Japan Film Festival of S.F. Announces Theatrical Premieres

Shunji Iwai's "A Bride for Rip Van Winkle"

Shunji Iwai’s “A Bride for Rip Van Winkle”

SAN FRANCISCO — The 2016 Japan Film Festival of San Francisco (JFFSF), the first and only fully dedicated Japanese film celebration for the Bay Area, has announced a diverse roster of films that are set to screen as part of this year’s program.

This year’s JFFSF presents a broad collection of current and acclaimed Japanese cinema across a variety of genres such as action, sci-fi, documentary, anime, shorts, live music, kabuki theatre, crime mystery, and family drama. All films will be presented in Japanese with English subtitles.

"Happy Hour"

“Happy Hour”

The festival opens Saturday, July 23, and runs through Sunday, July 31, at New People Cinema, located inside New People in Japantown at 1746 Post St., San Francisco (www.newpeoplecinema.com). Tickets to individual screenings are $15 each, unless otherwise noted. All ticket prices include the service fee with no further extra charge.

For the true film aficionado, the JFFSF also offers special JFFSF Festival Passports. Available for $150 each, a passport grants the holder priority access and seating at all screenings. A complete listing of film summaries, trailers, screening times and advance tickets as well as festival passports are available at http://JFFSF.org.

"The Anthem of the Heart"

“The Anthem of the Heart”

Guests of honor include director Shinsuke Sato (“Gantz,” “The Princess Blade”), who appears in person for the U.S. premiere of “Library Wars: The Last Mission”; director Shunji Iwai (“Love Letter,” “All About Lily Chou-Chou,” “Hana and Alice”), who will appear for the California premiere of “A Bride for Rip Van Winkle”; and director Ryusuke Hamaguchi, who will appear for the screening of “Happy Hour.”

“We are honored to welcome three prominent directors from Japan as our guests of honor this year,” says Manami Iiboshi, executive director of the JFFSF. “It is exciting to share with our beloved audience this rare opportunity to hear about the creative vision behind their films in person. I hope everyone enjoys exploring diversity of Japanese cinema through this year’s program.”

"Solomon's Perjury"

“Solomon’s Perjury”

This year’s JFFSF also complements an extensive roster of entertainment set to take place for J-Pop Summit 2016 the weekend of July 23 and 24 at San Francisco’s Fort Mason. For more information, visit www.j-pop.com.

• “Library Wars: The Last Mission” on Saturday, July 23, at 12 p.m., featuring a special appearance by director Shinsuke Sato. In this new sequel to the first “Library Wars” film, the story is set in a near future where the expression of thought is censored and the media is controlled. Under instructor Atsushi Dojo, whom she admires, Iku Kasahara is now a full-fledged member of the Library Defense Task Force. They are ordered to guard a public exhibition featuring “The Handbook of Library Law,” known as the symbol of freedom, with no clue what fate awaits ahead.

• “IA First Live Concert in Japan: Party a Go-Go,” on July 23 at 3 p.m. Presented by J-Pop Summit 2016, Vocaloid sensation IA’s first solo concert film will have its San Francisco premiere at Japan Film Festival of S.F. IA is a virtual artist brought to life as part of the Vocaloid 3 with its synthesizing technology, and IA-related videos have collectively garnered more than 100 million views online.

• Tokyo Short Shorts 2016 on July 23 at 4:15 p.m. JFFSF’s popular collaboration with Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia teams up to exclusively premiere a collection of special short films directed by a new generation of filmmakers from Japan, including   Hatsuki Yokoo’s “Plan B,” Yusako Okamoto’s “Hana,” Seiki Watanabe’s “Piece of the Future,” Yuta