New York, Seattle And Los Angeles Set To Run Visually Inventive Comedy From Director Katsuhito Ishii
San Francisco, CA, February 13, 2008 – VIZ Pictures, an affiliate of VIZ Media, LLC that focuses on Japanese live-action film distribution, has announced a trio of theatrical screenings in New York, Seattle and Los Angeles for its newest film, FUNKY FOREST: The First Contact, throughout March and April. With special press screenings to take place in New York and in Los Angeles.
FUNKY FOREST is a visually inventive masterpiece from director Katsuhito Ishii (THE TASTE OF TEA, available on DVD from VIZ Pictures and distributed by VIZ Media, and SHARK SKIN MAN & PEACH HIP GIRL) and will screen March 7-13 in New York City, NY at the Imaginasian Theater. The film moves on to Seattle, WA, March 21-27, at the Grand Illusion Cinema, and finally April 18-24 in Los Angeles, CA at the Imaginasian Center. Theater information follows at the end of this release.
Cult-favorite director Katsuhito Ishii, who also notably directed the animated portion of Kill Bill Vol. 1, teams up with the talented directors Shunichiro Miki and ANIKI (aka Hajime Ishimine) to create a visually imaginative masterpiece with some hilariously odd characters. FUNKY FOREST: The First Contact was a hit at numerous international film festivals and was an official selection at the 2006 Montreal Fantasia Film Festival, the 2006 San Francisco Independent Film Festival and the 2007 New York Asian Film Festival.
FUNKY FOREST features 21 free-associative episodes ranging from a nonsense “sci-fi” comedy to a dance-battle daydream. Akin to a feature length sketch routine in the tradition of Monty Python, it opens with the Mole Brothers, a traditional but hyperactive Japanese stand-up duo that return periodically throughout the film.
FUNKY FOREST then shifts to a science fiction daydream featuring actress Maya Banno of THE TASTE OF TEA who plays a distracted student who dreams of wild adventures in the cosmos when she should be finishing her homework. In another segment, three unpopular brothers, Katsuichi, Masaru and Masao, are comically featured as they struggle to be popular among the girls. Luckily enough, they finally get a chance to have a co-ed picnic with some pretty young ladies! Audiences will delight in the Babbling Hot Spring Vixens, a trio of professional women on a hot spring vacation telling each other increasingly pointless stories as they get progressively drunker. In one of the film’s most memorable comedic vignettes, Neon Genesis Evangelion director Hideaki Anno is cast as an animator complaining about the lack of artistry in the youth of today while drawing sequences for a project directed literally, by a dog.
“We are excited to announce this special series of screenings of FUNKY FOREST: The First Contact,” says Manami IIboshi, Director, Marketing, VIZ Pictures “Director Katsuhito Ishii endeared audiences to his offbeat style of filmmaking with THE TASTE OF TEA, and he offers a daring, quirky and funny experience with FUNKY FOREST. For anime fans, the appearance of famed Evangelion director Hideaki Anno is also a treat. We look forward to cinema aficionados of all types seizing this rare opportunity to catch this unique film theatrically.”
Press Screening: February 22, 10:30AM
Theatrical Screening: March 7-13
239 East 59th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Ave.)
New York 10022
GRAND ILLUSION CINEMA
1403 NE 50th St.
Seattle, WA 98105
Press Screening: April 3, 2PM
Theatrical Screening: APRIL 18-24
251 South Main Street,
Los Angeles, CA 90012
About VIZ Pictures, Inc.
Based in San Francisco, CA, VIZ Pictures, Inc. distributes Japanese live-action films and DVDs, with particular focus on Japanese “kawaii (cute) and cool” pop culture. VIZ Pictures approaches each release from a J-pop fan’s point of view to serve manga and anime generation in North America. VIZ Pictures titles include TRAIN MAN: DENSHA OTOKO, LINDA LINDA LINDA, THE TASTE OF TEA, and PING PONG. The company will continue to offer the hottest visual entertainment straight from the “Kingdom of Pop” for audiences of all ages in North America. VIZ Pictures, Inc. is an affiliate of VIZ Media, LLC, the San Francisco-based leading U.S. publisher of Japanese manga (comics) and merchandise licensor of Japanese animation such as the popular “NARUTO” animated TV series. © 2006 VIZ Pictures, Inc
About VIZ Media, LLC
Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), is one of the most comprehensive and innovative companies in the field of manga publishing, animation and entertainment licensing of Japanese content. Owned by three of Japan’s largest creators and licensors of manga and animation, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan Production Co., Ltd. (ShoPro Japan), VIZ Media is a leader in the publishing and distribution of Japanese manga for English speaking audiences in North America and a global licensor of Japanese manga and animation. The company offers an integrated product line including, magazines such as SHONEN JUMP and SHOJO BEAT, graphic novels, videos, DVDs, audio soundtracks and develops and markets animated entertainment from initial production, television placement and distribution, to merchandise licensing and promotions for audiences and consumers of all ages. Contact VIZ Media at 295 Bay Street, San Francisco, CA 94133; Phone (415) 546-7073; Fax (415) 546-7086; and web site at www.VIZ.com.