Yubari 2012 Preview: Yubari Choice - Japanese Independent Film

James Marsh, Asian Editor
Continuing our preview coverage of the forthcoming Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival, which takes place in Yubari, Japan from 23-27 February, we now begin combing through the vast and rich category - Yubari Choice. First up is the fairly self-explanatory "Japanese Independent Film" section, comprising of nine films all originating from homegrown talent outside the studio system.

Yubari Choice: Japanese Independent Film


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SYAMENBANA
A period drama examining the plight of social outcasts exiled to the remote island of Sado, the plot focuses on a prostitute (Misaki Nisijyo - SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO) sent there after being wrongfully convicted of arson. Featuring a beautiful score by Ryuichi Kawamura and directed by Shiniti Karube.



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HALCYON SKIES
Tao Nashimoto's contemporary fantasy explores the adolescents of Tsubame City and many of the cast members were discovered through locally-held auditions to ensure maximum possible authenticity and capture the wealth of Nigata.



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SPEED SHIRO & SANKICHI
Writer-director Yudai Yamaguchi, world-renowned for films like VERSUS, BATTLEFIELD BASEBALL and YAKUZA WEAPON, re-teams with regular collaborator and leading man Taku Sakaguchi to expand on their 1995 short "TEBANA SANKICHI & 2 (TWICE) SHIRO STRIKES!". Filmed in Yubari, New York City and Austin, Texas (around the time they guested at last September's Fantastic Fest!) 



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UNDERTAKER
Naoyoshi Kawamatsu's post-apocalyptic horror flick tells the story of a lone zombie killer known as The Undertaker, who wanders the war-ravaged wasteland. Featuring the talents of SFX Make-up artist Akiteru Nakada (THE TASTE OF TEA, CATERPILLAR), this promises to usher in a new era of Japanese zombie horror.



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RAPE ZOMBIE
"Kill them or you will be raped!" The latest from Naoyuki Tomomatsu (VAMPIRE GIRL VS. FRANKENSTEIN GIRL) seems to be fairly self-explanatory, but so long as its tongue is firmly in its cheek there should be some fun times ahead, in addition to the zombies and the raping. 



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DIE! FILMMAKERS, DIE!
This originally aired as a short film at last year's festival, before more footage was added and it was screened at PiFan in Korea, where I actually saw it. This is an extremely meta horror film about a group of student filmmakers attempting to make the ultimate horror movie by capturing real ghosts on camera. Director Makoto Shinozaki has no doubt tinkered with it some more since last summer and I'm curious to see the results.



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KANIYUKI YUDETA'S RISING
An animated spin-off from last year's hit movie SEAFOOD GIRL MAIKO YAMAOKA, directed by Tetsuya Miyashiro and Ryutaro Kajino, who have apparently made a live action version as well.



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WINTER GHOST
Winner of the Fantaland Grand Prix at YIFFF back in 2004, here is another opportunity to see Kousaku Inaba's film in front of a local crowd. Filmed on the streets of Yubari, it tells the story of a lone cop out to rid the city streets of malevolent ghosts.



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ULTRA Q
Another re-issued classic, Hajime Tsuburaya's 1966 made-for-tv movie ULTRA Q will be screening in a brand new colourised version. Part of the long-running and hugely successful sci-fi classic ULTRAMAN series, the film stars actress Hiroko Sakurai, who will be in attendance at the festival.


There is still plenty more of Yubari 2012 to be previewed, so be sure to keep checking in throughout the week!


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