Now entering its 13th year, JAPAN CUTS: Festival of New Japanese Film returns to present the best new movies made in and around Japan and the filmmakers and performers who made them, all appearing in New York for the first time, with many North American and International Premieres. Set for July 19 to 28, the 2019 edition will feature nearly 30 feature films, ranging from box-office smashes to breakout indie debuts, and includes spotlights on documentary cinema, experimental animation, short films and recent restorations and rediscoveries of classic Japanese favorites.

The full schedule will be released on June 11, when tickets go on sale to Japan Society members. Tickets will go on sale to the public on June 18.

This year, the festival’s Centerpiece Presentation on Wednesday, July 24 is the East Coast Premiere of Killing, a subversive samurai drama from influential cult director Shinya Tsukamoto that the filmmaker has described as a “scream” in response to the current state of the world. In addition to participating in a post-screening Q&A, Tsukamoto will receive the 2019 CUT ABOVE Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film prior to the premiere screening. Since 2012, festival organizers have presented the CUT ABOVE Award to recognize the exceptional work of individual performers and directors in recent Japanese cinema. Past recipients include Koji Yakusho, Toshiaki Toyoda, Kazuki Kitamura, Sakura Ando, Lily Franky and Kirin Kiki.

A groundbreaking filmmaker who pioneered the Japanese cyberpunk genre in 1989 with his iconic debut Tetsuo: The Iron Man, Tsukamoto has been consistently creating innovative independent genre films with a singularly bold visual style for three decades. In addition to directing, Tsukamoto is often also credited as an actor, producer, writer, editor, art director and cinematographer for his films. Recently, he has had scene-stealing roles as an actor in Shin Godzilla (2016) and Martin Scorsese’s Silence (2016).

“It’s difficult to overstate Shinya Tsukamoto’s significance as a filmmaker and his immense influence on Japanese cinema,” says Kazu Watanabe, Deputy Director of Film at Japan Society. “A fiercely independent auteur with a consistently uncompromising vision, he has managed to stay true to himself while breaking new ground with every film. We are proud to present Killing as the JAPAN CUTS 2019 Centerpiece Presentation, his first period film and a profound examination of violence.”

In addition to Killing, Tsukamoto will be on hand to introduce and participate in a post-screening Q&A of his cult hit Bullet Ballet (1998) on Thursday, July 25, a black-and-white noir-ish thriller, presented on an imported 35mm print as part of the festival’s “Classics: Rediscoveries & Restorations” section.

In the run-up to this year’s festival, the 2018 JAPAN CUTS Audience Award winner Born Bone Born receives a screening on Friday, June 14 at 7:00 pm as a “JAPAN CUTS Encore” within Japan Society’s Monthly Classics programming.