The sixth annual Mesa Community College International Film Festival will start Tuesday, March 3 and run through Saturday, March 7, with a different movie shown at 7p.m. at the Harkins Arizona Mills 24 Theaters, located in the Arizona Mills Mall.This years festival is retrospective of Japanese writer/director Hirokasu Kore-eda.
Kore-eda’s films have won awards from film festivals around the world. Though Kore-eda may not be a household name in the United States, he is famous in Japan and well-known throughout the film industry.
Bringing Kore-eda to the festival was no small feat for MCC professor, Dr.Don Castro, founder and festival director, who has worked hard to bring the director to Arizona.
The last time Kore-eda accepted a retrospective invitation at an American institution was in 2005, at Harvard University.
Not only will film-goers have the opportunity to experience Kore-eda’s films on the big screen, but this festival comes with two features.
First, Kore-eda will be holding a question and answer session after each night’s showing.
Second, on the last night of the festival, the audience will have the privileged opportunity to experience a “sneak preview” of Kore-eda’s new film, “Still Walking,” a month before it’s official premiere at the New York Tribeca Film Festival.
Unlike most film festivals, the MCC International Film Festival is free to the public.
The festival began six years ago when Castro invited a group of female directors from Iran to participate.
“I wanted to give people in the community an opportunity to see films that they wouldn’t ordinarily be able to see, as well as meet and talk with the directors,” he said.
Since then, the festival has attracted over 6,500 film goers, screened 27 films, and hosted 10 international directors, representing Poland, India, the USA, Mexico, Sweden and Iran.
The assortment of films in this year’s festival present a range of emotions, from funny to heart wrenching.
Film critic Roger Ebert said of Kore-eda’s work, “His films embrace the mystery of life, and encourage us to think about why we are here and what makes us truly happy.”
Film reviewer Cleo Cacoulidis described his films as, “Visually intense, compassionate, and displaying an unblinking attention to detail – no matter how ordinary – the films of director Hirokasu Kore-eda are more aptly described as cine-poems.”
The festival will include the films “Maborosi,” “After Life,” “Nobody Knows,” “Hana” and “StillWalking.”
The film” After Life” poses the question, “If you could choose to take only one memory with you to the afterlife, what would it be?”
“Nobody Knows”, based on a true story, won best film at the Canes film festival.