Japanese Films and Filmmakers at the 2018 Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival

The Philadephia Asian American Film Festival (PAAFF) returns to Philadelphia from November 8 – 18. This year marks PAAFF’s 11th season of showcasing Asian American film contributions, and includes fifty film screenings and live events in Center City and University City.

Included this year are four feature-length films that focus on Japanese nationals and Japanese Americans.  Film screenings and costs are included in each description.

Jizolibido (2018, dir. Yoshiaki Kasatani)
61 mins | Documentary | Japan | Japanese
Tuesday, November 13, 6:30 PM – 7:45 PM
Fleisher Art Memorial (719 Catherine St)
Free Admission
Atelier Yamanami is a care facility for the disabled located in Koka, Shiga Prefecture in Japan. Currently, 88 users are registered as artists, all of whom possess a unique way of expressing themselves through various media and whose works are highly valued abroad. This documentary explores these artists’ “relationship between their mental states and their art.”

Screened with short film Morgan (Dir. Eiko Fan, Aidan Un | 6 mins | USA)

Morgan has very limited mobility. He can swing his feet a little, and he moves his middle finger to paint large paintings. He cannot speak but his eyes can direct the computer to tell what he wants to say a little. His paintings speak of his unique ability and intention to express himself.

Living In The Story (2018, dir. Lynn Estomin)

52 mins | Documentary | USA | English
Thursday, November 15, 6:30 PM – 7:35 PM
Fleisher Art Memorial (719 Catherine St.)
Free Admission
Living In The Story documents thirty-five years of art making by the distinguished photographic artist Patrick Ryoichi Nagatani, one of the most brilliant photographic artists of our era. In the late 1970s, he pioneered the Contemporary Constructed Photographic Movement in Los Angeles, developing a new visual vocabulary by constructing tableau photographs from sets, sculptures, models, and paintings. The film portrays an artist deeply concerned and well informed about world events who uses imagery, storytelling, and narrative fiction to raise awareness about modern anxieties with an emphasis on the threat of nuclear weapons technology. Nagatani has also explored healing techniques and states of consciousness in which the material world is transcended. Despite the serious content of his subject matter, his innovative images are compelling and entertaining. An engaging raconteur and teacher, Nagatani talks in the film about his projects, his unorthodox photographic techniques, and his subtle weaving together of fiction and fact. Scott Nagatani’s hauntingly beautiful music score provides the film’s soundtrack.
Yassa Daruman (2018, dir. Kenichi Omori)
91 mins | Documentary | Japan | Japanese
Saturday, November 17, 7:30 PM – 9:05 PM
Asian Arts Initiative (1219 Vine St.)
$10 ($8 students with ID and seniors)
As part of the celebrations to commemorate the 450th anniversary of Mihara Castle’s construction, the youth from the Yassa Daruman neighborhood have undertaken a glorious project: to spread the popularity of Yassa Daruman, Mihara City’s official mascot, around the country. Inspired by this example of youthful exuberance, the ordinary citizens of Mihara City join the struggle, and a wonderful adventure commences.
60 mins | Documentary | USA | English
Sunday, November 18, 7:00 PM – 8:15 PM
Asian Arts Initiative (1219 Vine St.)
$10 ($8 students with ID and seniors)

A son of immigrants forced into a U.S. World War II concentration camp as a child, Norman Mineta became the first Asian American mayor of a major city (San Jose, California); enjoyed a distinguished 20-year career in Congress; was the first Asian American Cabinet member; and served under two U.S. Presidents, a Democrat and Republican.

Mineta never forgot his roots or the shame and humiliation he and his family felt during WWII and led the way for an apology from the U.S. government and redress for Japanese Americans. On September 11, 2001, his leadership as U.S. Secretary of Transportation would ensure that what happened to Japanese Americans during WWII did not happen to any other group based on ethnicity or religion.

Secretary Mineta and Director Dianne Fukami expected in attendance for post-film Q&A. Following An American Story, stay for a closing reception for PAAFF 2018 from 8:30 PM – 11:00 PM

Co-presented by Japanese American Citizens League.

For more information on the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival, view the 2018 program guide.

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