The Moon Thieves

Osaka Asian Film Festival To Open With ‘The Moon Thieves’, Close With ‘Tokyo Cowboy’

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Japan’s Osaka Asian Film Festival (OAFF, March 1-10) has set The Moon Thieves, directed by Hong Kong’s Steve Yuen Kim-wai, as the opening film of this year’s edition, while Tokyo Cowboy, from US filmmaker Marc Marriott, will close the event. 

The Moon Thieves is a heist thriller starring three members of Hong Kong boy band Mirror – Anson Lo, Edan Lui and Keung To. Tokyo Cowboy, starring Arata Iura, tells the story of a Japanese businessman who travels to Montana to get help for this plans to well Wagyu beef. The film is receiving its international premiere at OAFF.

The festival has also announced its competition section, which will screen 14 films including the world premieres of Zhou Zhou’s Australia-China Unborn Soul and three Japanese films: Kahori Higashi’s Memories Of His Scent, Kota Yoshida’s Snowdrop and Nobuhiro Yamashita’s Swimming In A Sand Pool (see full line-up below).

Other major sections include Spotlight, which will screen titles including Indonesian action film 13 Bombs, directed by  Angga Dwimas Sasongko; and Lin Yihan’s Sojourn To Shangri-la, which is premiering at the upcoming Berlin film festival. 

This year’s Indie Forum will feature a high proportion of films directed by women and World Premieres as the festival seeks to support new talent. Titles selected for this section include #MeToo drama Blue Imagine (2024), from actress-turned-director Urara Matsubayashi; black comedy Performing Kaoru’s Funeral (2023), directed by Noriko Yuasa; and Tetsuya Mariko’s Before Anyone Else, which was shot on the streets of Chicago.

OAFF also has sections dedicated to Thailand, Taiwan and Hong Kong, which will screen titles including Hong Kong filmmaker Amos Why’s Everyphone Everywhere and Taiwanese filmmaker Wei Te-Sheng’s Big

OAFF is organised by the Osaka Executive Committee for the Promotion of Moving Image Culture and takes place at venues in Osaka including ABC Hall, Cine Libre Umeda, T-Joy Umeda and the Nakanoshima Museum of Art

OAFF 2024 Competition Lineup:

Blackbird Blackbird Blackberry (Georgia, Switzerland), dir: Elene NAVERIANI (JP)

City Of Wind (France, Mongolia, Germany, Portugal, Netherlands, Qatar), dir: Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir (JP)

Fire On Water (Malaysia), dir: Sun-J PERUMAL (AP)

Hyphen (Philippines), dir: Jopy ARNALDO (JP)

The Lyricist Wannabe (Hong Kong), dir: Norris WONG (JP)

Memories Of His Scent (Japan), dir: HIGASHI Kahori (WP)

The Missing (Philippines), dir: Carl Joseph E. Papa (JP)

Not Friends (Thailand), dir: Atta HEMWADEE (JP)

Salli (Taiwan, France), dir: LIEN Chien Hung (JP)

Snowdrop (Japan), dir: YOSHIDA Kota (WP)

Solids By The Seashore (Thailand), dir: Patiparn BOONTARIG (JP)

Trouble Girl (Taiwan), dir: CHIN Chia-Hua (JP)

Unborn Soul (Australia, China), dir: ZHOU Zhou (WP)

Swimming In A Sand Pool (Japan), dir: YAMASHITA Nobuhiro (WP)