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Too Young to Die! Kankuro Kudo

Kankuro Kudo’s anarchic Japanese comedy Too Young to Die! is the Audience Award Winner of the 15th New York Asian Film Festival, which came to a close on Saturday night.

Too Young to Die!, which had its North American premiere at the festival, stars Ryunosuke Kamiki as a student sent to Buddhist hell after his whole class dies in a freak bus accident. There, he makes a pact with guitar-shredding demon Killer K, played by Tomoya Nagase, to be reincarnated and reunite with his high school crush. International sale of the film is handled by Toho Co Ltd.

Second- and third-placed in the audience vote were two South Korean thrillers, Woo Min-ho’s Inside Men and Lee Il-hyeong’s A Violent Prosecutor. Both films were major box office hits in South Korea. Lee Byung-hun, the star of Inside Men, attended the festival to receive one of three Star Asia Awards. Both films are productions of South Korea’s Showbox Corporation, which also handles international sales.

Two Southeast Asian films came fourth and fifth in the audience vote: Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit’s offbeat romantic comedy Heart Attack from Thailand, and Mario Cornejo’s surfing relationship drama Apocalypse Child from the Philippines. Another film from the Philippines, Erik Matti’s thriller Honor Thy Father, was placed eighth in the audience vote.

The NYAFF 2016 Box office grew 20%, setting a new record for the festival. Attendance was particularly strong for films from China, the Philippines and Japan. The festival closed with a sell-out screening of the international premiere of Adam Tsuei’s Taiwan thriller The Tenants Downstairs, ahead of its mid-August domestic release.

1. Too Young to Die! [Japan]
2. Inside Men [South Korea]
3. A Violent Prosecutor [South Korea]
4. Heart Attack [Thailand]
5. Apocalypse Child [Philippines]
6. The Throne [South Korea]
7. Dongju: Portrait of a Poet [South Korea]
8. Honor Thy Father [Philippines]
9. 10 Years [Hong Kong]
10. Fourth Place [South Korea]

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