Another year, another film festival. Though the way that read is drab, the Japan Film Festival hosted by The Japan Foundation Australia has been everything but drab with a massive line-up of critically acclaimed movies straight from the land of the rising sun. 2014’s festival featured a total of sixty seven films, each of which met wonderful feedback by Australian audiences and fans of Japanese pop culture. The Japan Film Festival has only gotten bigger and bigger with each year and there’s no end to its growth in sight which is great for people like us here at SnapThirty who simply cannot get enough of Japanese cinema.
Held over 93 days, it attracted a total attendance of 33,000, a 32% increase year on year. The Festival travelled to 16 cities, 17 venues with 67 films screened over 312 sessions. – The Japan Foundation
At the end of the festival each year, The Japan Foundation pools all the votes from all over the country regarding the audiences favorite films from the line-up and although all of them are held in quite high regard, there can really only be one winner and this year that was none other than the famous “Rurouni Kenshin – The Legend Ends”. Based on the Manga by Nobuhiro Watsuki, “The Legend Ends” is the final film in the live-action trilogy and details the end of Himura Kenshin’s long journey. Luckily enough, us here at SnapThirty got the chance to attend the screening of this movie and our review of it has been live for quite some time. Click Here to read it now.
I’m thrilled to accept the first ever JFF Audience Choice Award for Rurouni Kenshin—The Legend Ends!! Thank you so much to our Australian audience on behalf of the entire cast and crew, and I hope you’ll have me back in the future. JFF is the best! – Keishi Otomo, Film Director
Not only did director Keishi Otomo’s film win the JFF Audience Choice Award but the other two “Rurouni Kenshin” movies made it to the very top of the list with “Kyoto Inferno” placing at number two and the first movie, titled simply “Rurouni Kenshin”, placing at number four, beaten by “The Eternal Zero”. The top ten most liked movies from this years festival are as follows:
1. Rurouni Kenshin – The Legend Ends
2. Rurouni Kenshin – Kyoto Inferno
3. The Eternal Zero
4. Rurouni Kenshin
5. Wood Job!
6. A Tale of Samurai Cooking
7. The Chart of Love
8. Thermae Romae II
9. Giovanni’s Island
10. TAMAKO love story
As any event this well put together, the Japan Film Festival has just continued to grow over the years with this years one reaching all the way across to Auckland (New Zealand) as well as Adelaide for the very first time. Ninety three days, sixteen cities, sixty seven films and thirty three thousand attendees. I think it’s safe to say that the Japan Film Festival truly is a juggernaut event.
To our delight this year’s growth surpassed our expectations with the number of Brisbane attendees doubling compared to 2013. New cities Adelaide and Auckland also gave us warm welcomes, which is very encouraging and indicates potential growth in future years to come. Thank you for your support in bringing another successful year to a close. We look forwarding to returning with an even more exciting program in 2015. – Festival Director, Masafumi Konomi
Festival Highlights In Review
Sydney: Lady Maiko’s director Masayuki Suo and actress Mone Kamishiraishi walked down the red carpet
at Sydney’s Event Cinemas George Street. They charmed audiences at the Q&A session, moderated
by independent film critic, Russell Edwards.
Melbourne: Fans geared up as their favourite characters to see Keishi Otomo, director of the Rurouni Kenshin
trilogy, at the marathon screened at Hoyts Melbourne Central. Director Kazushi Watanabe and
actor Yuki Himura attended the world premiere of Samurai of the Dead and were greeted by
zombies among the audience. Current Chair of the Australian Film Critics Association and film critic
Richard Haridy facilitated the Q&A sessions for both titles.
Though the festival is over for one year, as you can see it’s been a damn good one and you can expect to see it return in 2015 from the months of October up until December. If you missed out on it this time around, make sure you’re overprepared for next year by keeping an eye on the official Japan Film Festival website which you can get to by Clicking Here.
I know all of you out there who went to any of the festival screenings had a good time much like us here at SnapThirty. We’d like to personally thank the Japan Foundation and the Japan Film Festival for allowing to review as many films in the line-up as we could and for doing this each and every year, doing their damn best to bring Japanese cinema and Japanese pop culture as a whole to our fine country. Now…let’s get ready for next year!