Campaign Week 5: Half Full or Empty?

We’re now at the midway point and an anonymous donor has pushed us 33% closer to our campaign goal. We could not do this without your support!

Glass
Is it half full or half empty? Or is it vodka?

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Location, location, location!

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Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 7.45.45 PMLocation location location…

When you shoot a film, a television show, or even a photograph, your location really does have an impact on your logistics, crew, and content. You wouldn’t make Lawrence of Arabia in Iceland or The Jungle Book in New York. You could, but it would be weird.

Lately, a lot less production actually takes place in Hollywood than it used to. Other cities, states, and even countries are giving production companies major incentives to have them come in and make a film or television show in their area.

Part of the reason Hollywood became a major hub for film and television production was because of the constant sunny weather AND because almost every type of climate imaginable is just a few hours drive away. From desert to forest to beach to mountains, California has it all. However, California still seems to lack competitive incentives for producers to stay…

But I don’t want to talk about that.

Set
There’s no film without a place to shoot it!

Outside of production, what’s amazing about traveling is how it impacts us as human beings. Well, I don’t want to speak for you but it has had a great impact on me.

I spent the first eight years of my life living the military family lifestyle. I was born over seas and we moved several times before my father decided to retire.

Because we moved around, I learned that the world is indeed a very large place and, more importantly, that I want to see and experience as much of it as I can. Sure, any one can open a book or turn on a television to get an idea of what any place is like but it will never compare to actually being there, good or bad.

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 7.26.24 PMAfter graduating from high school, the first city I lived in on my own (for college) was Boston, Massachusetts. Moving from Baltimore, Maryland to Boston was… educational. I learned a lot about myself and the values I truly hold dear for how I want to live my life. That’s not because Boston is a great mecca that people should make a spiritual pilgrimage to, that’s ridiculous. Have you been to Boston? It was simply the first place I lived without the sheltering protection of my parents. It was the first time I could look at myself as an adult. Most of us spend the first eighteen years of our life in “training.” Once you’re out in the world, that training is put to the test morally, financially, and socially on a constant basis. For me, a lot of values stuck while others morphed and some were completely dropped.

 

I lived in Boston for two years before transferring south to go to film school. I would never choose to live in Boston again (my wallet couldn’t take it) but I know living there continued to shape who I am today. I’d love to return for a visit someday.

There’s no place like Boston and I can always point out a New Englander or “Mass-hole” anywhere. Some of my good friends are from this region and this city. Some might find the Boston or New England mentality off putting. Since moving to Los Angeles, I sometimes find it refreshing.

Traveling (even city to city) really does broaden the mind and strengthen the soul. Do it when you can, as often as you can. You’ll learn so much about the world and yourself.

Our film, American Hikikomori, speaks more to the pitfalls of traveling. This story is about a young man who can’t seem to cope with his new surroundings so; instead, he removes himself from it completely. He hides from everything. Researchers have concluded that Hikikomori exist partly because parents refuse to intervene in a direct or meaningful way.

To me, that sounds like bad training.

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Tolerance and patience…

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You can read the article she shared here.

American Hikikomori: Naoyuki Ikeda

First and foremost we’d like to thank Vanessa Smith, Tony Shaff, Kyoka Shiraiwa, and Jessica Everleth for contributing to our INDIEGOGO campaign! We could not do this without your support.

Naoyuki Ikeda, Isamu’s Father

Naoyuki Ikeda is a Japanese film actor and producer. Born and raised in Nagoya, Japan, Naoyuki graduated from Tsuru University in 1992. After spending 13 years teaching English in Japan, Naoyuki decided to move to LA to be a Hollywood film actor. He has been studying the Meisner Technique at Playhouse West since 2010. Past theatre roles include “Musical Gonza? Bokyono-Uta?”, “Shioawaseno Hakarikata”, and “Burai”. Past film credits include “Blue Dream”, “The Bitch That Cried Wolf”. Upcoming films include “Satanica”, “Hunter”, and “Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance”.

For 日本語 click here.

For more information or questions, email us at:

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American Hikikomori: The Characters

First and foremost we’d like to thank Vanessa Smith, Tony Shaff, Kyoka Shiraiwa, and Jessica Everleth for contributing to our INDIEGOGO campaign! We could not do this without your support.

Isamu-Fujihara
Isamu Fujihara (played by Yuto Serata)

American Hikikomori is a film about loneliness and self induced isolation. Overwhelming pressures to succeed, feelings of rejection or abandonment, and even a great sense of failure can drive one to loneliness or isolation. In a sense, all three of the major characters are coping with a type of loneliness and isolation in their own way. American Hikikomori is also a film about the dissolution of a family as they each choose to isolate themselves from each other.

Isamu's-Father
Isamu’s Father (played by Naoyuki Ikeda)

In Japan, Isamu Fujihara, our protagonist, could be considered a typical teenager. Not necessarily a super popular student but an “A” student with friends and great potential for a prosperous future. However, once his parents’ marriage falls apart, Isamu’s world is turned upside down. After a bitter divorce, his father is granted custody of Isamu and takes him to the U.S. to finish school. Because of a language barrier, overall social rejection, and growing contempt for his father, Isamu shuts down and secludes himself to his room.

Isamu's-Grandmother
Isamu’s Grandmother (played by Akiko Shima)

Isamu’s father is a traveling businessman who spent too much time on the road and not enough time looking after his family. A fresh divorcee after twenty years of marriage, his wife abandoned him and his teenage son. Unable to fully accept his failed marriage, he continues to hide behind his work leaving his teenage son, Isamu, displaced in a new country with his elderly mother. Isamu’s grandmother runs the household while his father is away but she pampers Isamu too much. An elderly widow, also in a foreign country, she tries to support Isamu’s father as he tries to further his career and pick up the pieces of his failed marriage.

For more information on our cast, simply follow the link to our website. You can help us finish our film by joining our team!

For more information or questions, email us at:

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American Hikikomori: Yuto Serata

First and foremost we’d like to thank Vanessa Smith, Tony Shaff, Kyoka Shiraiwa, and Jessica Everleth for contributing to our INDIEGOGO campaign! We could not do this without your support.

 

Yuto Serata, Isamu Fujihara

Yuto Serata is a Japanese stage and film actor. Born and raised in Hiroshima, Japan, Yuto watched lots of Hollywood movies during his childhood and teenage years. Yuto always felt like he was in a dream or different world when he watched a film. As Yuto became more enamored with film and acting, he decided to move to America and did so in 2007. Yuto graduated from California State University, Long Beach, majored in theater arts. He continues to pursue his dream career in theater, film, web series, commercials and print ads.

For 日本語 click here.

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Nova Returns!

First and foremost we’d like to thank Vanessa Smith, Tony Shaff, Kyoka Shiraiwa, and Jessica Everleth for contributing to our INDIEGOGO campaign! We could not do this without your support.

Okay Nova didn’t really go anywhere but if you’ve been following us since the beginning, you might remember she was our first casting selection. Nova is also a true testament to why animal rescue shelters are important.

“Dog” in Japanese is いぬ or 犬 both pronounced, “e-new.”

Just so you don’t embarrass yourself, the Japanese do not eat dog. You’re thinking of a different Asian country.

NLB03_DSC0597
A pic of Ms. Nova.

On a side note (historically) the Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese hate each other so to confuse one with the other is considered a great insult to a true patriot. Why is there animosity between each culture? Simple, centuries of war. The rise of modern globalization and the end of the Cold War has calmed the storm for the most part but tension still remains.

Nova Pic
Ms. Nova
Our star, Nova, and Nova's mom
Our star, Nova, and Nova’s mom

In Japanese mythology, the God of Thunder, Raijin has a dog of thunder, Raiju.

“Raijū (雷獣,”thunder animal” or “thunder beast”) is a legendary creature from Japanese mythology. Its body is composed of lightning and may be in the shape of a cat, fox, weasel, or wolf. The form of a white and blue wolf (or even a wolf wrapped in lightning) is also common. It may also fly about as a ball of lightning (in fact, the creature may be an attempt to explain the phenomenon of lightning). Its cry sounds like thunder.

Raiju is the companion of Raijin, the Shinto god of lightning. While the beast is generally calm and harmless, during thunderstorms, it becomes agitated and leaps about in trees, fields, and even buildings (trees that have been struck by lightning are said to have been scratched by Raiju’s claws).

Another of Raiju’s peculiar behaviors is sleeping in human navels. This prompts Raiden to shoot lightning arrows at Raiju to wake the creature up, and thus harms the person in whose belly the demon is resting. Superstitious people therefore often sleep on their stomachs during bad weather, but other legends say that Raiju will only hide in the navels of people who sleep outdoors.” – Wikipedia

I guess man’s kinship with canines spans numerous cultures over thousands of years and dozens of deities.

Who knew?

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