Eigasai is a remarkable festival which showcases some of the best films from Japan offered for viewing to Filipino audiences for free, and on its 19th year, it kicked off in grand fashion at the Grand Atrium of Shangri-la Plaza last week. The opening night was well attended by dignitaries, guests and the media, who got to witness esteemed director Masato Harada address the Filipino audience about film making and insights on the festival’s opening movie, Kakekomi.
The first ever EIGASAI was held in 1997. A year short of celebrating its 20th year, the film festival’s main organizer the Japan Foundation, Manila (JFM)—in cooperation with the Embassy of Japan—is pulling out all the stops in making this year’s installment remarkable to commemorate two different milestones: 60 Years of Philippines-Japan Friendship and JFM’s 20th Anniversary. This year they have also partnered with local film festival Cinemalaya.
Guests were treated to cocktails and a sumptuous dinner as the event began with an exciting performance from The Philippine Allstars as the opening act. The Kakekomi costume exhibit was also presented to the guests as a prelude to Eigasai’s featured opening film.
Giving their opening remarks were the important people behind the festival and have made this grand undertaking possible, which include Director Hiroaki Uesugi of the Japan Foundation, Manila who welcomed and invited everyone to the event and enjoy the films throughout the festival.
Masato Harada is a prominent director, writer and actor in Japan and America, and he was in Manila for the opening ceremonies as well as two Director’s Talks for Eigasai 2016 as a couple of his movies will be featured throughout the festival. In his opening remarks he recounted his fond memories of creating films, as well as inviting Filipinos to explore making films in historic places in his native Japan.
After the opening remarks, Eigasai 2016 was officially opened with the kagami-biraki or sake barrel opening by the speakers, with everyone invited to a toast to the success of the festival.
Everyone was then asked to proceed to Shang Cineplex Cinema 2 for the screening of the opening movie, Kakekomi. Masato Harada got to share a few words about the historical piece and about how directing the movie become a memorable experience for him. The movie was shown with English subtitles, and I personally got to enjoy it as it had a perfect balance of drama, action and humor set in the pre-modern Japan abundant with historical references and rooted in tradition. I most definitely recommend it to everyone and invite everyone to catch it at the free screenings throughout the length of the festival.
Eigasai runs from July 7 to August 21 featuring more than 80 screenings. Another first for EIGASAI this year is its screenings not just in one but two locations in Baguio City—SM Baguio Cinema and FDCP Cinematheque. As with the previous years, the film festival will also have its provincial run in Davao and Cebu.
The Japan Foundation, Manila carefully curated a total of twelve films with English subtitles. This year’s EIGASAI line-up includes: Crossroads （『クロスロード』）, Flying Colors （『ビリギャル』）, Our Little Sister （『海街diary』）,Pale Moon （『紙の月』）, The Boy and the Beast （『バケモノの子』）, The Great Passage （『舟を編む』）and The Little House （『小さいおうち』）. The film trailers are available from https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9ls2kEuz3FiCO_3Ulmtt2uVgd8HD_V9b. For the film synopsis, as well as the screening and talk schedules, please refer to the EIGASAI e-Flyer http://www.jfmo.org.ph/audio-visual-and-film. Updates will also be posted on the JFM Facebook.
All screenings are free and seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis, but admission process may differ according to venues. Screening venues are at the Shang Cineplex Cinema 2 (July 7 to 17), Abreeza Mall Cinema, Davao (July 22 to 24), FDCP Cinematheque, Davao (July 26 to 30), Cultural Center of the Philippines (July 8, August 6, 9, 10 and 12), SM Baguio Cinema, Baguio City (August 11 to 14), FDCP Cinematheque Baguio (August 15), Ayala Center Cebu (August 17 to 21) and UP Film Institute (August 17 to 20).
EIGASAI is generously supported by Shangri-La Plaza, Shang Cineplex, UP Film Institute, Cultural Center of the Philippines, SM Supermalls, SM Baguio City, Film Development Council of the Philippines, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Japanese Association of Northern Luzon, Sa Lubong-Baguio, Cordillera Green Network, JT International (Philippines) Inc., Canon Marketing (Philippines), Inc., Mitsubishi Corporation, Japan Airlines Co., Ltd., Muji, Watami, Crystal Cup Ozeki Philippines, Richmonde Hotel Ortigas.
Many thanks to the Japan Foundation, Manila for accommodating our team at the event, and even more thanks for having Eigasai 2016 and sharing great Japanese films to Filipinos to more locations all over the Philippines.
About EIGASAI, the Japanese Film Festival
The Japanese Film Festival, widely known and appreciated in the Philippines as EIGASAI is presented and run by the Japan Foundation, Manila and is now an established free annual event which is held in July in celebration of the Philippines-Japan Friendship Month. Launched in 1997, EIGASAI has grown to one of the largest and popular film festivals attracting over 20,000 audiences every year across the Philippines, showcasing a vast variety of cinematic delights from drama, romance, anime to recently released films in Japan. EIGASAI also brings out guests from Japan for special talks and discussions. In 2016, EIGASAI is partnering with the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival for the first time.
About CINEMALAYA, Philippine Independent Film Festival
Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival is an all-digital film festival and competition that aims to discover, encourage and honor the cinematic works of Filipino filmmakers that boldly articulate and freely interpret the Filipino experience with fresh insight and artistic integrity. It also aims to invigorate Philippine filmmaking by developing a new breed of Filipino filmmakers. Cinemalaya is a project of the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the Cinemalaya Foundation, Inc.
About the Japan Foundation, Manila
The Japan Foundation was established in 1972 by special legislation in the Japanese Diet and became an Independent Administrative Institution in October 2003. The mission of the Japan Foundation is to promote international cultural exchange and mutual understanding between Japan and other countries. As the18th overseas office, the Japan Foundation, Manila was founded in 1996, active in three focused areas: Arts and Culture; Japanese Studies and Intellectual Exchange; Japanese-Language Education Overseas. For more information please visit our website at www.jfmo.org.