Press release March 10, 2016

16th Nippon Connection Film Festival – First Program Highlights

Over the course of six days, from 24 to 29 May 2016, the 16th Nippon Connection Film Festival will again bring selections from Japanese cinema and culture to Frankfurt am Main. Last year, the world's largest festival for Japanese cinema attracted around 16,000 visitors to the festival centers at Künstlerhaus Mousonturm and Theater Willy Praml in der Naxoshalle. The event presents a glamorous panorama of Japanese movies, currently consisting of over 100 short and feature-length films. Numerous directors will arrive from Japan to present their works for the first time outside of Japan, to discuss and to celebrate. Beyond film screenings, the festival offers a varied program of workshops, concerts and exhibitions, where visitors can experience the diverse culture of Japan.

Focus on Animated Films

A big focus of this year's festival will be new animated movies from Japan. One of the works you can see as part of the Nippon Animation program is Miss Hokusai by Keiichi Hara. The award-winning film tells the story of young Oei who studies under her father, the famous wood-carving artist Hokusai. Two animes based on novels by science fiction author Project Itoh will premiere in Germany. In the steampunk adventure Empire of Corpses by Ryotaro Makihara, a student travels the world by order of the British Queen, searching for the legacy of Victor Frankenstein. Harmony, by Michael Arias and Takashi Nakamura, is a captivating science fiction drama about a utopia which turns out to be a totalitarian regime. Director Michael Arias will be a guest at the festival. Films offering entertainment for the whole family include The Case of Hana and Alice; the innocent and dreamy story of two students who want to solve a mysterious murder case. Using finely drawn pictures, Shunji Iwai tells the story of the magic of a blossoming friendship. As part of the city partnership between Frankfurt and Yokohama, new animated movies by students at the Tokyo University of the Arts will once again be shown. The university’s faculty of animation is located in Yokohama.

About 100 New Productions from Japan

Beyond Nippon Animation, there are also exciting live-action movies presenting new stories from Japan that await the audience. The sections Nippon Cinema and Nippon Visions feature an explosion of various styles and mainstream cinema. This includes two new pieces by the enfant terrible of Japanese cinema, Sion Sono. His tranquil, bittersweet space parable Whispering Star reflects on the meaning of being human, using impressively beautiful black-and-white images. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Love & Peace, a crazy comedy about a misfit who becomes a mega rock star thanks to his giant tortoise. Master director Takeshi Kitano will also be represented in the film line-up. In the entertaining comedy Ryuzo and the Seven Henchmen, former mafia boss Ryuzo returns to his old job because his peaceful retirement is simply too boring. The unsuccessful and sex-obsessed director Tetsuo takes center stage in Lowlife Love by Eiji Uchida. This ironic film settles a score with the complacency of the film world and at the same time is a passionate declaration of love to the art of filmmaking. Leading actor and rising star Kiyohiko Shibukawa will personally present the movie in Frankfurt. Ryosuke Hashiguchi strikes a more serious note in Three Stories of Love, where he tells three unvarnished, interwoven stories of life and love, desperation and reconciliation.

After its huge success last year, the 16th Nippon Connection Film Festival will again have a live soundtrack-performance. Internationally acclaimed experimental film artist Takashi Makino will create new soundscapes to his hypnotic movies live alongside English trombonist Hilary Jeffery.

More Than Cinema: Nippon Culture

In addition to the many films being presented, visitors can experience Japanese culture in workshops, presentations and exhibitions with the program Nippon Culture. The variety of topics ranges from origami and naginata martial arts to kimonos and shiatsu massage. Visitors can learn about Japanese handicraft in the textile coloring workshop that focuses on the traditional shibori technique. A cooking class, booths with food and sake and the popular culinary city tour through Frankfurt provide authentic Japanese delicacies. One highlight is the VHS-Night with Tom Mes. The Dutch film critic will present iconic video cassette favorites alongside several filmmakers. The Nippon Kids program also brings Japan to the little ones, with face painting for children, a samurai shiatsu massage and a kamishibai theater show.

The Festival

The Japanese Film Festival Nippon Connection is organized and run on a voluntary basis by a team of 70 members of the non-profit Nippon Connection Association. Its patrons are Peter Feldmann, Mayor of the City of Frankfurt am Main, and Takeshi Kamiyama, Consul General of Japan in Frankfurt am Main. Künstlerhaus Mousonturm and Theater Willy Praml in der Naxoshalle are the festival centers. Further events will take place at Mal Seh’n Kino, at the German Film Museum and Ausstellungsraum Eulengasse, as well as the theater Die Käs.

The full program will be available at the end of April on the festival website:

Ticket pre-sales will begin on 29 April 2016.