Monday, July 09, 2007

NYAFF Audience Award and Final Comments


Thanks so much to everyone that came out to support Asian films this year! It was our best year ever in terms of audience numbers and certainly inspires us to continue. In some ways I admit to being a bit surprised as I can now confess that I thought our line-up was weaker than in the last few years. Not because of our choices so much but simply because it wasn't a great year in Asian film. Still, I sense that people just appreciate the effort to bring what we can because they will never get another chance to see most of these on the big screen and with an audience. Seeing a film with an audience is still the way to see a movie - it should be a communal experience and honestly some of our films got an "eh" reaction from me watching them on my TV screen by myself in the wee small hours - but with an audience they took on another life.


The final weekend at Japan Society was a blast and I thank them very much for putting up with us - the Death Notes and Memories of Matsuko had lines curled down the street. We had a party on Friday night with directors Sono and Kaneko present and then took them for a Turkish meal on Saturday evening. I gave Sono the t-shirt he liked so much and advised him not to wear it to the airport. So now we can truthfully say that Subway Cinema will give guests the shirts off our backs! Kaneko struck me as such a gentleman - reserved but very nice and interested in everything. I mentioned that I had lived in Turkey and he peppered me with questions about it. We also talked politics and he didn't have anything nice to say about the present administration. I really like his films that I have seen - a very commercial director certainly with the Death Notes, the Gamera films and Azumi 2 but very entertaining as well.


The final weekend also gave us the Audience favorite as it literally zoomed at light speed past the competition. Memories of Matsuko in a landslide. It received a rating of 9.2 with over 50% of the audience rating it a 10. What an astonishing movie and one that really has to be seen in a theater to appreciate the sound, visuals and constantly changing style. We have never had a film do this well before. It is especially surprising in that all of our previous winners were basically feel good films, but Matsuko is a candy colored descent into Hell that at times feels like a punch to the gut.


So it's over and I go back to . . . well not much really. I am considering traveling again but not right way. It will be odd waking up tomorrow with no festival to worry about. A relief and yet very much missed.

9 comments:

eliza bennet said...

Very very happy to hear that the festival was a success :)

If Kaneko san wants to visit Turkey sometime, I'll be more than happy to take him out - he heeee


And that t-shirt is a blast!

GoldenRockProductions said...

Congratulations on your success, and good for Memories of Matsuko! It was an amazing film that deserves all of its success.

Peter said...

Man, I hate that eight years of Subway events have passed and I have yet to see one in person. On the plus side, I'm tickled pink that you've persevered this long and are now reaping a bit of success. You have no idea how much you've inspired others.

Brian said...

Thanks everyone for the kind words.

Eliza - they all loved the Turkish food but as far as I know aren't planning on going anytime soon. Sorry! No touring with Kaneko-san for you!

Well much to my shame I hadn't seen any of our Sunday films till I sat in on Sunday and watched Gamera The Brave, the Death Notes and Matsuko all in a row. Co-incidentlly they were all the films agreed on early by the group to go after while I was still pitter-pattering around Asia and I figured I might as well wait to see them on the big screen. Gamera was so much fun with a bunch of kids in the audience - a free screening - the Death Notes good fun as well if a bit long - but Matsuko was an experience. Had heard wildly divergent opinions on this one so wasn't sure how I would react but it is a killer - both extremely sad on one level and uplifting on another and she is great - what else has she been in?

Peter - thanks - if we have inspired anyone it is sort of like the plain guy with the beautiful girlfriend - you figure if he can do it, so can you. If we could do this anyone can - you just have to be willing to work hard at it and have faith that someone out there cares.

sbk said...

Brian,

I'm so happy the festival was a success and ended on such an upbeat note.

I thoroughly enjoyed the movies I saw and though this year's selection was very solid. 'Cruel winter Blues', 'The Show Must Go On', 'Zebraman', & 'I'm a Cyborg, but That's OK' were very enjoyable and the kind of movies I'll think about for awhile.

Can't wait for next year!

Thanks for sharing the July 4th photos and writing about the directors that came, etc.

Thanks for the Festival!!

Brian said...

Hi Sarah,

Wasn't Zebraman great! It wasn't that well attended but nearly everyone gave it very high ratings. Are you back this weekend? If so, maybe we could do lunch or dinner as I am now officially a free man!

Buma said...

damn it, 2 years in a row where i attended over half a dozen movies but miss the audience award flick due to circumstances beyond my control...

well, maybe next year...

congrats on a job well-done and keep on blogging and let us know what you are up to...

maritess said...

Cheers! I've been following your blog on Asian films and your work on NYAFF for this year. I'm happy that all your hard work paid off. I'll strive hard to be able to visit New York soon, and be part of future NYAFF.

Brian said...

Buma - next year you will just have to see everything to be sure!

Maritess - thanks - be sure to plan your trip to NYC around our festival and then buy lots of tickets! Statue of Liberty? Forget it. Watch a movie instead. Empire State Builing? It's just another tall building and you can see it in Sleepless in Seattle. Watch an Asian film instead!