One of the more intriguing titles to premiere in 2017 may well turn out to be Colonel Panics, a Japanese/Australian co-production directed by Korean-born, Australian-raised Cho Jinseok. Shot entirely in Japan with production completed in 2016, the film has its world premiere in competition at the 27th Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival to be held between 2-6 March, 2017. The film will also screen as part of the Forbidden Zone program in the festival.The Fantastic Off-Theater Competition is for young directors and seven Asian films will compete for the cash prize.
Colonel Panics is an Australian-Japanese coproduction between Big Panic, Tokyo Media International and Arthit.
I do declare an interest in the film to the extent that its young director, a contributor to this blog under the name Ben Cho, is a friend. (You can read his most recent contribution, a Defending Cinephilia piece for 2016, if you click here.)
But having seen Colonel Panics and discussed it with another viewer whose opinion I value, I think I can say it is a film that warrants some serious attention. Its storyline is listed on the Screen Australia website as about “The destinies of two men, one from the future and one from the past, become entwined as a malevolent virus spreads throughout a digital gaming experience that blurs dreams and reality. “ But its subject is the continuing presence, indeed national burden, of Japanese militarism and the growth of a modern fascist Japanese state. The film rakes over the coals of the past, most notably via its references to Korean comfort women, but looks into a future where worship of the Emperor and vile deeds done in his name, are still the norm for many.
The film has a website www.colonelpanics.com which contains trailer and teaser preview material.
The next step is for screenings in Australia. The film will be submitted to the direction of the next Sydney Film Festival in June 2017 and to the managers of the New Zealand Film Festival which begins in July.