could decide both their destinies! The NARUTO UNCUT Box Set Volume 10 features 15 episodes (121-135) on 3 discs as well as an exclusive Katsuyu (6 of 6) Summoning Creature collectable figurine.

NARUTO UNCUT DVD Box Set Volume 10 Standard Edition· Rated “T+” for Older Teens · MSRP: $49.98 US / $64.99 CAN · Available Now!

Disc-only edition features the same content as the Special Edition but without collectable figure.

NARUTO Volume 29 · Rated “T” for Teens · MSRP: $19.98 US / $24.99 CAN · Available Now!

While Neji unleashes his Byakugan on the spider-like Kidomaru, the others continue their pursuit of the Sound ninja and the coffin containing Sasuke. Shikamaru plans a successful ambush, but the victory is short-lived when the most fearsome Sound ninja yet arrives to bring Sasuke to the impatient Orochimaru. Leaving Shikamaru and Kiba to battle the last two of the Sound Four, Naruto chases down their new challenger Kimimaro on his own – but does he have what it takes to win against this formidable foe? Single disc edition features 5 episodes.

NARUTO Volume 30 · Rated “T” for Teens · MSRP: $19.98 US / $24.99 CAN · Available November 25!

Kiba and Akamaru together try to outwit the dual ninja Sakon and Ukon while Shikamaru faces Tayuya and her mysterious flute. But Naruto is up against perhaps the most intimidating challenger of all--Kimimaro! With an undying loyalty to Orochimaru and a gruesome Kekkei Genkai, Kimimaro may be Naruto's undoing--until help arrives in a most unexpected form! Naruto's now free to follow Sasuke, who has emerged from the coffin and is racing toward his destiny at Orochimaru's hands. Single disc edition features 5 episodes.

NARUTO UNCUT DVD Box Set Volume 11 Special Edition · Rated “T+” for Older Teens · MSRP: $69.98 US / $89.99 CAN · Available December 16

Sasuke has gone to Orochimaru, and Sakura and Naruto are determined to get him back! Jiraiya, concerned they'll act recklessly, persuades Tsunade to send them on an official mission to the Land of Rice Paddies, hoping to discover Orochimaru's hideout. With Jiraiya at their side, can they fail to bring Sasuke back? Then, an escape from a maximum security prison brings Naruto a blast from the past! Mizuki, the teacher who long ago betrayed the Leaf, is on the loose, and Iruka once again joins Naruto in pursuit of the renegade ninja! The NARUTO UNCUT Box Set Volume 11 features 14 episodes (136-149) on 3 discs as well as an exclusive Naruto Mininja (1 of 6) collectable figurine.

NARUTO UNCUT DVD Box Set Volume 11 Standard Edition · Rated “T+” for Older Teens · MSRP: $49.98 US / $64.99 CAN · Available December 16

Disc-only edition features the same content as the Special Edition but without collectable figure.

INUYASHA Releases Include:

INUYASHA SEASON 6 DVD Box Set Deluxe Edition · Rated “T” for Teens · MSRP: $119.98 US / $149.99 CAN · Available December 2

As if battling demons and searching for the Sacred Jewel shards weren't tough enough, Kagome also faces the battles of a very modern-day student, like preparing for a school festival and a love scene in the class play! But demons wait for no one, and soon enough Kagome is back in the past, encountering demon women that test the bond between Miroku and Sango, a woman who's mysteriously in love with Inuyasha's brother Sesshomaru, and an ancestor of the boy with a crush on Kagome in the present day! The INUYASHA SEASON 6 Special Deluxe Edition features 20 episodes (127-146) on 4 discs and also includes an Inuyasha Collector’s Watch.

INUYASHA SEASON 6 DVD Standard Edition · Rated “T” for Teens · MSRP: $99.98 US / $129.99 CAN · Available December 2

Disc-only edition features the same content as the Deluxe Edition but without collectable watch.

For additional information on these and all VIZ Media titles please visit http://www.viz.com/.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

ACF 180: ANA presents 2 free screenings of "Happy Flight" @ Japan Society

©2008 Fuji Television Network, Altamira Pictures, Toho, Dentsu

Happy Flight / Happi furaito
Directed by Shinobu Yaguchi
Starring Seiichi Tanabe and Haruka Ayase
Japan, 2008, 103 min.

ANA (All Nippon Airways) is presenting the East Coast Premiere of Happy Flight as "Nippon Eiga" Series: Part 15. The film premiered in Japan on November 15th, so we're getting to see it soon after it's release. ANA's two free screenings will be held at Japan Society on Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008.

Director Shinobu Yaguchi brought feelings of laughter, tears, and exhilaration to audiences with his films about boys’ synchronized swimming (Waterboys) and girls’ high school big band jazz (Swing Girls). The theme of his latest film, Happy Flight, is airplanes!

Yaguchi’s intent was to create a realistic, completely new film that oversees all corners of the aviation industry. Having ANA (All Nippon Airways) lend their Boeing 747 for filming and 500 staff members’ involvement, he created a wonderfully entertaining film chock-full of his love and fascination of airplanes.

The setting of the film takes place at an airport and on an airplane. A great variety of “aviation professionals” such as pilots, flight attendants, the ground crew, mechanics, dispatchers, controllers, and the bird patrol crew all support a single flight. They have only one mission: to secure the safety of the passengers.

Today was supposed to be any other day on the job, departing on schedule and heading safely to Honolulu, but…

Mark your calendars for December 3rd at the Japan Society. For both screenings, Director Yaguchi, leading actor Seiichi Tanabe (Memories of Tomorrow, Honey and Clover) and leading actress Haruka Ayase (Cyborg She, The Magic Hour) will make special appearances.

Admission is free, but you have to RSVP.

Japan Society
333 East 47th Street between 1st & 2nd Avenues
New York, NY
Doors will open at 1:15 for the 2:00 PM screening and at 6:00 for the 6:45 screening

Happy Flight was produced by Altamira Pictures (Shall We Dance).

ACF 179: Best of Tora-san series continues at Japan Society on Fri., Nov. 21, 2008

Tora-san Meets the Songstress Again
Episode 15 - Otoko wa Tsuraiyo: Torajiro aiaigasa
Directed by Yoji Yamada
With Kiyoshi Atsumi, Chieko Baisho and Ruriko Asaoka
Japan, 1975, 90 min.

Japan Society's current Monthly Classics series Best of Tora-san continues this Friday, November 21st, 2008 with Episode 15 of the long-running series. Like all eight episodes being showcased, it was personally selected by director Yoji Yamada, who helmed 46 of the 48 films in the series.

Disgruntled with his life in Tokyo as an established business man with a family, Hyodo escapes to Hokkaido to look for his high school love, with Tora-san (Kiyoshi Atsumi) in tow. On the way, Tora-san runs into the beautiful singer, Lily, who has divorced her husband since she last saw Tora-san. Can Tora-san hold onto her this time? Ruriko Asaoka stars as Lily, who played the “Madonna” in five of the Tora-san films- the most of any other Madonna in the series.

Screening & Ticket Info:
Tora-san Meets the Songstress Again will be shown at Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street, between 1st and 2nd Avenues, NY10017. Showtime Friday night is 7:30 PM.

Tickets$11/$7 Japan Society members, students & seniors

Buy Tickets Online or call the Japan Society Box Office at (212) 715-1258, Mon. - Fri. 11 am - 6 pm, Weekends 11 am - 5 pm.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

ACF 178: "Dam Street" @ Asia Society, NY

Xiao Yun (actress Liu Yi)

Dam Street
Directed by Li Yu
China/France, 2005, 93 min.
In Mandarin with English Subtitles

ASIA SOCIETY and GLOBAL FILM INITIATIVE are co-presenting Dam Street this Friday, November 21, 2008 at 7:00 P.M. The screening will be at Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue at 70 th Street, New York City.

The Story:
In the early–1980s, Xiao Yun—a sixteen year–old girl living in small riverside town — discovers she is pregnant. The local community is stunned, her family loses face and she and her boyfriend are expelled from school. In the aftermath, she gives birth and is forced to put her child up for adoption.

Ten years later, her relationship with her family strained and ostracized by residents of the town, Xiao Yun is reduced to working as a singer in a song and dance troupe. Her only real companion is Xiao Yong, a fiercely affectionate boy who protects her from the critical eyes of the community until a marriage proposal discovers the limits of their friendship.

What Others Have Said About It:
"Beautiful cinematography and outstanding performances! Dam Street is an immensely touching and captivating story of love and marginalization created with Li’s skilled, caring directorial hand. MASTERFUL!" - Toronto International Film Festival

“Reminiscent of Zhang Yimou.” - Eye for Eye (UK)

Festival Record:
WINNER! GRAND PRIZE - BEST FILM, Deauville Asian Film Festival
WINNER! BEST DIRECTOR, Ghent Int’l Film Festival
WINNER! JURY PRIZE, Venice Film Festival
OFFICIAL SELECTION- Toronto • Berlin • Edinburgh Film Festivals

Free for Asia Society Members; $7 Students with ID/Seniors; $11 Nonmembers

For tickets, call the Asia Society box office at (212) 517-ASIA
or visit https://tickets.asiasociety.org

No cancellations, exchanges or refunds.

Monday, November 17, 2008

ACF 177: "Japan's About Face" to screen Thursday night @ Columbia University

Members of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Forces during Forest Light II training exercises in Hokkaido

The documentary film Japan's About-Face will be shown at Columbia University on Thursday, November 20th, 2008 at 6:30 PM. The film explores the shifting role of the military in Japanese society. Filmmaker Micah Fink will be present for a discussion after the screening.

Cadets at the Japanese National Defense Academy during their entrance ceremony.

The screening will take place at the International Affairs Building, 4th Floor, Room 413 ,118th Street and Amsterdam Avenue. Admission is free and no reservations are required

Campus map showing the location of the International Affairs building here.

This screening is part of the Soldiers and Soldiering in Twentieth-Century Japan lecture series sponsored by The Weatherhead East Asian Institute.

(Credits for both images: Sawa Matsueda)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

ACF 176: La Vie En Rose @ The Korea Society

La Vie En Rose 장미빛 인생
Director: Kim Hong-joon
Cast: Choi Myeong-gil, Choi Jae-seong, Cha Gwang-su
South Korea, 1994, 93 minutes

The next film in The Korea Society's Classic Movie Night will be Kim Hong-joon's La Vie En Rose. It will be shown this Thursday, November 20th, 2008 at 6:30 PM.

The Film:
Three fugitives from the law find an unlikely hideout at a 24/7 comic book (manhwa) rental shop run by a beautiful woman known only as “Madam” (Choi Myeong-gil).

One of them is the owner’s half-brother Jee-ho (Cha Gwang-su), a labor activist; the second is Dong-pal (Choi Jae-sung), a bottom-of-the-heap gangster; the third man is Yu-jin (Lee Ji-hyung), a penniless, mild-mannered poet.

As days and nights go by, an intricate web of erratic relationships forms among the guests, against the background of a bleak, blue-collar district of Seoul in the 1980s.

The Director:
Director Kim Hong-joon is a professor at the Korean National University of Arts and the director of the Chungmuro International Film Festival. After working as an assistant to veteran director Im Kwon-Taek, Kim Hong-joon moved on to establish himself as a leading figure in Korean film culture.

In addition to his provocative film work (Jungle Story and La Vie En Rose), he has programmed film festivals: from 2001 to 2005, he directed the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival.

From 2000 to 2005, he was a consultant to KOFIC (Korean Film Council), served as head of the Korean Film Commission, and became a recognizable television personality, introducing classic Korean films as host (and co-writer) of the television series Korean Classical Cinema Special, which served as the basis for My Korean Cinema.

He is also the author of I, a Filmmaker: Kim Hong-Joon’s Film Notes, and Two or Three Things You Want to Know About Movies.

Screening Information:
La Vie En Rose will be screened at The Korea Society in midtown Manhattan, 950 Third Avenue, 8th Floor.

[Note that this film contains scenes of violence and sex that may disturb some viewers. ]

Sunday, November 09, 2008

ACF 175: Hwang Jin-yi @ The Korea Society

Hwang Jin Yi
Part One: The Zenith of a Kisaeng
Directed by Kim Cheol-gyu

On Wednesday, November 12th, 2008 at 6:30 PM, The Korea Society will be teaming up with KBS TV to screen Part One of the hit historical drama Hwang Jin Yi at The Korea Society. The title character was a celebrated courtesan, singer and poet who lived in the 16th century and who remains a powerful cultural and feminist figure in Korea to this day.

With vivid costumes, breathtakingly beautiful women (especially Ha Ji-won, of Miracle on 1st Street and Duelist fame, in the lead role), dashing men, and plenty of palace intrigue, this is a different and fascinating take on the Hwang Jin Yi legend than the 2007 film version by Yooh-Hyun Chang that The Korea Society screened at the sold-out opening reception for the 2008 New York Korean Film Festival.

Considered one of the best versions of Hwang Jin-yi's story, this one was hit in Korea and was wildly popular throughout Asia. It's a must-see for fans of Asian cinema.

Director Kim Cheol-gyu will make a special appearance to answer questions after the screening, and David McCann, professor of Korean Literature at Harvard University, will introduce the series with a talk.

The Korea Society will screen select episodes from the series on the second Wednesday of each month through February, 2009.

The complete schedule for the selected episodes is:
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 – 6:30 PM
The Zenith of a Kisaeng

Wednesday, December 10, 2008 – 6:30 PM
The Birth of a Kisaeng

Wednesday, January 14, 2009 – 6:30 PM

Wednesday, February 11, 2009 – 6:30 PM

The Korea Society
950 3rd Avenue, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10022

Friday, November 07, 2008

ACF 174: Free Screening of "Wings of Defeat" @ Columbia University

(Wings of Defeat poster credit: Edgewood Pictures)

Wings of Defeat / Tokko
2007, 89 minutes

Digital video, color, and black & white

In English and Japanese with English Subtitles

This fascinating documentary about kamikaze pilots who survived World War II will screen next Tuesday, November 11th, 2008 at 6:00 PM at Columbia University. A discussion with producer/director Risa Morimoto and producer/writer Linda Hoaglund will start at approximatley 8:00 PM, following the screening.

Ms. Morimoto, born and raised in New York, was surprised to learn that a beloved uncle, dead for several years, had been trained as a kamikaze. Having never questioned that they were fanatics, she was now faced with the puzzling question of why her good-natured uncle had wanted to become a kamikaze.

(Photo credit: The National Archives and Research Administration)

Her efforts to resolve this conflict led to interviews with family members, other surviving members of the Tokkotai (as the Special Attack Force pilots referred to themselves), and with survivors of the U.S.S. Drexler, a destroyer that perished in a kamikaze attack. Those interviews form the core of this extraordinary and fascinating documentary.

From it emerges a far different view of the Kamikaze than the conventional one. Here they are seen for the most part as young men who saw this as a duty that one had to fulfill, though they did so with no great enthusiasm.

Takeo Ueshima as a member of the Tokkotai

(Photo credit: Takeo Ueshima)

Wings of Defeat will be shown at the Altschul Auditorium, International Affairs Building, 4th Floor,118th Street and Amsterdam Avenue. Admission is free and no reservations are required

Campus map showing the location of the International Affairs building here.

This screening is part of the Soldiers and Soldiering in Twentieth-Century Japan lecture series sponsored by The Weatherhead East Asian Insititute.

My full review of Wings of Defeat appeared in AsianCineFest 088, Monday, March 17, 2008. I also wrote about it, and about Ms Hoaglund (who is most widely known as an outstanding translator of Japanese film dialogue) in the current issue of Asian Cult Cinema magazine, issue #60.

The Wings of Defeat website can be accessed by clicking here.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

ACF 173: Japanese Horror Film "Kaidan" to screen at Alamo Westlakes

Kaidan (1964), a classic Japanese horror film, will screen tomorrow, November 6th, 2008 at 7:30 and 10:30 pm at Alamo Westlakes, San Antonio, TX.

The film contsists of four distinct, separate stories:

Black Hair - A poor samurai divorces his true love to marry for money, but finds the marriage disastrous and returns to his old wife, only to discover something eerie about her.

The Woman in the Snow - Stranded in a snowstorm, a woodcutter meets an icy spirit in the form of a woman spares his life on the condition that he never tell anyone about her. A decade later he forgets his promise.

Hoichi the Earless - Hoichi is a blind musician living in a monastery who sings so well that a ghostly imperial court commands him to perform the epic ballad of their death battle for them. But the ghosts are draining away his life, and the monks set out to protect him by writing a holy mantra over his body to make him invisible to the ghosts. But they've forgotten something.

In a Cup of Tea - A writer tells the story of a man who keep seeing a mysterious face reflected in his cup of tea.

Click here to buy tickets.

As always, I strongly support seeing films at theatrical venues. But in case you can't make it to either of these one night only screenings - or if you do and love the movie as much as I did - be aware that Kaidan is available on DVD from the Criterion Collection. To purchase it at amazon.com click here.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

ACF 172: Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council Film Festival in NYC 11.05-09.08

Bohman Irani and Zenobia Shroff in Sooni Taraporevala's Little Zizou
(Photo Credit: Aparna Jayakumar)

The 8th Annual Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council (MIAAC) Film Festival will bring Independent Indian and Diaspora Film Premieres to New York, Nov. 5-9.

Five special events will accompany the 32 films featured during the upcoming film festival. They include discussions, seminars, a live concert, and a special screening of SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE. Each event contributes to the MIAAC Film Festival’s mission to recognize and celebrate Indian Independent and Diaspora films in North America.

60x60 SECS
Wednesday, November 5–9, 10AM-6 PM
Aicon Gallery at 35 Great Jones Street

60x60 is the first project for 360degreesTV from Motiroti, the London-based international arts organization. It is comprised of sixty one-minute films by established and emerging artists from the South Asian Diaspora – twenty each from Britain, India and Pakistan. Shown daily as a single channel installation, the films uncover new voices and images, presenting comic, unsettling and arresting stories of everyday life and global events and focus on the meaning of ‘home and boundaries.’

Friday, November 7 at 7 PM
The Times Center, 242 W. 41st Street

Co-presented with the Museum of the Moving Image at The Times Center, and moderated by the Museum's Chief Curator, David Schwartz, Nair, the acclaimed director of The Namesake, Monsoon Wedding, and Salaam Bombay! who is collaborating on several film projects with Mehta, the author of Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found, will discuss perspectives on the vibrant cultures of the two cities, accompanied by excerpts from Nair's films

Saturday, November 8 at 6 PM
Allen Room, Jazz at Lincoln Center

A special screening of Teri C. McLuhan's extraordinary story of the Muslim peacemaker who raised a 100,000 strong non-violent army in his fight alongside Mahatma Gandhi for Indian independence and religious tolerance. The screening will be followed by a concert for peace by the acclaimed composer who did the music score of the film, David Amram, and his musicians.

Saturday, November 8 at 8 PM
ImaginAsian Theater, 59th St at 1st Ave

The festival's centerpiece, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, is the latest film by Danny Boyle, the acclaimed director of 28 Days, Trainspotting and other films. This Dickensian dazzler, winner of the Audience Award at the 2008 Toronto Film Festival, is about a young man from the slums of Bombay whose earnings on the Hindi version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? begin to mount to unsettling and gigantic proportions. The event is sponsored by Filmi.

BOSE: THE FORGOTTEN HERO screening and discussion
Saturday, November 8, Noon
Asia Society

Still shrouded in controversy and mystery, the gripping story of Indian national hero "Netaji" Subhas Chandra Bose gets an epic treatment from veteran director Shyam Benegal. In his telling of a dramatic story that has all but disappeared from public memory, Benegal follows the leader who diverged from Gandhi (who once remarked that he had two political sons, Jawaharlal Nehru and "that mischievous Netaji") to meet with Adolf Hitler and General Hideki Tojo in his fight for Indian independence. Benegal follows the astonishing life of the man who created India's first national army that battled the Allied forces in the jungles of Burma, until his mysterious death in 1945. A discussion with Director Shyam Benegal will follow the screening.

Tickets to these special events and other films are available now. For a list of films, times, locations, and more, visit: http://www.iaac.us/MIAAC2008/film_details.htm.

Monday, November 03, 2008

ACF 171: Thai Horror/Thriller "The Coffin" #1 in Singapore, looks to be coming to U.S.

The Coffin nails #1 Opening on Halloween in Singapore

Passing on the following info about this Thai film that looks really interesting:

With Halloween in the air, moviegoers in Singapore rushed out to see the new Thai horror film The Coffin, making it the No. 1 film at the box office on its Opening Day last Thursday - outgrossing all other films including Saw V.

Inspired by a true controversial ritual of lying in coffins to get rid of bad luck and prolong lives, the English-language film has also broken the record for Best Opening Day for Thai horror films previously held by Shutter.

Written and directed by Thai helmer Ekachai Uekrongtham (Beautiful Boxer), the Karen Mok (Shaolin Soccer) and Ananda Everingham (Shutter) starrer has earlier topped the Box Office chart in Thailand when it opened in August.

Described by 8 Days Magazine as "a poised spine-tingler" and Time Out Magazine as "a scream gem", The Coffin tells a thrilling, mysterious and moving story of an architect and a dietician who decide to go through the ritual to cheat death only to be faced with a series of strange and terrifying incidents afterwards.

Shot in Thailand on actual locations including a 100-year-old temple, real cemeteries, inside active crematorium chambers and an ancient meditation cave, this Thai-HK-Singapore co-production is produced by Live Inc. (Thailand), NGR (Thailand), Global Entertainment Group (Hong Kong) and Scorpio East Pictures (Singapore). It's distrbuted in Singapore by Scorpio East Pictures, Mediacorp Raintree Pictures and Cathay-Keris Films.

The Coffin makes its U.S. market debut at the American Film Market today.