Sunday, May 21, 2017

Boys for Sale

Two years ago, I first began to talk about a film I was making with the working title of "MSM: Men Who Have Sex With Men".  As documentaries often do, the film ended up taking much more time (years!) and much more money (tears!) to complete than any of us had expected.  But I am happy to announce that the film is finally finished!

STORY
Now called 「売買ボーイズ」 (bai-bai boizu) or "Boys for Sale" in English (WEBSITE), the film documents "urisen"- mostly straight, young guys who sell sex to men- in Tokyo's largest gay district.  The trailer, which is NSFW and for which viewer discretion is advised, is here:


SCREENINGS
"Boys for Sale" will be holding its World Premier in Frankfurt, Germany, next week at the 2017 Nippon Connection Film Festival (INFO).  Nippon Connection is also where I was honoured to receive an award for my film "A2-B-C" in 2013 (STORY) and for my film "-1287" in 2015 (STORY).  Incidentally, the subtitles for "Boys for Sale" were produced by Japan Visualmedia Translation Academy (JVTA) as they were the sponsors of the subtitling award I received for "A2-B-C" at Nippon Connection in 2013!

I am really looking forward to announcing more screenings in the coming weeks and months and thank you all for sharing about this film with people you think would be interested!

CHANGES
Two years ago when we first began shopping the rough cut around to festivals and friends in the industry, it became clear that the documentary would benefit from undergoing some significant changes.  At the same time, however, I had become busy with work on what would eventually become two commissions for the NHK World documentary series "Inside Lens" (2016's "Dying at Home" INFO and 2017's "Suturing Cultures" INFO***).  Knowing I needed to turn fuller attention to those documentaries, I felt the best decision I could make for "Boys for Sale" was to step down as director, although I remained producer overseeing the completion of the film. 

I brought on a new director, Itako, who was in charge of taking apart the original edit, shooting new footage and then putting it all back together.  He also directed the two music composers who created an entirely new and original sound track, as well the illustrator who was commissioned to draw over 300 original illustrations for the documentary (of which about 100 ended up being used in the film). 

THE OTHER TEAM MEMBERS
I would like to give a shout out to some of the other "Boys for Sale" team members, for their incredible work:

  • Our amazing DOP/ producer Adrian Storey aka Uchujin (WEBSITE and TWITTER) who handled not only TWO cameras, but also lighting AND sound in some of the smallest spaces imaginable!
  • Our two awesome composers working under the name Kazaguruma, Jack on Shamisen (TWITTER) and Komitetsu on cello (TWITTER).
  • Our illustrator N Tani Studio (WEBSITE and TWITTER) whose sensitive drawings completely changed the film.
  • Our animator Jeremy Yamamura from Denbak-Fano Design (WEBSITE), who animated N Tani Studio's illustrations, as well as painstakingly created special animated blurs to help protect the identity of the young men in the film who requested it.
  • Our talented story editor Sarah Lushia, who worked with Itako on editing the narrative for an international audience.

REFLECTION
"Boys for Sale" is certainly one of the edgiest films I have been a part of, and considering some of the projects I have worked on, that is saying something.  ;)  But in all seriousness, working on this film has been a massively interesting experience, and I have learned so much about group dynamics, about how music and animation can be used in a documentary, and about myself.

*** "Suturing Cultures" will be re-broadcast on May 29 TIME SCHEDULE HERE.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Acres of Diamonds

Over the past year, it has been my great to honour to serve as one of the producers of award-winning documentary filmmaker Shawn Small's latest short film, Acres of Diamonds (INFO).


I first met Shawn four years ago at the Global Peace Film Festival (STORY) when he was screening his film "Ru: Water is Life" (INFO), and I was screening my first film about children in Fukushima, "In the Grey Zone" (WEBSITE).  After keeping in touch and offering moral support to each other on various projects, I was thrilled when Shawn asked me to help out on his new film, "Acres of Diamonds".

Focusing mainly on story and narrative editing, I was thrilled when the finished film began to be accepted into festivals.  When Shawn asked me to represent the last weekend's East Coast premier of the film at the Nepal International Film Festival (INFO) while he attended the West Coast premier in LA (where the film subsequently won the prize for Best Short Doc), I was honoured to accept.  One of the festival organizers, Purna Singh Baraily, chairperson of the Human Rights Film Center in Nepal, was also among the friends we had met at the 2012 Global Peace Film Festival (STORY).


In addition to directing my own documentaries, I am really enjoying recent opportunities to assist with the films of other filmmakers, to teach at university and to mentor students through internships.  Thank you all so very much for your continued support of my work.