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Japanese Film Festival 2014 - Auckland Program Announced


18 September – For Immediate Release

Japanese Film Festival 2014

Auckland Program Announced

The 18th Japanese Film Festival (JFF) 2014, the largest Japanese film festival outside of Japan, will arrive for the first time with its main program to Auckland’s Rialto Cinemas Newmarket from 6 – 12 November as a part of its international tour. The JFF showcases the best in contemporary Japanese cinema – from anime to action, and everything in between, including releases that are now showing in Japanese theatres. 20 titles will feature in Auckland’s program with tickets going on sale 8 October from and Rialto Cinemas.


The JFF opens its 2014 program with New Zealand premiere, Lady Maiko (pictured), a musical comedy directed by Masayuki Suo (Sumo Do, Sumo Don’t; Shall We Dance?) based loosely on the Audrey Hepburn classic, My Fair Lady. Country bumpkin Haruko longs to be a geisha but with no references, a rural dialect and an uncultivated demeanour, her chances are slim. That is until Professor Kyono, a linguistics specialist and teahouse regular, takes her on as his protégé…


Closing the JFF is one for the foodies. A Tale of Samurai Cooking – A True Love Story is based on the real-life story of the Funaki household, a renowned family of samurai chefs. This award-winning film features traditional Japanese cuisines from age-old surviving recipe books. Chairman Kaga from Iron Chef makes a cameo appearance. Closing night will be held in conjunction with Rialto Cinemas’ Films for Foodies evening.


Families: Children will enjoy the live-action adaptation of Kiki’s Delivery Service, a children’s novel that inspired Hayao Miyazaki’s enchanting anime of the same name.

Anime: One for the adults, anime aficionados must see Katsuhiro Otomo’s (Akira) Short Peace (pictured) an anthology of four shorts from Japan’s most talented creators, including the 86th Academy Award® nominated Best Animated Short Film, Possessions.

Comedy: Wood Job! is a coming-of-age story starring rising actor, Shota Sometani (Himizu) who won the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best Young Actor at the 68th Venice Film Festival.

Based on a smash-hit manga series, Thermae Romae and its sequel Thermae Romae II follows the adventures of a time-travelling Roman architect specialising in bath culture to modern day Japan.

Drama: Follow the life of humble and famed Tea Master Rikyu and the sacrifices he makes for his art in Ask this of Rikyu. In Tokyo Refugees, awareness on the social issue of homelessness in Tokyo is brought to light, while Pecoross’ Mother and Her Days is a poignant and light-hearted drama about a son and his ageing mother, and her battle with dementia.

Action: Already announced is the live-action adaptation of popular manga series, Rurouni Kenshin returning to the Festival as a trilogy. Fans will be delighted to hear that the JFF will screen the original episode, alongside the long-awaited sequels, Rurouni Kenshin – Kyoto Inferno and Rurouni Kenshin – The Legend Ends.

Cult: Director Sion Sono brings a bizarre showcase of gangster violence to comic extremes in Why Don’t You Play in Hell? Voted by Japanese viewers as the most frightening of all horror series, comes the chilling JU-ON – The Beginning of the End.

Documentary: The God of Ramen is an inspiring story of a celebrated chef and his passion for ramen.


JFF is holding free screenings for two of its titles in the main program – The Kirishima Thing, a Japan Academy Award-winning film that navigates through the delicate ecosystem of high school; and a coming-of-age story of a young Okinawan girl in Leaving on the 15th Spring.

In addition to the main Festival in Auckland, the JFF runs satellite programs known as JFF Mini which also offers additional free screenings of Japanese films to greater parts of New Zealand, including Christchurch and Wellington. JFF Mini is operated in conjunction with the Embassy of Japan in New Zealand and the Consular Office of Japan in Christchurch.

“Cinema is a powerful medium that transcends cultural barriers. As a part of the Japan Foundation’s remit to promote cultural exchange, JFF free screenings are bridges that aim to reach out to audiences across all socio-economic backgrounds and circumstances. People can still access and experience Japanese culture through film for free. We are really bringing Japan to you,” states Festival Director, Masafumi Konomi.

All films are in Japanese with English subtitles.

Japanese Film Festival Dates and Venues

The 18th JFF runs internationally between October – December 2014

Auckland 6 – 12 November | Rialto Cinemas, Newmarket Regular Tickets: Adult $17 / Concession $14.50/ Senior $12.50/ 5-Film Pass $75 Special Events: Films for Foodies $35 (includes a drink, nibbles, goodie bag and film screening)

Australian Tour: Adelaide 10 – 12 & 17 – 19 October | Mercury Cinema

Canberra 15 – 19 October | Capitol Cinemas Manuka

Brisbane 22 – 26 October |Event Cinemas, Brisbane City Myer Centre

Perth 29 October – 2 November | Hoyts Carousel & Hoyts Millennium

Sydney 13 – 23 November | Event Cinemas, George Street & Event Cinemas, Parramatta Art Gallery of New South Wales (JFF classics – Wed, Sat & Sun, 15 – 26 October)

Melbourne 27 November – 7 December | Hoyts Melbourne Central & ACMI Cinemas, Australian Centre for the Moving Image

Japanese Film Festival’s official channels


Facebook: japanesefilmfest

Twitter: @japanfilmfest #JFF2014NZ


The Japanese Film Festival (JFF) is presented and run by The Japan Foundation, Sydney and is now an established calendar event in Australia. The JFF started in 1997 with three free film screenings by Festival Director Masafumi Konomi. Last year, the Festival celebrated its 17th year with an audience of approximately 25,000 Australia-wide. The Festival has enjoyed great success over the years, with the opportunity to showcase a vast variety of cinematic delights from classics to newly released films currently screening in Japan. The JFF also brings out special guests from Japan for Q&A evenings and film screenings. 2014 is the first year JFF travels with its main program outside of Australia to its first international destination, Auckland, New Zealand.


The Japan Foundation, Sydney is the Australian arm of the Japan Foundation, which was established by the Japanese government to promote cultural and intellectual exchange between Japan and other nations. The Japan Foundation, Sydney runs a diverse range of programs and events, including exhibitions, talk events, grant programs and Japanese language courses for all levels from beginner to advanced. The Japan Foundation was established in 1972 with a global network of 22 offices in 21 countries. The Australian office was founded in 1977.

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