Friday, July 27, 2018

Two new releases

Continuing a trend of putting out a new documentary nearly every year since 2012 (FILMS), I am extremely honoured to release the trailers for not one, but TWO new films (!).

The first one is called 「おみおくり〜Sending Off〜」, and it is the feature-length version of my public television-commissioned documentary program "Dying at Home" which was broadcast on NHK World in 2016 (WEBSITE).  Following completion of that program, I continued to film for an additional six months and then edit off and on for a year after that.  The result is a story that is more patient/family-focused and observational in style.  I am extremely honoured to be able to share this story of Dr. Konta and her amazing team of nurses, and I look forward to posting more information on the website (HERE) about upcoming screenings as they are confirmed.  In the meantime, the trailer can be seen below:

The second is a documentary short called 「父なる愛生せば」(in English: The Father’s Love Begotten), which is the story of a young man who was sexually abused by a Catholic priest when he was 12.  While the story may unfortunately sound all too familiar, what this young man shares in his heart-breaking and harrowing interview contains details I have never heard before.  The website for the film is HERE and the trailer is below.

I look forward to completing the post-production on these two news films (which for the filmmakers reading this includes locking picture, colour grade and sound mix) later this summer.

I would like to thank my team members who worked so hard with me on these films, as well as all of the supporters of my work whose encouragement over the years has been so instrumental in my ability to keep creating work which has been neither commercially successfully nor self-sustaining.

Acknowledging recent and significant signs that I need a break and time away to reflect, I have made the decision to take off most of the month of August during which time I will be traveling, visiting with family, and deeply considering my path forward in life.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

"Boys for Sale" screens in Tokyo

On Friday night, Boys for Sale (WEBSITE) screened in Japan for only the second time, after last autumn's participation in Tokyo AIDS Weeks (STORY).  

Organized by Professor David H. Slater, the screening was held as part of the Sophia University Institute of Comparative Culture Lecture Series 2018 (INFO).  Professor Slater also arranged for me to speak at a lunchtime seminar during the 22nd Annual Asian Studies Conference Japan last week to help promote the screening (STORY).

The screening was held at a venue in the university that holds 150 people.  More than 20 minutes before the start of the event it became clear it was going to fill up, so more than 50 seats were added on the sides and in the aisles of the room.  Those chairs also filled up and some people were left standing (meaning more than 200 people attended!), but at least no one had to be turned away like at the screening last year (STORY).

I was joined for post-screening discussion by Co, one of the film's protagonists, who has also joined us for screenings in Germany and America.  The audience is always so appreciative of the opportunity to hear not only from the filmmakers' side, but also from one of the subjects in the film.  So many wonderful questions were asked, and had it not been for a time limit on the event, it seemed like there were enough questions to carry on for another hour.
Also joining the Q&A was Nakatani Hitomi of N Tani Studios who created all of the drawings that were animated for the documentary.  Hitomi shared with the audience her approach to illustrating the stories of the boys in the film and how these extremely sexually explicit drawings are so remarkably unsexy.

With so many people in attendance, t is clear that there is an audience for this film.  A potential distribution partner who attended the screening later told me how watching the film with a group of 200 people- where you could hear them laugh, express surprise and feel the tension in the room- was like seeing a different film from the one she saw on her laptop in isolation.  

Um, yeah, that's why we have cinemas.

Now, let's try to get this film distributed...

Saturday, June 30, 2018

"Boys for Sale" awarded in Germany (UPDATE)!!!

***** UPDATE July 2, 2018*****

I have just received word from the Nachtschatten Film Festival about their 2018 Awards (unfortunately, I had to leave before the festival ended to attend the conference here in Tokyo on Saturday).  "Boys for Sale" received the award for Best Feature Film with the jury citation "for giving us insight into a world of sexworkers that share their experiences and dreams with us."

As the executive producer of the film, and on behalf of our entire team, especially director Itako, DOP/ producer Adrian "Uchujin" Storey, illustrator N Tani Studios and music composers Kazaguruma, I am extremely honoured and would like to thank the festival, their audiences and all of our supporters.


***** END UPDATE *****

I returned home last night from two wonderful screenings of "Boys for Sale" (WEBSITE) at the Nachtschatten Film Festival in Germany (INFO).  Taking place at the iconic Werkstattkino cinema in Munich (WEBSITE), this niche festival screens films under the broad banner of BDSM/ Fetish (!); I previously wrote more about this world of niche festivals (HERE). 
Q&A with NACHTSCHATTEN festival organizer Tobias Fleischer
It was a wonderful homecoming of sorts as well, as the Werkstattkino held an Artist in the Focus series of several of my films over a week in 2015 (STORY) under the direction of programmer and dear friend Doris Kuhn.

While I was in Germany, the award we received for Best Feature Documentary at the 2017 Queer International Film Festival Playa del Carmen (STORY) arrived via Berlin (long story), so we promptly posted that to the social media of the film as well (TWEET).
And with no rest for the wicked, today I presented a lunchtime talk at the 22nd Annual Asian Studies Conference Japan at the invitation of Sophia University's Professor David H. Slater (PROGRAM).  Presenting clips from "Boys for Sale"and speaking about possible uses of the film in universities, this event was held ahead of our screening at Sophia University on July 6 (INFO).

In the evening, I stopped by a restaurant popular with foreign visitors to have dinner with friends where I spotted the July issue of Metropolis.  I had heard they were featuring the July 6 screening of "Boys for Sale" at Sophia, but I had not seen it yet (below).  Metropolis published a four-page feature about all of my film work this past December (READ).
This will be the only the second for this Japanese documentary to be screened here, so not only are we looking forward to it, but we are hoping to secure some form of wider distribution as well.

Thank you all so much for your continued support!


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Update on "Boys" and other news

Another blog from the airport on the way to a film festival, this time to attend the Nachtschatten Film Festival (STORY) where the Munich Premier of "Boys for Sale" (WEBSITE) will take place. I am so grateful to have been a member of the team that made this documentary and for the amazing reception it has received across the world (AWARDS).

A few days ago "Boys for Sale" also had the honour of being featured in the International Documentary Association's list of 5 documentaries to watch for Pride Month (LINK)!

Meanwhile, I am extremely honored that "Orbiting in the Field: a Taidan (conversation) on Ecology and Filmmaking in Tohoku, Japan" (READ) was published in Duke University Press's Positions Asia Critique. This was four years in the making (!) and came to fruition through the hard work of my taidan partner Professor of Biology and renowned Chernobyl/ Fukushima researcher Timothy Mousseau and guest editors/ conference organizers Lisa Onaga & Harry Wu.  More about that conference in Singapore from four years ago is on my blog (HERE).

October 12, 2014
And my mail box held one other surprise with this week- a producer's gift from Shawn Lee Small, director of the award-winning documentary "Acres of Diamonds".  I am truly honoured to have been able to serve on the team of this amazing film as well (STORY).

Coming up on July 6, "Boys for Sale" will screen in Tokyo at Sophia University (INFO), and despite this Japanese film screening all over the world, this will be only the second time the film has screened in Japan; the first was last year's sold-out screening in Tokyo AIDS Week (STORY).
Time to head to the gate...

Thank you all so very much for support and encouragement over these many years.
Peace and gratitude,
Tokyo, Japan

Monday, May 28, 2018

"Boys for Sale" awarded in India

I am extremely honoured to announce that "Boys for Sale" (WEBSITE) received the Best Documentary Feature Award on Sunday night at the KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival in Mumbai!

「売買ボーイズ」がKASHISH ムンバイ国際映画祭で、昨夜、長編ドキュメンタリー最優秀賞を受賞したことをご報告できますことを大変光栄に思います。

The Jury Citation, which can be found HERE, stated:
“The jury found it unique for its honesty, brutality and integrity. The jury found the blend of form and content remarkable. The film goes into the heart of the matter fearlessly, creating an intense impression for the audience.”

This is the 6th award "Boys for Sale" has received, in addition to THESE five.  

We are next screening in Germany and Chile in June! Information the on “Screenings” page HERE

On behalf of the entire "Boys for Sale" team, we thank you all so much for your support!

Friday, April 27, 2018

A dying father reunites with his son, two years later

It is hard to believe that it has been two years since Mr. Hata died.

I first met Mr. Hata in the autumn of 2016 while working on my documentary "Dying at Home", and over the six months that followed, I formed a deep friendship with him and his wife.  During the time I spent with Mr. Hata, I learned so much about family, love and loss, and I shared one of these lessons with the world via Twitter when just weeks before he died Mr. Hata reunited with the son he had not seen in 30 years.

I first published that story with photographs live on Twitter as the father and son reunited and then archived it a few days later on Storify with the title "Mr. Hata and T: a father and a son: a dying father reunites with his son after thirty years" (BLOG).  I then published two follow-up stories, one when Mr. Hata died three weeks later (BLOG) and then when he was buried (BLOG).  A few months later I was invited to write the cover story for the December issue of Number 1 Shimbun, the magazine of the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan (READ), where I was able to more objectively reflect on the experience of documenting such an intimate and personal story in real time.  To mark the first year after his death, I published Mr. Hata's story in Japanese (BLOG).

This weekend will be the 2nd anniversary of Mr. Hata's death, and I am traveling to Fukushima today to attend the ceremony and visit his grave where I will remember all of the important lessons I learned and which continue to influence me.

Recently I learned that Storify will discontinue its service.  As I hope the story of Mr. Hata will be able to continue affecting and moving people, I have added a page on my website where these photodocumentaries will be archived.  The first three (all about Mr. Hata + the first one in Japanese) can now be found under the PHOTO DOC tab (HERE), where I plan to publish more when the right story calls out to be told in this format.

Thank you all for accompanying me on this journey.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

"Boys" in Thailand, Switzerland and Germany!

While I have been fairly quiet on social media lately, it has been for a great reason- for the past several months I have been working on a couple of really exciting projects, and I am really looking forward to sharing more about them soon!

Meanwhile, the "Boys for Sale" (WEBSITE) team continues to work on arranging upcoming screenings of the documentary.  Earlier this month we were honoured to provide the film for a free community screening in Bangkok that was hosted by OUT BKK (INFO).

Next month, the film will be screening in Switzerland's La fête du slip, during which it will screen everyday during the three-day film festival (May 11, 12 and 13)!  More information can be found HERE.

And in June, we will be screening in Munich at the Nacht Scahatten Festival of BDSM & Fetish Films (!).  As I wrote on this blog earlier this year (HERE):

Of all the niche film festivals that documentaries I have produced have screened at (Japanese, ethnographic, Asian, LGBTQ, environmental, nuclear) I have been most amused by the number of pornographic film festivals to which "Boys for Sale" has been invited.  Among these was the film's Italian Premier in Turin's Fish and Chips Erotic Film Fest on January 20.  I have yet to attend one of these pornographic festivals, but our DOP/ producer Adrian "Uchujin" Storey attended the film's screening in the Porn Film Festival Berlin last October and wrote about it on his blog.  Not for the faint-hearted. ;)
More information about the dates/ times "Boys for Sale" at Nacht Scahatten will be posted on the film's website and social media accounts as soon as we receive it.  In the meantime, general information about the festival can be found HERE.

And we are looking forward to announcing our Indian premier at a festival in Mumbai in May as soon as the press embargo is lifted.

It has been almost a year since "Boys for Sale" held its World Premier in Germany (STORY).  Thank you all so much for your support and encouragement over this year!