FANTASIA 2015: The Supernatural Looms In Feudal Japan In The Latest International Trailer For NINJA THE MONSTER
Sure, it’s quite the switch from his latest 2014/2015 award-winning feat, Uzumasa Limelight, but that doesn’t mean this won’t be fun, and I’m sure it will be.
Actor and seasoned stuntman Fukumoto Seizo has been the recipient of much-deserved popularity as of late following his acting debut in Ochiai Ken‘s new film, Uzumasa Limelight. While delivering its fair share of suitable swordplay action and drama, Ochiai‘s award-winning film festival favorite of 2014 serves largely as a poignant character study bearing virtually much more similarity to that of its lead actor, and not for nothing. Fukumoto has spent close to 80% of his life in the world of film, leaving an otherwise unchallenged legacy as one of the hardest working performance artists in his field.
The film is still running its festival course with a screening gearing up for the Philidelphia Asian American Film & Filmmakers Film Festival on November 14. Thankfully though, the good-natured folks over at Eleven Arts have the film in their custody and will be granting the film a limited North American theatrical release on December 5, and here to accompany the date is a newly refurbished trailer to watch beneath the press release.
Los Angeles, CA, October 30, 2014 – Los Angeles-based film production and distribution company, ELEVEN ARTS, is pleased to announce the North American release of UZUMASA LIMELIGHT, its latest film from Japan.
With a successful Japanese release, and as well as a recipient of several awards at film festivals across the world, UZUMASA LIMELIGHT will be making its way stateside for its US theatrical run. The latest keyart and trailer can be viewed online on the film’s official website: www.uzumasalimelight.com.
The release kicks off with the Los Angeles red carpet premiere in Beverly Hills on November 24, with director Ken Ochiai and stars Seizo Fukumoto and Chihiro Yamamoto in attendance. The official U.S. release date is set for December 5, starting in several cities, including Los Angeles, Irvine, New York City, Honolulu, and Aiea. An expansive list of theaters throughout the United States is available at www.uzumasalimelight.com.
Uzumasa has been called the Hollywood of Japan. Located in the historical Kyoto Prefecture, known as the cultural center of the nation, it has produced many “jidaigeki,” Japanese period films which are set in or before the Edo period (up to 1868 AD). These films are loved by the Japanese people and praised all over the world, but would not be what they were if it weren’t for the “kirareyaku,” actors whose job it is to be killed by the lead star, without ever being in the limelight.
Uzumasa Limelight is about those men, the unsung heroes of classic jidaigeki films; Actors who loved and respected the art, even when the production of classic jidaigeki films began to dwindle. Staring the legendary Seizo Fukumoto, Japan’s most famous kirareyaku who appeared as the “Silent Samurai” in the 2003 Hollywood film The Last Samurai, and using Charlie Chaplin’s Limelight as an underlying theme, the admirable story of these men dealing with a new generation and fading craftsmanship is told with melancholy and soul.
The film has been screened at various film festivals worldwide, and was the winner of several different awards, including the Audience Award at the 13th New York Asian Film Festival and the Cheval Noir Award for Best Film at the 18th Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal. It was also one of five films to be selected for the Best Narrative Feature Award at the 23rd Heartland International Film Festival. Lead actor Seizo Fukumoto received the Best Actor Award at the Fantasia International Film Festival for his portrayal of Seiichi Kamiyama.
New York, NY — North America’s largest showcase of Japanese film and “One of the loopiest… and least predictable of New York’s film festivals” (New York Magazine), JAPAN CUTS: The New York Festival of Contemporary Japanese Cinema returns for its eighth annual installment.
H/T: Emmanuel Manzanares
Budgets are usually an issue for some directors; I guess the opposite is true for risk when it comes to some studios. Me, personally, I’m all for a director using as much money as possible to allow the creative process to fully flourish and make the film not only excellent, but memorable. And there are directors who are able to achieve this on various productions throughout the world with low budgets, as opposed to Hollywood where studios will spend hundreds of millions of dollars to make a film, a move that can go one of two way depending on the title, which brings us the latest from Shochiku.
Back in 2010, rival studio, Nikkatsu launched a short series of small-budgeted productions subsidized under production label, Sushi Typhoon, producing and distributing gonzo cult favorites like Deadball, Yakuza Weapon, Cold Fish and Mutant Girls Squad before shutting down in 2011. Four years later, Shochiku has now chosen a similar approach with the goal of producing three high-concept smaller-budgeted productions per year solely for overseas release, costing anywhere around $240,000 to avoid the difficulties of recouping budgets that are four times larger. And just in time for Cannes, the studio has announced the its first two project to test the waters this August with The Tiger Mask helmer Ken Ochiai‘s new period fantasy actioner, Ninja The Monster, starring Black & White: The Dawn Of Assault actor Dean Fujioka, which tells the story of undercover ninjas facing off against alien monsters. The film is currently in post production and is poised to finish by August.
The second to release will be Ninja Hunter, about a man who wakes up in a room full of dead bodies with a bloody knife in-hand and no prior memory of how it all happened.
As it stands, the plots are vague. But nonetheless, Shochiku is giving the international niche what it wants: Ninja movies! And that means more cinematic martial arts action to come from the land of the rising sun!
Speaking of which, Ochiai‘s previously completed action drama, Uzumasa Limelight starring veteran actor Seizô Fukumoto has a trailer as of late last year and is expected to release domestically later this year, courtesy of Eleven Arts. Check it out and stay tuned for more information.
H/T: Variety, Screendaily