As well as hosting everybody’s favourite review site, Blueprint: Group works in a variety of mediums, producing films, designing websites, developing apps and a host of other services. Our big project this month though is organising the Lincoln Festival of Japanese Culture.

The Lincoln Festival of Japanese Culture is a celebration showcasing Japanese film, music, art, food and much more. Lincoln based Blueprint: Film Foundation are putting on the event with additional funding from the Japan Society and Lincoln BIG to celebrate Japanese culture and share it with the Lincolnshire community.

The main event is being held on the 27th January at ‘The Venue’ in Bishop Grosseteste University College and will centre around the screening of 2 films, anime classic Akira and Shōhei Imamura’s groundbreaking crime-comedy-drama Pigs and Battleships (tickets now available) alongside traditional Japanese live music, martial arts demonstrations, art, food and drink. The screening of Pigs and Battleships, which will be closing the event, will also be accompanied by a talk from acclaimed Japanese cinema expert, Jasper Sharp.

Akira, the mind-blowing animated sci-fi masterpiece which brought anime to the west back in 1988, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year and will be re-released in UK cinemas this summer. Manga, who distribute the film, were kind enough to let us screen it several months early though, so fans of Akira should grab their tickets now to get an early fix.

Pigs and Battleships is, in the words of our very own Andrew Skeates, “entertaining, emotionally stirring and a damn fine slice of Japanese New Wave cinema”. It was Shōhei Imamura’s first big critical success, leading him on to further groundbreaking and award-winning work such as Insect Woman, Profound Desire of the Gods and Vengeance is Mine. He is also one of the very few directors to have twice won the prestigious Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival with The Ballad of Narayama in 1983 and The Eel in 1997.

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Jasper Sharp will be discussing the work of Imamura and the Japanese New Wave movement, of which the director played a pivotal part, before the screening of Pigs and Battleships. Jasper is a writer and film curator based in the UK and co-editor of the website Midnight Eye, the premier resource on Japanese cinema in the English language. He has written several books on the subject of Japanese cinema and features on numerous DVD commentaries due to his vast knowledge of the subject. Lovers of films from the country should make sure they have a ticket to Pigs and Battleships to hear what he has to say.

In between both films will be live music from enka and minyo singer Akari Mochizuki, percussionist Yoshinori Hayashi and Hibiki Ichikawa, the only professional player of the tsugaru shamisen instrument in the U.K. A ticket to either film will gain you entry to this performance which begins at 5pm.

Before each film there will will also be a demonstration of Bujinkan martial arts by Bujinkan Lincoln Hanako Dojo. This will feature the use of various weapons including swords, staffs and shuriken (throwing blades).

In the week leading up to the Festival (from 21-26th January) there will also be an exhibition of art from local Japanese artist Kaoru Shimada. The exhibition will be held at Cafe Portico, on the ground floor of The Terrace, Lincoln. The art work will also be presented at ‘The Venue’ during the film screenings on the 27th.

Akira is screening at 3pm (with a martial arts demonstration taking place at 2.30pm – included in the price) and tickets cost just £4.

The talk from Jasper Sharp begins at 6.30pm, with another martial arts demonstration following at 7.30pm, then Pigs and Battleships starts at 8pm. A ticket for the talk, demonstration and film costs only £6.

To get a ticket to all films and attractions costs a mere £8.

For more information and to book tickets please visit japanfestival.co.uk

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