Kyoto International Film and Art Festival Hosts Press Conference for 2017 Edition
The Kyoto International Film and Art Festival held a gala press conference at the stately Yoshimoto Gion Kagetsu hall on Wednesday September 6th to announce outline for its 2017 festival.
Highlighting its inclusive nature, the theme of the 4th edition will be “Movies, Art, and Everything Else.” Yoshimoto Kogyo produces the festival, which will run from Thursday October 12th to Sunday October 15th. This year the tagline of the fest is: “4 days and 3 nights in Kyoto”.
Director and comedian Yuichi Kimura and KBS Kyoto announcer Satomi Hirano emceed the event. Explaining the theme and tagline Kimura noted, “I feel the festival is dear to the people of Kyoto and they have great expectations for it.”
The proceedings were honored to have the Mayor of Kyoto city, Daisaku Kadokawa, address the attendees. He rallied the crowd, “Let’s inspire the whole nation using the arts and cultural activities. I hope Kyoto can be a steppingstone to that.”
Film legend Sadao Nakajima, the Organization Committee Honorary President, noted, “Kyoto is the birthplace of the (Japanese) film industry. I believe this fest will lead to new creative endeavors in film.”
Ichiya Nakamura, the Chairman of the Kyoto International Film and Art Festival Executive Committee, emphasized the fact the festival will take place in many quintessentially ‘Kyoto-esque’ venues, like the Nishi Honganji temple, Okazaki Park and the Kyoto Botanical Garden. It will offer exciting events, such as a 100th anniversary of animation celebration. He enthused, “I hope visitors from all over the world will enjoy the festival for 3 nights and 4 days.”
Of the many prestigious locales employed for the festival, the red carpet walk will take place in front of the Japanese National Treasure the ‘Karamon’ gate. The opening ceremony will use the Southern Noh Stage of the Nishi Honganji temple. The Buddhist temple is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has a long tradition of supporting arts and culture so it fits perfectly with creating an image for KIFF both nationally and internationally.
Two major awards will be announced at the opening ceremony on October 12th. The Shozo Makino Award, started in 1958 in honor of Kyoto-born director Shozo Makino, is awarded to filmmakers who contributed to the development of Japanese cinema. The Toshiro Mifune Award, given to the actor who is most likely to make international impact in film, will be handed out at the ceremony.
Festival Producer Kazuyoshi Okuyama was on hand to elaborate on film selection. He noted that the festival has exciting programs and is working hard to keep improving its offerings. An animation section has been included this year. The production Sparks (Hibana), directed by the Yoshimoto comedian Itsuji Itao, based on the Naoki Matayoshi’s Akutagawa Prize winning novel, will have its world premier at the fest.
The TV Director’s Movie section, which started during the 2nd Okinawa International Movie Festival, is a collaborative effort between Yoshimoto Kogyo and many TV stations. It supports ambitious work that doesn’t fit into existing genres.
Silent/Classic Movies is a category of the festival which aims to deliver “the old but
new -- to find a path to the future by learning lessons from the past” cinema to the young generation. It provides various movie experiences, including film screenings with live narration (benshi in Japanese) as well as digital restorations of classic work.
A special section featuring the films of famed director Hideo Gosha and commemorating the 25th anniversary of his death will be presented. Tomoe Gosha, president of Gosha Productions, said, “I really appreciate having this opportunity to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Hideo’s death.”
A film program portraying the unique atmosphere of rocker Yuya Uchida will also thrill fans.
A special treat from KIFF is its celebration of classic films. Yoneo Ota, Director of the Silent Film Department of KlFF, explained the offerings. He said this year the fest will introduce timeless female artists, most prominently the queen of comedy Mabel Normand.
Kenta Oka oversees the Art Section of the fest. The theme for the art this year is “Everything is constantly born and changed, nothing is eternal.”
Each art venue will have its own focus. Kyoto Station will exhibit Nobuyuki Tachibana’s work. The Kyoto Art Center is presenting “Digital Art Battle in Kyoto” by LIMITS. The former Rissei Elementary School will house ceramics and animation. The Kyoto Botanical Garden is going to organize events by artists like Yotta and Kazuyuki Ishihara.
At Fujii Daimaru department store, the artist Stik will present “Shutter Bomb in Kyoto” and Heather Brown’s work will be shown.
Members of the Jury for the Creator’s Factory Award, Taichi Kasuga and Michail Gkinis, introduced that art program and events related to it. One of these will be the “Yoshimoto Archigram,” a recreation of the avant-garde art movement “Archigram” from the UK in the 1960s.
Lastly KIFF will produce many events around the UN program of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which aims to create a more livable, sustainable world for everyone. Yoshimoto Kogyo has been working on the program for a number of years.
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