Japanese Short Film Eatversity Asks Tough Questions About Diversity in Modern Life The upcoming short film, co-produced by ASHITAE, HoriPro International, and ISARIBI Inc., will be released in global markets.

The latest film from award-winning up-and-coming director Keisuke Sakuma, Eatversity is a shocking black comedy from Japan that thrusts controversy onto the stage of international society.

A crowdfunding campaign to support the international release of the film is now running through Monday, November 7; supporters interested in bringing this unique project to global audiences are encouraged to participate via Japan’s crowdfunding platform Motion Gallery at the link below.

https://motion-gallery.net/projects/eatversity

Keisuke Sakuma, who won the Audience Award at the Richmond International Film Festival (USA) for his previous film Funny, is set to produce and direct Eatversity. Supporting the project are leading Japanese entertainment firms ASHITAE, HoriPro International, and ISARIBI Inc., which are collectively providing their financial and promotional backing. Eatversity is part of a broader effort to support the development of a vibrant and successful short film production culture in Japan; this project is more than just one film; it is but a first step toward introducing Japan’s next generation of filmmakers to the world.

Eatversity asks the uncomfortable question of “what is true diversity?” to a global community that may not always want to answer. Told as a sharp-witted dark comedy, the story revolves around a young man who finds himself in the position of a marginalized minority when he is made to dine at a mysterious restaurant.

STORY

HANA is a young man who has a penchant for dressing himself up like a cat whenever he goes out. Because of this unusual habit, others find him strange, pitiable, and a nuisance… in other words, an outsider. One day, Hana is asked out for dinner by LISA, a woman he very much likes but whose intentions toward him are uncertain. She takes him to a strange restaurant where the food is disgusting and of indeterminate origin. As Hana struggles to swallow his meal, Lisa gladly eats it with a smile. Baffled and unsettled, Hana tries to figure out Lisa’s true nature and intentions. In the process, he learns the mystery of the restaurant, and discovers Lisa’s true feelings that she has long kept hidden.

A DARK COMEDY THAT RAISES QUESTIONS ABOUT TRUE ‘DIVERSITY’

In Japan, we don’t often see films that raise issues regarding the international community. But this film does. It gives voice to the question of the state of diversity today, with a focus on the international community as shown through the lens of dark comedy. After its completion, the film will be shown at international film festivals, and will be released via multilingual distribution platforms to reach people globally.

The film aims to require the audience to think about and ask themselves what diversity means to them, through the vicarious experience of Hana as a minority member of society. Thus, the film seeks to be a challenging one: to alert viewers that our societies, no matter where in the world we live, impose subjective values upon others and do not truly accept the equality of all rights.

PRODUCING SHORT FILMS WITH AN EYE ON THE GLOBAL MARKET

When it comes to providing resources and support for emerging filmmakers within the short film space, the Japanese film industry lags far behind the global market, particularly in comparison to the recent push in South Korea and other countries throughout Asia. To address this concern and empower the next generation of cinema creators, the three companies which have collaborated to support this project view Eatversity as a test case to examine challenges and devise solutions which can benefit future short films. Additionally, the companies will provide promotional support to bring the film to international audiences via film festival submissions and global distribution

CAST

[ Shuri Suwa (Hana) ]

Born in Tokyo, 1999.
He made his starring debut in the short film Uniform (directed by Shun Nakagawa). In 2019, he also starred in Snails (directed by Masaru Tsuume), which won the Grand Jury Prize and Best Actor awards at Japan’s MOOSIC LAB film festival. His other works include For Ray, Alm, Apoptosis, Float, MAARUKUNAARE, and Let Me Hear It Barefoot.

[ Mari Yasukawa (Lisa) ]

Born in Kanagawa, 1991.
An actress on both stage and screen, she has appeared in a number of plays, including Don’t Let Me Go (directed by Yukio Ninagawa), Away From Here, Farther, Perhaps Landscape That Becomes Bubble (produced by Mum and Gypsy), and others.

Director of TASTY BLUE
He produces jewelry and clothing under his own brand, and has also begun a career as an artist. He appeared in Season 2 of the Japanese iteration of The Bachelorette (2022).

DIRECTOR’S COMMENTS

Consideration of ‘who’ is making a comment is always an important factor in conveying one’s thoughts to others. Especially in today’s society, I feel that the ‘who’ often determines the ‘how’ of our perception with regard to the words we receive. This is an outcome of how much we focus on the traits of others, and not their individuality. In order to understand diversity, the first step we need to take is to avoid judging others by their traits. Through my own personal experience of living as a ‘minority’ and a ‘foreigner’ in the United States, I would like to convey the sense of discomfort that comes of being seen for traits, and not one’s self, through this film.

DIRECTOR PROFILE ( Keisuke Sakuma )

Born and raised in Nagoya, Japan, he moved in the United States at the age of fifteen and spent four years attending high school in Pennsylvania. After returning to Japan, he entered Waseda University and began making films. In his second year of university, he wrote and starred in the film Sansangogo, which won the Grand Prix and Audience Award in the U-25 category at the 2015 Okinawa International Movie Festival. The following year, with funding from the festival, he produced the film Hana wa dai dai dai, which was officially invited to the Okinawa International Movie Festival. That same year, he revisited the United States and studied filmmaking at Florida State University, where as an actor, he played the leading role in Good People, the graduation project of the University’s Film School. Following his time studying aboard, he worked for a film distribution company where he was involved in publicity work for both Japanese and international films. He later became an independent film director and screenwriter, directing music videos for Japanese musical idol groups and writing scripts for virtual YouTubers (Vtubers). His latest work, Funny (2021), was nominated for the 2021 TAMA NEW WAVE film festival competition, was selected for the Hong Kong International Film Festival, Market Picks at the Clermont-Ferrand International Film Festival in France, and won the Audience Award and Best Actress Award at the Richmond International Film Festival in the United States.

PROJECT DETAILS

Title: Eatversity (20 minutes) – http://motion-gallery.net/projects/eatversity
Cast: Shuri Suwa, Mari Yasukawa, Daisuke Abe, Akiji Nosaka, Takashi Obata, Ryosuke Shiratsuchi, Ayaka Takezaki
Crew: Written and Directed by Keisuke Sakuma; Produced by Shinichi Terachi, Takefumi Kanari, and Keita Sakakibara; Filmed by Byron Gould; Costumes Designed by KIPSSO (THE KILLER)

PRODUCTION SUPPORT

ASHITAE (https://to-morrow.super.site/)
An IP production company which plans and produces theatrical plays, films, animation for social media, and more, with a focus on producing Japanese entertainment content for global audiences.

HoriPro International (http://www.horipro-international.com/)
A talent discovery and management company representing some of Japan’s top emerging creatives. The firm’s slogan and guiding principle is “creation of world-class specialists.” Represented talents include May’n, Azusa Tadokoro, Ayaka Ohashi, Liyuu, Ibuki Kido, Machico, Teresa, Mariko Okubo, and many others. HoriPro International is a wholly-owned subsidiary of HoriPro Group Holdings Inc.

ISARIBI (https://www.insribi.net/)
A production, promotion, and media content planning company which delivers Japanese-originated projects to the wider world.

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