Rugby World Cup, London, United Kingdom
September 18-October 31 – Teams from 20 countries competed in the 8th Rugby World Cup that was hosted in London from September 18 to October 31. Over the course of 44 days the tournament drew more than two million spectators. Teams from the Southern Hemisphere dominated the semifinals with New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and Argentina earning spots. The final match saw New Zealand beat Australia to take home the Webb Ellis Cup for the third time. Japan shocked the rugby world in this year’s tournament as they defeated the South African team in an early pool match. Interest in the sport has grown across Asia in recent years, and the 9th Rugby World Cup will be held in Japan in 2019. Some companies are looking to capitalize on this growing market and have launched Asian-Rugby TV to foster a growing audience.
Busan International Film Festival, Busan, South Korea
October 1-10 – The Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) celebrated its 20th year this month and featured 302 films from 75 countries. Though the festivities were challenged by a typhoon and a government budget cut, the show carried on and drew a record number of visitors. Attendees included legendary filmmakers including Hou Hsiao Hsien and Leos Carax, American actor Harvey Keitel, French actress Sophie Marceau, and Korean actor Yoo Ah-in. The top-tier New Currents and FIPRESCI awards went to Immortal – directed by Iranian filmmaker Hadi Mohaghegh. The film depicted the guilt and grief of an old man suffering with the loss of his family in southwest Iran. Also winning a New Currents award was the Kazakhstani film, Walnut Tree, by Yerlan Nurmukhambetov.
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque, New Mexico
October 3-11 – This was the 44th year for the spectacular hot air balloon festival that claims to be the most photographed event in the world. The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is hosted in the 360-acre Balloon Fiesta Park which is home to the “Albuquerque Box” – a unique wind pattern that allows balloon pilots to take off from and land in the same spot. This year’s theme was “Where Dreams Take Flight.” The nine-day fiesta was packed with a variety of activities, one of which was the Flight of the Nations. This mass ascension honored each country represented in this year’s Balloon Fiesta. Teams from more than 22 countries, including Australia, Brazil, and Germany, came to New Mexico to compete and carry their nation’s flag.
Chicago Architecture Biennial, Chicago, Illinois
October 2015-January 2016 – The inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial launched the weekend of October 3 and continues through January 3, 2016. The biennial is part of a cultural plan envisioned by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and executed by Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events Commissioner Michelle T. Boone. This three-month event offers a platform for considering the impact of architectural creativity and spatial innovation on everyday life. More than 100 architects and artists from 40 firms representing 30 countries were selected to participate in exhibitions and programs over the course of the biennial, which will host 200 events throughout its duration. The events are a combination of panel discussions, lectures, performances, workshops, film screenings, exhibits, and more. The Chicago Cultural Center functions as the main hub of the biennial, and it displayed a life-sized house built for $4,000 by Vietnamese firm Vo Trong Nghia Architects. You can find a list of exhibitions, programs, and events at www.chicagoarchitecturebiennial.org.
Latin American Music Awards, Hollywood, California
October 8 – Iconic and influential Latin American music artists were honored at the first edition of the Latin American Music Awards hosted by Lucero at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood and broadcast live on Telemundo. Award winners were selected by fan votes. Puerto Rican singer Daddy Yankee stole the show taking home Favorite Male Artist and Best Song for Sígueme y Te Sigo, which he also performed live at the awards show. Gloria Trevi claimed the Favorite Female Artist Award, and J Balvin took home the New Artist of the Year Award. Other performances included CD9, De La Ghetto, Il Volo, and Paulina Rubio.
Japan Update Culture Panel, Sydney, Australia
October 13, 2015 – The Japan Update Conference hosted a Soft Power and Cultural Diplomacy Panel in Sydney, Australia, to explore Japanese soft power on October 13. The panel was co-sponsored by the Japan Foundation and The Australian National University. It included trans-Asia globalization specialist Koichi Iwabuchi from Monash University, “cute culture” theorist Christine R. Yano from the University of Hawaii, and public diplomacy analyst Yasushi Watanabe from Keio University. Topics discussed ranged from the global power of Hello Kitty to Japanese media culture. The panel was selected by Dr. Simon Avenell, Director of the Japan Institute at The Australian National University (ANU). Choya, a Japanese liqueur made from ume fruit, sponsored the event and hosted a tasting of a new premium line that is now available internationally.
Arab Film Festival, San Francisco, California
October 16-25 – The Arab Film Festival opened in San Francisco on October 16. This was the 19th installment of this festival, meant to build bridges of understanding between Arabs and Americans. The festival offers a platform for independent contemporary Arab filmmakers to give insight into the beautiful, diverse, and complex Arab world. This year the festival focused on comedies, animation, children’s films, and music videos. The festival opened at The Castro Theater with the premiere of From A to B – a comedy directed by British-Emirati filmmaker Ali F. Mostafa. If you missed the festival in San Francisco you can catch the Arab Film Festival when it goes on the road in November. It will be held November 13-15 in Los Angeles and November 20-22 in San Diego.
Body Talk on Display, Metz, France
October 30, 2015-January 17, 2016 – Koyo Kouoh, the director of the Raw Material Company in Dakar, Senegal, curated Body Talk – an exhibition featuring six female contemporary African artists who examine feminism, sexuality, and the body. This show launched at the Lunds Konsthall in Lund, Sweden and has recently traveled to 49 Nord 6 Est Frac Lorraine in Metz, France. Body Talk aims to create a better understanding of the world through the lens of African Feminism. Artists featured in this exhibition include Zoulikha Bouabdellah (Morocco), Marcia Kure (United States), Miriam Syowia Kyambi (Kenya), Valérie Oka (Côte d’Ivoire), Tracey Rose (South Africa), and Billie Zangewa (South Africa). A series of talks and performances have been scheduled in conjunction with this display to empower black women in Europe.