The Japanese Film Festival is delighted to launch our new look and theme for 2012, ‘totally sweet’, in celebration of their 16th year. They have also announced four special guests for the festival, including ballerina turned actress Tamiyo Kusakari and three directors of international calibre, Masayuki Suo, Miwa Nishikawa and Kenji Uchida.
While the official 2012 JFF program will be announced 22 October, they have also announced three new films to coincide with the visiting guests: A Terminal Trust, Dreams for Sale and Key of Life.
ACTRESS // Tamiyo Kusakari
Kusakari began her career as Japan’s most treasured ballerina performing both locally and internationally. Her debut breakthrough was in 1996’s Shall We Dance? where she won Best Actress in the 20th Japan Academy Awards. She later married Masayuki Suo, director of Shall We Dance?, and retired as a ballerina in April 2009. Voted as one of Vogue Japan’s women of the year in 2010, Kusakari will be coming to Sydney along with her husband Suo, to promote her latest lead role in a film about euthanasia, A Terminal Trust. This will be shown at this year’s festival and will be released in Japan October 27.
DIRECTOR // Masayuki Suo
Currently one of Japan’s leading film directors, Suo majored in French Literature, graduating from Rikkyo University. In 1992, his movie Sumo Do, Sumo Don’t won various awards including Best Picture at the 17th Japan Academy Awards. In 1996, he directed Shall We Dance?, which dominated the 20th Japan Academy Awards with 13 wins. The film started a ballroom dancing craze in Japan, secured a worldwide release, and was later remade in Hollywood in 2005 starring Richard Gere and Jenifer Lopez. His 2007 film, I Just Didn’t Do It was featured in JFF 2009’s program, also claiming several industry awards. Suo will be coming to Sydney accompanied by his wife Tamiyo Kusakari for Sydney’s screening of A Terminal Trust. This is the first time Suo reunites Tamiyo Kusakari and Koji Yakusho together since their roles in Shall We Dance?
DIRECTOR // Miwa Nishikawa
Nishikawa graduated from Waseda University with a degree in Literature. She made her debut as screenwriter and director in 2003 with Wild Berries and her second feature film, Sway, was shown at the 38th Director’s Fortnight in Cannes. Dear Doctor, which appeared in JFF 2010, was chosen as an official competition film in 33rd Montreal World Film Festival, receiving awards and rave reviews within and outside Japan. Nishikawa will be attending the Sydney screening of her newest film, Dreams for Sale, which was released September 8, currently screening across Japan.
DIRECTOR // Kenji Uchida
Uchida graduated from San Francisco State University in 1998 after studying the cinematic of 8mm to 35mm film and screenplay writing. His first theatrical film A Stranger of Mine won four category awards at the 58th Cannes International Film Festival and further eight awards in Japan in 2005. After School, which opened JFF in 2008, won Best Screenplay at the Japan Academy Awards. Uchida will be coming to Melbourne’s screening of his most recent film, Key of Life, only released in Japan September 15.