L.A. event to showcase Japanese filmmakers


TOKYO -- To give the next generation of Japanese filmmakers a helping hand in foreign markets, the Japan External Trade Organization has scheduled its Third Annual Show Biz Japan! Sneak Peek event for Nov. 3 at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica.

With the rest of the world showing an interest in Japanese themes -- from "Memoirs of a Geisha" and "The Last Samurai" to Naomi Kawase taking the top prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival for "The Mourning Forest" -- the movie industry here is looking to tap into new opportunities.

The event will showcase seven works, selected from 31 features and short films, with a panel of industry professionals judging the titles on the basis of which is likely to meet with the most success in the United States.

The trade organization is also promoting two movies that are being screened at the AFI Fest at the ArcLight Hollywood.

"Sakuran," directed by Mika Ninagawa, behind the camera for her first feature-length movie, has already attracted widespread acclaim. Based on a manga, it tells the tale of a popular geisha and stars Anna Tsuchiya in the lead role.

The second film to be screened is "Funuke, show some love you losers!" Directed by Daihachi Yoshida, it features three siblings that come somewhat comically unglued after their parents are killed.