Posted:Jul 11, 2008

Skip City to Open with World Premiere of Yamada’s ‘Bunshichi’

Japan&#8217;s Skip City International Digital Cinema Festival has announced the line-up for its fifth edition, which includes the world premiere of Yoji Yamada&#8217;s <i>The Tale Of Bunshichi</i> as the opening gala ahead of its local autumn release.

As covered on Screendaily last September, the film was produced as part of Shochiku studios’ Cinema Kabuki series of filmed stage performances, but marks the first example with a film director at the helm.

The 12-film competition line-up also includes first-time appearances from Jordan (Amin Matalqa’s Captain Abu Raed), the Lebanon (Philippe Aractingi’s Under The Bombs) and Estonia (Ilmar Raag’s The Class – see full line-up below).

The Grand Prize carries a trophy and cash reward of $92,930 (Y10m), sponsored by Sony. Awards for Best Director ($18,560, Y2m), Best Screenplay ($9,280, Y1m) and two Special Jury Prizes are also given out.

This year’s jury is headed by Austrian film producer Danny Krausz, joined by Korean director Hong Sang-soo, Argentinean cinematographer Ricardo De Angelis, Closed Note producer Morio Amagi and Japanese screenwriter Masako Imai (Helen The Baby Fox).

Other categories include the digital shorts competition and the Camera Crayon children’s programme. This year continues the D-Contents Market, where directors pitch projects to potential producers. Two former Skip City short film participants, Izuru Kumasaka (Berlin 2008 prize winner for Asyl – Park And Love Hotel) and Masaya Kakehi (Accuracy Of Death) will give talks.

Last year’s Grand Prize winner was Climates directed by Turkey’s Nuri Bilge Ceylan, awarded Best Director at this year’s Cannes for Three Monkeys, reportedly funded in part by Ceylan’s Skip City prize money.

Other winners have included 2006’s Lease Wife, directed by Lu Xuechang, UK title Me and You and Everyone We Know and Sundance audience award winner Brothers (both 2005), and Danish film Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself.

Skip City runs from July 19 to 27 in Saitama Prefecture’s Kawaguchi City, neighbouring Tokyo.

Skip City Competition Titles:

Captain Abu Raed (Amin Matalqa, Jordan/USA)

Under The Bombs (Philippe Aractingi, Lebanon)

Egoist – Lotti Latrous (Stephan Anspichler, Germany/Switzerland)

Red Ants (Stephan Carpiaux, Luxembourg/Belgium/France)

Waiting For The Sun (Yoko Narahashi, Japan)

Arranged (Stephan Schaefer & Diane Crespo, US)

The Class (Ilmar Raag, Estonia)

Echo (Anders Morgenthaler, Denmark)

Listening To Gabriel (Jose Enrique March, Spain)

Lino (Jean Louis Milesi, France)

Thei-go King And His Son (Zhou Wei, China)

Concrete Pillow (Fatih Haciosmanoglum, Turkey)

Jason Gray

Jason Gray

Born in the UK and grew up in Toronto, Canada where he received a BA in Film. Jason Gray has been based in Japan for 7 years and works in the film industry, mainly as a journalist (Japan correspondent for Screen International) and translator for Japanese movies and film festivals. Also active in digital filmmaking and screenplay writing. Enjoys attending screenings and gallery exhibitions in Tokyo, as well as blogging. <a href="">Personal Page</a>