FESTIVALS: Osaka Asian film festival unveils competition line-up

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Osaka Asian Film Festival has announced the 14 titles that have been selected for its competition section, including the world premiere of Elisa’s Day from Hong Kong filmmaker Alan Fung. 

Hotel Iris, a Japan-Taiwan co-production directed by Hiroshi Okuhara and Japanese filmmaker Satoko Yokohama’s itomichi will also receive their world premieres in the competition section. The other titles are a mix of Japanese and international premieres (see full list below). The jurors will choose the winners of the Grand Prix and Most Promising Talent Award from these films.

As previously announced, Man Lim-chung’s documentary Keep Rolling (pictured), about Hong Kong filmmaker Ann Hui, will open the festival, while Yuya Ishii’s The Asian Angel will play as the closing film. 

This year’s OAFF is taking place as a physical event (March 5-14), but without talks and autograph sessions. In addition to regular theatrical screenings, the festival will also have an online component, Osaka Asian Film Festival Online, which will run from February 28 to March 20. 

The online component includes two programmes – seven films selected for previous editions of the festival will be screened online in the ‘Theater One’ programme, while two Taiwanese classics will be screened in ‘Theater OAFF2021’.

OAFF will also host a Spotlight section of ten films that are expected to gain attention this year because they highlight a new talent or movement in cinema. Titles in this section include Bhutan’s submission for the Oscars, Lunana: A Yak In The Classroom, Mongolian dramas Naked Bulb and Black Milk, and Night Is Young from Hong Kong filmmaker Kwok Zune. 

Indie Forum includes ten titles from “innovative and challenging talents”, most of which are world premieres. The Japan Cuts Award will be presented by the Japan Society to one Japanese film selected from this section.

Special Programs include New Action! Southeast Asia, Taiwan: Movies on the Move, Classic and Contemporary and Special Focus on Hong Kong 2021. The festival also hold a gala screening of Hong Kong crime drama Hand Rolled Cigarette

OAFF 2021 Competition Line-up:

Beyond You (Korea), dir: PARK Hong-min (IP)

The Cemil Show (Turkey), dir: Baris SARHAN (AP)

The Con-Heartist (Thailand), dir: Mez THARATORN (JP)

Elisa’s Day (Hong Kong), dir: Alan FUNG (WP)

Emptiness (Ecuador, Uruguay), dir: Paul VENEGAS (JP)

Honeymood (Israel), dir: Talya LAVIE (JP)

Hotel Iris (Japan, Taiwan), dir: OKUHARA Hiroshi (WP)

itomichi (Japan), dir: YOKOHAMA Satoko (WP)

Killer Spider (Iran), dir: Ebrahim IRAJZAD (JP)

Nadia, Butterfly (Canada), dir: Pascal PLANTE (JP)

A Song for You (China), dir: DUKAR Tserang (IP)

The Slug (Korea), dir: CHOI Jin-young (IP)

Tiong Bahru Social Club (Singapore), dir: TAN Bee Thiam (JP)

The Way We Keep Dancing (Hong Kong), dir: Adam WONG (JP)