FESTIVALS: Japan’s Skip City unveils competition line-up

Japan’s Skip City International D-Cinema Festival has unveiled the line-up for its 15th anniversary edition (July 13-22), including a new competition section for Japanese features.

The International Competition will screen ten films, including Christina Choe’s Nancy, which won best screenplay at Sundance, and Shin Dong-seok’s Last Child (pictured), which was awarded the Fipresci prize at Busan. This section also includes the world premiere of Japanese director Natsuki Nakagawa’s She Is Alone (see full line-up below).

The Japanese Feature Film Competition will screen four titles from young Japanese filmmakers, including two world premieres – Kenichiro Hiro’s coming-of-age drama Beyond The Blue and Shinzo Katayama’s Siblings Of The Cave, starring Yuya Matsuura and Misa Wada.

The remaining two films in this section are Hiroyuki Takebayashi’s High Sentiments Family and Norichika Oba’s Cyclops. In previous editions of the festival, Japanese features played in the International Competition, rather than in a dedicated section.

Last year’s winner of the Skip City Audience Award, Yoshio Kato’s 3ft Ball And Souls, which premiered in the International Competition, went on to play at several other festivals and was picked up by Gaga Corp for international sales.

As in previous years, the festival will also feature a competition for short films from up-and-coming Japanese filmmakers, which will screen nine titles.

The festival will open with Yuya Nakaizumi’s Running Again, produced by Kawaguchi City to commemorate the festival’s 15th anniversary. The drama revolves around people who are inspired by Kawaguchi City marathon runner Takeshi Furuichi.

Special sections include “Filmmakers from Saitama Making Waves”, featuring filmmakers such as Yuya Ishii, Yu Irie, Shuichi Okita and Keisuke Yoshida, who are originally from Saitama Prefecture, a district immediately north of Tokyo which hosts the festival.

“Celebrating World Auteurs” will screen documentaries about world-renowned auteurs Akira Kurosawa, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Edward Yang and Michael Haneke. The festival will also screen all three installments of the Despicable Me franchise.

Skip City was launched in 2004 as one of the world’s first film festivals to focus solely on films shot on digital in order to discover and nurture emerging talent.

SKIP CITY 2018 INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION:

Darling – Director: Birgitte Stærmose (Denmark, Sweden)

*Asian Premiere

God BLISS Our Home – Director: Nawruz Paguidopon (Philippines, South Korea)

*International Premiere

Last Child – Director: Dong-seok Shin (South Korea)

*Japan Premiere

The Last Suit – Director: Pablo Solarz (Spain, Argentina)

*Japan Premiere

Light Up – Director: Kirill Pletnev (Russia)

*Asian Premiere

Nancy – Director: Christina Choe (US)

*Asian Premiere

She Is Alone – Director: Natsuki Nakagawa (Japan)

*World Premiere

The Swan – Director: Ása Helga Hjörleifsdóttir (Iceland, Germany, Estonia)

*Japan Premiere

Under The Tree – Director: Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson (Iceland, Denmark, Poland, Germany)

*Japan Premiere

Unwanted – Director: Edon Rizvanolli (Kosovo, Netherlands)

*Japan Premiere