Toy-meets-world in the mesmerizing documentary Toypunks
, a fast-paced chronicle of Japanese punk culture that touches on music and fashion but focuses mostly on toys. The film, which is the first in a series, includes interviews with the major makers of designer toys for kitschy Japanese tastes. Interviewees include former underground artist Frank Kozik, an American who made the Smoking Rabbit, a darling round, pink rabbit with a cigarette in its mouth, and designer Hikaru Iwanaga, who made the toy Kid Hunter and in the film discusses his childhood obsession with Capn Crunch cereal and G.I. Joe.
Despite its rather exotic topic, the film has a Houston connection. Filmmaker and toy enthusiast Justin Kovalsky was an editor at an anime magazine here when he met Chris Nelson, then the art director of the newly launched Anime Network. Kovalsky left Houston, but when he was ready to shoot his documentary two years later, he turned to Nelson for help. Nelson will attend both of the films screenings. 8 p.m. Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday. Aurora Picture Show, 800 Aurora. For information, call 713-868-2101 or visit www.aurorapictureshow.org. $6.
Sat., Aug. 16, 8 p.m.; Sun., Aug. 17, 3 p.m., 2008