A unique US distributor SAKKA and Japanese production company ATMOVIE are taking their first step to bring Japanese emerging filmmakers to the global market
LOS ANGELES – Oct. 10, 2023 – PRLog — A US-based distributor of Japanese films SAKKA, in partnership with a Japanese production company ATMOVIE, is set to start a new initiative “Creator Tour” in their effort to foster new-generation Japanese filmmakers in the global marketplace. The two companies join forces to broaden the perspective of Japanese creators in filmmaking and inspire the next generation of talent to compete on the global stage.
In each of these tours, two Japanese filmmakers who have already proven themselves domestically will be invited to the US where they are given opportunities to interact closely with local creators and industry professionals, and learn firsthand the global market from both the commercial and artistic perspectives. The filmmakers will also participate in an event at the 43rd Hawai’i International Film Festival presented by Halekulani, scheduled for October 12-22 (www.hiff.org)
“We’re very excited to start this much-needed effort to provide opportunities for Japanese emerging filmmakers with the unique presence we have in the US.” says the founder of SAKKA, Chiaki Yanagimoto. “Just like when we first started developing our distribution channel, we had seen the problem for too long, and we felt the need to act on our own initiative. There are many talented filmmakers in Japan who, when thrown into the global marketplace, are not able to compete at their full potential because of the sheer lack of awareness and firsthand experience. Fortunately, when we talked to ATMOVIE, it came to light that we shared the same exact concerns, and they were also looking for ways to take action and change the status quo.”
ATMOVIE is one of the most prolific and respected independent production studios in Japan, a producer behind “Midnight Swan” which won the Best Picture in the 2021 Japanese Academy Awards, becoming the first independent film to achieve that recognition. Takeshi Moriya, the producer and CEO of ATMOVIE shares his insight which led to this collaborative effort. “The Japanese film industry has neglected to focus on the overseas market due to the domestic production based on the production committee system, which has accelerated since the beginning of the 2000s. As a result, the current Japanese film market for live-action films is tapering off. Meanwhile, the potential of the global market is expanding at an incredible pace. We’ve been wanting to break through this sense of crisis, and partnering with SAKKA to start this initiative made total sense. This marks our first step towards a prolific and sustainable future for the Japanese film industry.”
The immediate goal of this initiative is to develop the filmmakers’ awareness and perspective on the global standard as well as their own competitiveness abroad. The more significant and longer-term goal, however, is to inspire the next generation and revitalize the Japanese film industry in a sustainable way. Moriya adds, “By opening their eyes from domestic to global, and by showing a concrete path forward, we are confident that these young filmmakers will be able to pave the way for the future of the Japanese film industry.”
The first two directors who are coming to the US this October are Yusaku Matsumoto and Akio Fujimoto. Matsumoto is one of the most sought-after young directors in Japan, having a versatile career directing short films, music videos, commercials, as well as TV episodes of Japanese local content for Amazon Prime, Hulu and Disney+. His latest feature film “Winny” opened in the top 10 domestic box office earlier this year. “Winny” is also set to screen at the Hawai’i International Film Festival. Fujimoto has independently directed two feature films “Passage of Life” and “Along the Sea”, latter of which was invited to the San Sebastian International Film Festival and won Fujimoto the prestigious Kaneto Shindo Award and Nagisa Oshima Prize in Japan in 2021 (both a recognition for the most talented new director of the year).
SAKKA is currently distributing the films by both of these directors, “Noise” and “Made in Japan” by Matsumoto, and “Passage of Life” by Fujimoto. They are a unique distribution hub with a mission that extends beyond distributing films on VOD; they also aim to support the sustainable growth of Japanese films and filmmakers overseas.