The Colorado Anime Film Festival, a new collaboration between the Alamo Drafthouse and the Colorado Anime Fest, will run September 9 through September 11 at the Alamo. The first festival of its kind in Colorado will kick off with a to-be-determined big title; ten more films, special guests and a series of panel discussions will fill out the three-day fest.
“We show new anime fairly regularly,” says Alamo Drafthouse Cinema creative manager Steve Bessette. “But we started talking with the great Colorado Anime Fest and thought it might be exciting to jam-pack an entire weekend of anime classics and favorites.”
The first wave of announced titles are a collection of older, "classic" films that illustrate the history and evolution of anime. Animation from Japan differs from American animation in many ways — including the fact that its most ardent audiences are not children, but adults who see in the art form a sky’s-the-limit ability to tell stories.
“We're huge fans of the Alamo Drafthouse, so we're thrilled to partner with them and give these classic anime titles the big-screen treatment they deserve,” says Corey Wood, convention chair for Colorado Anime Fest, which will return next March. “Working with the local community to showcase Japanese culture is our highest priority, and we're excited for this opportunity.”
The first five announced titles are as follows:
Directed by Satoshi Kon
Saturday, September 10, at 4:30 p.m.
10th anniversary, presented on 35mm film
Prepare to enter the realm of fantasy and imagination, where reality and dreams collide in a kaleidoscopic mindscape of sheer visual genius. This gripping anime thriller from acclaimed director Satoshi Kon centers on a revolutionary machine that allows scientists to enter and record a subject's dream. After it's stolen, a fearless detective and brilliant therapist join forces to recover the device before it falls into the hands of a "dream terrorist."
Grave of the Fireflies
Directed by Isao Takahata
Saturday, September 10, at 7 p.m.
Hayao Miyazaki protegee Isao Takahata has given us Grave of the Fireflies, a heart-wrenching tale of two siblings keeping each other alive during World War II. One of Studio Ghibli's finest masterpieces.
Belladonna Of Sadness
Directed by Eiichi Yamamoto
Saturday, September 10, at 9:30 p.m.
As the story was told at the 2015 Fantastic Fest in Austin, a few years ago the brains behind Cinelicious, a film-production house that restores classic films, asked the brains behind L.A.’s famed Cinefamily Theater what movie in the history of movies most deserved a restoration and re-release. The answer, somewhat jokingly, was Eiichi Yamamoto’s 1973 Belladonna of Sadness, a gorgeous watercolor tale of a woman whose life is torn apart when she’s raped at the hands of a king and his court and given back, shamed and broken, to her husband — who cuts her loose and sends her right into the hands of the devil, who promises great power and revenge for the small sum of her soul. This animated film with a very mature subject shocked and enticed audiences — but it was soon lost, only talked about in a small circle of cinephiles. Forty-three years later, Cinelicious took the Cinefamily suggestion to heart, and the result is a brand-new digital restoration of the animated classic, ready to come back to the big screen...where it belongs.
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Sunday, September 11, at 4 p.m.
Directed by Mamoru Hosada
In the award-winning Japanese animated feature Summer Wars, Kenji is a teenage math prodigy recruited by his secret crush, Natsuki, for the ultimate summer job — passing himself off as Natsuki’s boyfriend for four days during her grandmother’s ninetieth-birthday celebration. But when Kenji solves a 2,056-digit math riddle sent to his cell phone, he unwittingly breaches the security barricade protecting Oz, a globe-spanning virtual world where millions of people and governments interact through their avatars, handling everything from online shopping and traffic control to national defense and nuclear launch codes. Now a malicious AI program called the Love Machine is hijacking Oz accounts, growing exponentially more powerful and sowing chaos and destruction in its wake. This intriguingly intelligent cyberpunk/sci-fi story is a visual tour de force, with the amazing world of Oz as the highlight. Like the Internet as conceived by pop artist Haruki Murakami, Oz is a hallucinatory pixel parade of cool avatar designs, kung-fu jackrabbits, toothy bears and a bursting rainbow of colors. Directed by Mamoru Hosoda (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time).
Redline - Closing Night Film
Sunday, September 11, at 7 p.m.
Directed by Takeshi Koike
Redline is the biggest and most deadly racing tournament in the universe, held only once every five years. Many drivers want to stake their claim to fame — including JP, a reckless daredevil oblivious to speed limits with his ultra-customized car — while organized crime and militaristic governments want to leverage the race to their own ends. Among the other elite rival drivers in the tournament, JP falls for the alluring Sonoshee. Will she prove to be his undoing, or can a high-speed romance survive a mass-destruction race?
The first annual Colorado Anime Film Festival takes place September 9 through September 11 at the Alamo Drafthouse, 7301 South Santa Fe Drive in Littleton. Tickets for the first announced films are $7 and are now available at drafthouse.com. For more information on the March 2017 Colorado Anime Fest, go to coanimefest.com.