Yubari 2012 Preview: Special Programs & Other Highlights
For a festival that only runs for four days, YIFFF certainly knows how to spread itself as wide as possible and pack in as much quality programming as the city can accommodate. In addition to everything I have alrerady covered in these previews, the festival includes a World Fantastic section, featuring films such as THE NIGHT OF THE CHUQACABRAS from Brazilian filmmaker Rodrigo Aragao and THE DEVIL'S ROCK, a supernatural World War II thriller from British-born Paul Campion, a digital effects artist-turned-director whose credits include THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy. There is also an entire section devoted to new Korean Cinema. Among the films in this section is arguably my most anticipated film of the festival:
YOUNG GUN IN THE TIME
A year after producing the first ever non-Japanese film to win the much-coveted Yubari Grand Prix for his insane science fiction comedy INVASION OF ALIEN BIKINI, writer-director Oh Young Doo returns with YOUNG GUN IN THE TIME. Young Gun (Houng Young Guen) is a private detective working in Seoul, who swaps out his artificial hand whenever necessary, replacing it with an assortment of weapons, including a gun or a sword. When a mysterious femme fatale walks into his office one day and asks him to kill someone, Young Gun embarks on the case of a lifetime.
YIFFF 2012 will also feature a series of special events with the theme "Support Earthquake Affected East Japan." Included amongst a series of specially-themed features and documentaries is a special screening of:
This 1968 disaster movie stars Japanese screen legends Toshiro Mifune and Yujiro Ishihara as members of a construction crew struggling to complete the building of the Kurobe Dam. Not only does the film have an excellent cast and a gripping story, but it also has strong ties with Yubari itself and this special charity screening will help raise funds for earthquake-affected areas in the country.
"Forcast" is the newly renamed "Forum Theater" section of the festival, where a selection of 21 films - including both shorts and features - are screened in theatres and via satellite link throughout the city, to bring the festival to as large an audience as possible. There is an intriguing array of inclusions this year that, based on their titles alone, should offer an exciting range of themes and genres. Among the films screening are:
UNDEAD DRAGON THE GAME OF UNDEAD
CANNIBAL MAID AND KILLER NURSE
SAD MAN ON THE SUBWAY
SHINDA GAIJIN II: SHINDAGAIDEN
FLYING SAUCERS VS. KOUTETSU MAJIN
SCHOOLGIRL X COMPLEX
POLAR CIRCLE PRESENTS UNKNOWN FOOLS
Additionally, there is a special appreciation of the short films of Paraguayan-born Walt Disney animator Joaquin Baldwin. The 29-year-old filmmaker has won over 130 international awards for his animations, in particular his 2008 short SEBASTIAN'S VOODOO, which along with four other examples of the director's work, are being shown in Japan for the first time.
And that will have to do it as far as preview coverage goes, as the festival begins tomorrow! I just landed in Tokyo a few hours ago and will be flying on to Yubari with a plane load of other assorted attendees first thing in the morning. Festivities kick off in the afternoon and will doubtless continue long into the night!