Indie Forum 2019 Primer


The Osaka Asian Film Festival will be held from March 8th to the 17th. The list of titles in each program were recently announced and, of course, the movies to be featured in their Indie Forum section are of the most interest to Indievisual. This year there are 10 films–7 features (one is actually a mid-length) and 3 shorts “by new innovative and challenging talents” according to the programmers. Here is a rundown of 2019 Indie Forum titles and a few other titles of note.

(Please click the titles to view the official OAFF 2019 page for each movie)

Demolition Girl


Fresh off Slamdance Matsugami Genta’s bold and creative take on teen angst makes its Japan premiere. Actor Kitai Aya won a Slamdance Acting Award Honorable Mention for her performance of Cocoa.


©HANA 2018

A horror short featured at last year’s Sitges Film Festival, the premise is simple and those are often the most effective scares. This is also a Japan premiere.

Nunchaku and Soul


Two men from two walks of life are brought together through nunchucks, soul music, and a dance contest. Let the comedy (hopefully) ensue. This is a world premiere.

Okinawan Blue


A tale set on a serene island centered around three families, Kishimoto Tsukasa’s movie could be as warm and gentle as the Kerema Islands themselves.



In English, the title conveys the Japanese for “goodbye” as the story details suggest, but is also a clever play on words meaning “what if that’s correct.” Director Ishibashi Yuho’s gorgeous photographic eye is also in full display.

Shinjuku Tiger


After appearing at Indie Forum in 2017 with his sophomore narrative feature, Her Mother, Sato Yoshinori returns to Indie Forum with the world premiere of his first feature-length documentary. If you live in Japan, you may have caught sight of the mysterious figure wearing a tiger mask in Shinjuku. This is that person’s story.


©sky-key factory

True life models, actors, and musicians talk about pressing women’s issues in contemporary society for a documentary film director. Nishihara Takashi attempts to blur the lines of fact and fiction by allowing the subjects to talk about their lives, but not as themselves.



A 25 minute short by Fukuda Momoko taking its characters on a surreal road-trip down their own past.



Two biracial men experiencing adversities living in Japan bond in Kawazoe Bilal’s short movie. The term “half” is often used to refer to people who are not “completely” Japanese. Kawazoe’s aim to depict these two characters on their journey to be “whole” is a thoughtful premise.

Wild Tour

©Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media [YCAM]

The mid-length work produced under the auspices of the Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media looks to take audiences on a tour of Yamaguchi Prefecture’s natural beauty.

The Housen Cultural Foundation supports the study and production of cinema in graduate schools. The movies screened in this section have been given support by the Foundation and admission is free. Among the four works presented in 2019, Zon Pilone’s Sadao seems the most fascinating. An intentionally enigmatic piece delving into cinema history, art, and sound in an abstract manner that will not fall into simple categorization.

©”Jeux de plage” Film Partners

The Competition Section features an entry from Japan (rather a co-production between Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, and Korea): Jeux de plage. Once crowdfunded under the title “All Tomorrow’s Parties” and billed as a “girls destruction movie”, the Wa Entertainment (Hospitality, Chigasaki Story, Snow Woman) produced feature deals with the deep emotions running beneath the outward layers of young women through the story of their complicated ties to one another and others they meet. Director Natsuto Aimi, who has acted in Chigasaki Story and both acted and served as script supervisor on Snow Woman, makes her feature-length directorial debut.

The Closing Film is Daddy Issues, a Vietnamese movie helmed by Japanese director Ochiai Ken. After gaining attention on the world stage with Uzumasu Limelight, Ochiai followed up with the Vietnam movie Saigon Bodyguards which was a smash hit locally. Daddy Issues is an adaptation of Igarashi Takahisa’s novel ‘Papa to Musume’, which was adapted to film in Korea as Daddy You, Daddy Me. It tells the story of a father and daughter, diametrically opposites, who find they have switched bodies with one another.

Sadly, due to personal commitments I will not be able to attend the Osaka Asian Film Festival this year. However, I do hope to gain the cooperation of their press relations manager so that I may be granted permission to view online screeners and report my impressions of the Indie Forum lineup as I have done for the past two years. Please check the Indievisual Facebook or this blog for updates.