The streets of Fukuoka come alive every autumn with a dazzling array of events for Asia Month. One of those events is the Focus on Asia Fukuoka International Film Festival. The festival is marking its 21st anniversary this year, and as its name indicates, focuses on Asian films.
The popularity of Korean films in Japan demonstrates that Asian films are now receiving international accolades. When Focus on Asia began in 1991, however, few Asian movies were screened in Japan. The film festival staff actually traveled throughout Asia to conduct surveys to discover exceptional films of interest to premiere in Japan. Most of the films screened are making their Japanese debut. Many works and directors have gone on to worldwide screenings and acclaim after being shown at this festival.
Focus on Asia has been held at Tenjin theaters in the past, but this year it will move to the T-Joy Theater in the new Hakata Station building. The festival will present a diverse playbill of 32 works from 13 Asian countries and territories, including comedies, action flicks, and social dramas. The Iranian drama “Nader and Simin, A Separation”, which won the Golden Bear for Best Film at the 2011 Berlin International Film Festival, will also be shown.
Originally published online for Fukuoka Now magazine (Sep. 2011)