Anime Masterpieces Screening Series Premieres with “Grave Of The Fireflies” at UC Berkeley's Pacific Film Archive (Updated)

Update: Spelling for Frederik L. Schodt's name corrected.


BERKELEY, Calif. – September 10 – Anime Masterpieces, a new screening series highlighting the best in Japanese animated feature films, premieres on Saturday, September 27th at 2 p.m. at UC Berkeley's Pacific Film Archive with “Grave of the Fireflies.” The film, which critic Roger Ebert calls “an emotional experience so powerful it forces a re-thinking of animation,” will be followed by a panel discussion with leading scholars and authors on the subject of Japanese animation, or “anime.”

The winner of several international film awards, “Grave of the Fireflies,” written and directed by Isao Takahata, chronicles the experiences of two children as they valiantly struggle to survive amidst the ravaged landscape of Japan during World War II. It is considered by many critics as one of the most moving anti-war films ever made.
The panel after the screening will feature Roland Kelts (author of JapanAmerica), Susan J. Napier (Anime from Akira to Howl's Moving Castle), Frederik L. Schodt (Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics) and Ian Condry (Hip-Hop Japan: Rap and the Paths of Cultural Globalization). Dan O'Neill of UC Berkeley will moderate.

The event, which is free and open to the public, is co-sponsored by The Center for Japanese Studies and JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization), and is made possible by arrangement with Central Park Media, the American distributor of the film. The free tickets will be distributed the day of the screening on a first come, first serve basis beginning at 1 p.m. at the box office of the Pacific Film Archive, 2575 Bancroft Way, located between College and Telegraph in Berkeley.

The Anime Masterpieces screening series was developed by Gorgeous Entertainment, a New York-based company, with the aim of enhancing American understanding and appreciation of the art of anime. Each critically acclaimed film in the Anime Masterpieces series is accompanied by Study Guides for all audience members; the Study Guides contain essays by eminent scholars of Japanese pop culture and animation along with a wealth of imagery from the film. Upcoming Anime Masterpieces events include “Grave of the Fireflies” screenings at the Smithsonian Institution on December 6th, and at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston on February 11th, 2009. The next film in the Anime Masterpieces series, “Tekkonkinkreet,” will be available for screenings in January, 2009, courtesy of Sony Home Entertainment.

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