Sunday, October 14, 2018

Boys and Fathers

After premiering "Boys for Sale" (WEBSITE) nearly a year and a half ago in Germany (STORY), the film has had an amazing run on the film festival circuit.  While we thought screenings might be over this past the summer, we have had a last minute surge in interest in the film and have just confirmed screenings this month in Germany and Slovakia.  Next month "Boys for Sale" will be screening in the Philippines and Switzerland, and in December it will be in Taipei.  More information about the screening can be found on the film's website (HERE). 

These screenings now bring the grand total to 40 festivals, and on behalf of our entire team, we are so grateful for all of the support we have received over these many years we have been in research, production and post!
Back in July, I wrote about two new documentaries I am working on (STORY).  The first is called "Sending Off" (WEBSITE), which is the feature-version of my television documentary "Dying at Home" (INFO), and the other is a short documentary called "The Father's Love Begotten" (WEBSITE), which is about a young man who was sexually molested by a Catholic priest when he was a little boy. 

While I am still putting the finishing touches on both of these films, I have already begun sending them out to film festivals.  Soon I will be announcing some exciting news regarding "The Father's Love Begotten" and an opportunity I have been given to hold a special private test audience screening of it at a film school near Detroit early next month for which both the film's subject and I will be in attendance.

When I began working on "The Father's Love Begotten" nearly two years ago, I could not have imagined how timely its release would be and how the issue of sexual abuse in the Catholic church would be back in the news so prominently.

Although many people will have heard about the priest sexual abuse scandal, the film contains detailed descriptions of not only the rape, but of how this boy was groomed by the priest to believe that sex with the priest was his "duty" to God and how this continues to affect him in his sexual relationships as an adult. These are parts of this horrible tragedy that I believe most people have not heard before and are not being covered in the news. 

My hope is that the story of the young man in "The Father's Love Begotten" will be heard by people across the world and that it will be one of the lights shed on the trauma these victims continue to suffer.  May their voices no longer be silenced by the Church.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Hard drives and fun drives

Although I have been mostly quiet on social media these past few months, much has been going on in the background, including editing on several projects and lots of submissions to film festivals.  And also a little fun, like driving these gorgeous ladies to a concert.  Ages 81, 90 and 93, they are great story tellers, funny, smart and seem to have more energy than me!
More news on the film front soon...

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Point of break

Recognizing I was in dire need of a break, I spent much of this month away traveling, visiting family, relaxing.  And healing.

While I have done a bit of recording while away, only time in the edit suite will reveal if it is a film, an installation piece or simply a personal project that through its making brings to me some new understanding about myself and the people I love...

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