ACA Cinema Project presents Emerging Japanese Films

Marlene Sharp
6 min readAug 27
Three theatrical features— all with fierce female leads — topline 2023 ACA Cinema Project: Emerging Japanese Films 2023 in Hollywood

The Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan (ACA) is sponsoring the seventh ACA Cinema Project — Emerging Japanese Films — as the cornerstone of its Japan Overseas Expansion Enhancement Project. Visual Industry Promotion Organization (VIPO) serves as the steward for the encore of this distinguished screening series. Three recently released, prestigious theatrical titles headline the event, which runs from Tuesday, September 26, through Thursday, September 28, at the Linwood Dunn Theater, Hollywood. Festivities are free of charge for accredited entertainment industry professionals.

Launching the ACA Cinema Project on September 26 at 7:00 p.m. is the stateside debut of Kazuyoshi Kumakiri’s quirky, character-driven, road trip drama Yoko (2022; TRT: 113 minutes). Yoko represents the longtime professional reunion of director Kumakiri and Oscar®-nominated actress Rinko Kikuchi (Tokyo Vice, Babel). Yoko marks the 20-year follow-up to their initial collaboration, 2001 Rotterdam International Film Festival FIPRESCI Prize winner Hole in the Sky.

ACA Cinema Project offers two additional new films for Los Angeles cinephiles. Set for September 27 is Ripples (2023; TRT: 120 minutes), a dark comedy from director Naoko Ogigami, a USC film school graduate, 2007 Sundance Film Fest nominee (Gasses, Megane), and director of the quietly intense critical favorite Riverside Mukolitta (2022). In Ripples, Ogigami spins a yarn about a repressed matriarch and unfortunately over-the-top circumstances ― a disquieting earthquake, crushing debt, a dying ex-husband, a raging co-worker, and her son’s girlfriend ― that take her to the brink.

Wrapping ACA Cinema Project on September 28 is Tea Friends (2023; TRT: 135 minutes) from director Bunji Sotoyama. An original story inspired by true events, Tea Friends, in famous Sotoyama fashion, offers a somewhat out-of-the-box take on intimate entanglements of the elderly. The latest title from ENBU Seminar, producers of the surprise smash hit zombie comedy One Cut of the Dead (2017), Tea Friends revolves around the youthful staff of a call girl club that caters to the elderly, said club’s mature female escorts, and the ladies’ lonely male retiree clients.

Each day’s film starts at 7:00 p.m. The schedule for in-person and virtual filmmaker…

Marlene Sharp

Marlene Sharp is a creative and business-savvy entertainment multi-hyphenate who originally hails from New Orleans but is now a (San Fernando) Valley girl.