Pictures dept. talks Yu Irie's ROADSIDE FUGITIVE and Sion Sono's LAND OF HOPE (FILMART 2012)

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Pictures dept. talks Yu Irie's ROADSIDE FUGITIVE and Sion Sono's LAND OF HOPE (FILMART 2012)
From March 19th to March 22nd, 2012, more than 20 Japanese film companies attended the 16th Hong Kong International Film & TV Market (FILMART) organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC). One of the film companies, Pictures dept. (a sales, acquisition, co-production and world-wide distribution company), presented possibly the most exciting and anticipated Japanese project at the Market this year: "Land of Hope", the new movie by director Sion Sono (also nominated Best Director for "Guilty of Romance" at the March 20th Asian Film Awards). I had a few words with Yuko Shiomaki, who founded Pictures dept.

FA: What movies are you presenting at the Film Market this year?

YS: Among the best films that I'm presenting at FILMART this year is "Roadside Fugitive" directed by Yu Irie, who is a very up and coming director in Japan. It's actually the second sequel of the "8000 Miles" series ["8000 Miles" (2009), "8000 Miles 2: Girl Rappers" (2010)]. There's also hip hop rap in it, but it's not a hip hop movie. It's a coming of age drama with a hip hop music soundtrack. It's like a parody of "8 Miles", but now the budget increased since it became very popular in Japan. So this sequel has the highest budget ever. I think that it's a very watchable and entertaining film for the international audience. It's screening at the Hong Kong International Film Festival in the "Indie Power" section and there are also two market screenings.

roadsidefugitive.jpgThere's also "Tokyo Playboy Club" by Yosuke Okuda, which has been presented in Rotterdam already, and I have already had much attention from the festival people. It's going to be released in the US and South Africa, maybe for the DVD and VOD platforms. It's been released in Japan already. "Roadside Fugitive", which I think is one of the hottest from Japan, will be release in Tokyo in April.

tokyoplayboyclub.jpgFA: Let's talk about the project that many want to hear about: the new Sion Sono movie...

YS: ... "The Land of Hope" is in post-production now, and we are trying to present it at Cannes. The shooting is finished already. It's in post-production for the CG work and the music. It will be ready in early April. It was shot in January 2012; for three weeks. I can say it is the highest budget ever for Sion Sono but it's not like a big, big budget.  It's still independent filmmaking.
FA: For this movie, do you have partners from foreign countries?

YS: Yes, we have UK and Taiwan co-producers fixed now, and Germany is trying to come on board. So it's an international co-production, certainly. 50% [of the budget is] from Japan, 50% from overseas. It's a huge project, and it's going to be the first quiet drama done by Sion Sono. It's not like a splatter, killing, yelling genre type.

sono2012.jpgFA: What are your expectations concerning "The Land of Hope"?

YS: This is going to be Sion Sono's breakthrough for the fourth quarter of his career, I can say. He has a before-"Suicide Club" period, an after-"Suicide Club" period until "Love Exposure", and then from "Love Exposure" to "Guilty of Romance" was his blooming period. Now is the establishment period for him, as a director. I really hope that Cannes will take it for an official selection.

Interview conducted by Frédéric Ambroisine at FILMART on March 19th, 2012. Edited by Sylvia Rorem. Cross-published on AliveNotDead.

Links: FILMART, Asian Film Awards, Pictures Dept., Dongyu

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