Viz Cinema & New People Announce Artist Film Festival this Weekend 3/6-3/9


Bay Area Art And Pop Culture Fans Invited To Screen New Films That Profile Artists Such As Hisashi Tenmyouya, Makoto Aida, Katsura Funakoshi And Yayoi Kusama

San Francisco, CA, March 2, 2010 – VIZ Cinema, the nation's only movie theatre dedicated to Japanese film, will present the NEW PEOPLE Artist Series Festival, a special collection of six insightful documentaries each profiling a unique Japanese contemporary artist.

The 4-day festival runs March 6th – 9th and will feature the U.S. theatrical premieres of Hisashi Tenmyouya: Samurai Nouveau, Makoto Aida: Cynic in the Playground, and Katsura Funakoshi: Whispering Gaze, as well as encore runs of Traveling with Yoshitomo Nara, Yayoi Kusama: I Love ME and Daido Moriyama: Stray Dog of Tokyo. Special festival passes are available for $30.00 offering access to ANY screening at ANY time during the festival! General admission tickets for individual films are available for $10.00 each. Seniors (+62) and Children (under 12) are $8.00. More details and trailers for each film are available at

Hisashi Tenmyouya: Samurai Nouveau; 3/6 Sat., 1:00pm & 3/7 Sun., 3:00pm
A graphic designer turned contemporary artist, Hisashi Tenmyouya brings his own style of Neo-Traditional Japanese painting to the art world. Born in Tokyo in 1966, Hisashi Tenmyouya is the one of the hottest Japanese painters. He has mastered the traditional techniques while also incorporating motifs taken tattoo, graffiti, and street gang culture to create his own 'Neo-Japanese Painting' style. In 2008, his rending of Gundam sold for $650,000 at the Christie's auction in Hong Kong. Tenmyouya reveals his soul through melding of modern urban subjects with traditional methods of painting. DVD will be available on March 9th from VIZ Pictures in the NEW PEOPLE retail store.

Makoto Aida: Cynic in the Playground; 3/6 Sat., 3:00pm & 3/7 Sun., 5:00pm
Known for his diverse and controversial works, Makoto Aida shares his art and private life as he creates his "Human Project" and "Shinjuku Castle." Working in mediums of paint, video installation, and Japanese manga comics, Aida's work exhibits dark cynicism and lowbrow humor as he tackles controversial subjects such as terrorism, pedophilia, and societal misogyny, but through his creative process, Aida's unique character surfaces. Born in 1965 in Niigata, Japan, Makoto Aida now lives and works in the city of Chiba. He is represented by Mizuma Art Gallery in Tokyo and has had solo shows at London's IBID Projects and at LiSA Dent Gallery in San Francisco. His group shows include The American Effect: Global Perspectives on the United States, 1990-2003 at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the XXV Biennale de São Paulo. His work is also featured in the permanent collections of the Tokyo Museum of Art and the Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art.

Katsura Funakoshi: Whispering Gaze; 3/6 Sat., 5:00pm & 3/8 Mon., 7:00pm
Witness the visionary sculptor Katsura Funakoshi as he quietly breathes life into camphor wood. Audiences will follow the artist as he works in his atelier, preps for exhibitions, and speaks at lectures. The simple, warm and gentle figures carved by Funakoshi can be attributed to the juxtapositions of precise calculations and accidental occurrences. His human-like sculptures are said to draw in viewers with their distant marble gaze as if pondering philosophical thoughts and projecting subtle yet bold emotions.

Daido Moriyama: Stray Dog of Tokyo; 3/6 Sat., 7:00pm & 3/8 Mon., 5:00pm
Daido Moriyama has been a major force in the world of artistic photography since the late 60's, but his true persona has been hidden behind a veil of mystery since he has refused any major media appearances - until now. This new documentary follows the charismatic Moriyama as he takes his first digital photos and displays his trademark photographic technique of taking quick snapshots without looking in the viewfinder. Often shot in black and white, out of focus and dramatically cropped or tilted, the themes of Moriyama's images have been said to convey a sense of the disordered human condition and the conflicting realities of modern urban life. DVD is available from VIZ Pictures in the NEW PEOPLE retail store.

Yayoi Kusama: I Love ME; 3/7 Sun., 1:00pm & 3/9 Tue., 7:00pm
Artist Yayoi Kusama is an avant-garde sculptor, painter, and novelist and her visual style is often characterized by a liberal use of polka dots and nets to achieve a so-called “infinity effect.” This film documents Kusama's creative process over the course of a year-and-a-half as she completes a series of 50 large monochrome drawings. As her work comes to life, one witnesses the essence of her artistic voice as it builds on themes about the conflicts between life, death, and love – sometimes quietly and sometimes not. Her self-confidence and dignified spirit is evident throughout the insightful film. Yayoi Kusama has been widely acclaimed by the international art world for more than 50 years. In 2006, she received the Japanese National Lifetime Achievement Award, one of Japan's most prestigious prizes for internationally recognized artists. Her work has been exhibited with the likes of Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns and also shown at preeminent venues like the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. DVD is available from VIZ Pictures in the NEW PEOPLE retail store.

Traveling with Yoshitomo Nara: 3/7 Sun., 7:00pm & 3/9 Tue., 5:00pm
Traveling with Yoshitomo Nara was directed by Koji Sakabe and captures the journey that the artist, Yoshitomo Nara, took during the creation of his exhibit, AtoZ, in his hometown of Hirosaki, Japan. The film is notably narrated by Aoi Miyazaki, an up-and-coming Japanese actress who appeared in the acclaimed manga-inspired film NANA (VIZ Pictures). Yoshitomo Nara's work has captured the attention of the international art world and his cartoon-like girl images with characteristic big heads, chubby-faces and slanted eyes have become icons of the artist's style. His paintings and sculptures have been auctioned at Sotheby's and his sculpture, Light My Fire (2001), sold for over $1.1 million. DVD is available from VIZ Pictures in the NEW PEOPLE retail store.

VIZ Cinema is the nation's only movie theatre devoted exclusively to Japanese film and anime. The 143-seat subterranean theatre is located in the basement of the NEW PEOPLE building and features plush seating, digital as well as 35mm projection, and a THX®-certified sound system.

NEW PEOPLE offers the latest films, art, fashion and retail brands from Japan and is the creative vision of the J-Pop Center Project and VIZ Pictures, a distributor and producer of Japanese live action film. Located in San Francisco at 1746 Post Street, the 20,000 square foot structure features a striking 3-floor transparent glass façade that frames a fun and exotic new environment to engage the imagination into the 21st Century. A dedicated web site is also now available at:

RX-78-2 Kabuki-mono 2005 Version by Hisashi Tenmyouya
© 2006 B.B.B. inc. © SOTSU, SUNRISE

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