25 April 2008

22nd Image Forum Festival

The 22nd Image Forum Festival kicks off this Sunday with its usual feast of experimental films and videos both domestic and international. They have four different screening categories this year: New Forum Japan, Japan Tomorrow, New Forum International, and Dream Machine.

New Forum Japan features dozens of experimental shorts made in the past year by Japanese experimental filmmakers and animators. My favourite contemporary animator, Tomoyasu Murata, is screening an omnibus of his Kazoku Dekki series. Check out his website for stills from the four short films. Another exciting entry in the New Forum Japan line-up is a new 16mm film ZAP CAT from Nobuhiro Aihara.

Japan Tomorrow presents the prize-winning films for this year. They had an astonishing 455 entries into the competition from across Japan. The big prize winner was Yosuke Nakamura’s film Unconscious (2007, video, 5’). The Terayama Shūji Prize went to Naoyuki Tokumoto’s film Shiawase (Happiness, 2007, video, 22’). Other winning films included Aienkien Tashou no en koko wa Yamane yongo gumi, Line, Kaiki, and Mermaid.

Image Forum has not only been a place for the fostering of new Japanese experimental film talent, but it is also a forum for Japanese audiences to see experimental work from abroad. The New Forum International showcases a wide range of experimental work from performance art to the latest in avant-garde 3D-CG animation. I highly recommend the programme of contemporary German Experimental Animation which features the work of Max Hattler and Robert Seide. They are currently touring Japanese art galleries, colleges, and other venues. Click here to see their itinerary. The fourth category, Memory Machine features an international selection of films that explore themes of memory, dreams, and hallucination.

The festival runs until the 6th of May. Click here for information about the venue, tickets and screening schedule.