LA Eiga Fest 2012
Photo Album of LA Eigafest 2012.
Report on LA Eiga Fest 2012
LA EigaFest 2012
Over the weekend, I attended LA EigaFest 2012, a film festival hosted by the Los Angeles based Japan film society. This was the second time that the Japanese Film Society hosted this event, which showed off the latest in Japanese films. The film lineup this time would include a live action movie based on the Rurouni Kenshin manga and anime series. Already playing in theaters in Japan, the movie has been an enormous box office success and plans were already in the works to release the movie in multiple locations across the globe.
Arriving during the late afternoon on Friday, I immediately headed to collect my ticket before joining with the waiting audience. Engaging in small conversation with the people there, we all commented about the weather and the previous LA EigaFest. Amongst the audience were people that I had worked with before at related events such as Anime Expo.
Shortly after 6:00pm, the festivities kicked off with the Red Carpet. While there I mainly took pictures of the guests as they arrived, switching back and forth between locations to gain a better view. During the red carpet, it began to rain, which sent some of us inside the theater lobby. While waiting for the movie to start, I talked a bit more with some of my old colleagues before settling in my seat near the front as the opening ceremonies commenced.
The two lead hosts of the evening lead us off followed by opening statements by consulate general of Japan in Los Angeles as well as the head of the American Cinemathique and the president of the Japan film society. Next, they introduced the guests with special focus on the two guests who worked on the live action Rurouni Kenshin movie, director Keishi Otomo and Munetaka Aoki who was the actor that played Sanouske. Furthermore, they had a special guest in the form of Star Trek’s George Takei who told of his own experiences in entertainment along with the history with the Egyptian theater from a more personal perspective.
As the minutes ticked down to the start of the show, the theater filled up to ¾ of all the seats as people continued to file inside. After Otomo said a few words about his being at the festival as well as his previous visit to Hollywood back in 1997, the night truly got underway with the premiere of the live action Rurouni Kenshin movie.
From the comparisons to the movie to what I remember about Rurouni Kenshin as a whole, they got the personalities of the characters from the show and manga mostly right on the mark. It is noticeable particularly in the comedic scenes as well as some of the more intense fight scenes. The movie managed to squeeze a good amount of the series backstory in the movie (particularly for those that have seen Rurouni Kenshin in the other mediums). In terms of acting, the most noticeable performances were Teruyuki Kagawa (Kanryu Takeda), Yosuki Eguchi (Saito Hajime) and Munetaka Aoki with Teruyki Kagawa being very over the top while Yosuki Eguchi and Munetaka Aoko turn in performances for their characters that matched very closely to that of the main series. Commendable mention should go to Takeru Sato who plays as Himura Kenshin as the actor has to do amongst other things performing seemingly impossible feats with the sword. As for the fights, although they were impressive, the final fight, particularly in its early stages went on for a while and invited comparison to the light-saber battles in the Star Wars prequels.
Afterwards I headed out of the theater to stretch my legs where I caught up with George Takei and talked with him a bit. It was mainly about what he said earlier and eventually it turned to discussing a bit about his early dubbing work on the Godzilla series, mainly Rodan. Then I headed back into the theater to listen in on the Q and A with Director Otomo and Munetaka Aoki. It mainly focused on the long training the actors endured in order to use their weapons correctly as well as the dedication the cast and crew brought in to this movie. Most notable was Sato as Otomo recalled the actor stating that if this movie turned out to be a disaster, he would retire instantly from acting. Other matters the Q and A discussed the possibility of a sequel and the pressure the production crew felt in making a movie based on an exceptionally popular Japanese anime and manga. To that question, the director stated that he hoped that they at least they achieved their first goal which was to make an entertaining movie that was respectful of the series. Based on the cheering in the crowd while the movie played and during the Q and A along with the box office success in Japan, it seemed that in the eyes of the present audience, they succeeded in their task.
After the Q and A concluded, it was time for the after party to which LA EigaFest held in the Egyptian theater’s lobby and at its entrance where everyone engaged in small conversations with each other or were attempting to have pictures and autographs with the guests. The main entertainment for the dinner was Japanese taiko drums inside the theater as well as music from a DJ at its entrance. A Japanese restaurant by the name of Tsujita LA helped with the food, which included a mix of different soups as well as a mix of seafood and rice to which many people eagerly took a liking to. Of course, there was Japanese beer and sake to which I sampled a few small sips of before driving home after a long and very interesting night.
The next day, I headed back up to LA to attend a film panel that the society was hosting at the Loews Hollywood Hotel, which was right next door to Grumman’s Chinese theater. Although I only caught the last leg of the panel, it along with the Q and A proved illuminating as the four panelists along with the president of the Japanese Film Society discussed the issues that surrounded bringing Japanese intellectual property to the United States as well as the opportunities arising mainly as a result of new technology and finally their own experiences on the matter. The summary of the matter is the different work cultures as well as national cultures clashing as both sides attempt to reach deals to allow media franchises from Japan to have a chance to be released in the United States. The negotiations also have to deal with changing economic and technological conditions such as the Internet and the sometimes drastic changes in exchange rates. Even the films of Miyazaki had to undergo the process. Afterwards, I talked with them a bit (most notably Roy Lee who had been involved in the production of the upcoming Godzilla reboot from Legendary Pictures during its early stages) along with others in the audience before I ended my time at LA EigaFest 2012 due to having another appointment later in the day.
Live Action Ruroni Kenshin movie trailer
Trailer for LA Eigafest 2012.
Links for LA Eiga Fest 2012
- Egyptian Theater
The home of LA Eigafest 2012 and it seems to be for future LA Eigafest.
12月26日ブルーレイ＆DVDリリース！ The official website for the Ruroni-Kenshin live action movie that played at the opening ceremonies for LA Eiga Fest 2012.
- Japan Film Society - Official Website
The Japan Film Society is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded to promote Japanese film and culture in the United States.
- LA EigaFest 2012
More by this Author
A small naval summary of Russo-Japanese War Introduction: One of the first large-scale wars of the 20th century, the Russo-Japanese war provided a taste of things to come for warfare. It signaled the rise of...
In 2011, Bandai brought the Godzilla series to their Tamashii Nations line with the release of exceptionally poseable figures.
In the last stages of the Vietnam War, the United States military demonstrated what it could still do as the North Vietnamese Army launched a conventional assault against South Vietnam.
No comments yet.