WINNER: Best Supporting Actress

Akiko Shima won Best Supporting Actress for her role in our film American Hikikomori at the 4th Annual Asians on Film Festival !

2016AOFF Awards

2016AOFF Awards01
Actor Naoyuki Ikeda, Actress Akiko Shima, Producer Kana Watanabe, Director Landis Stokes

From the Asians on Film Festival website:

Asians on Film started as something small in 2010 as a way to promote Asian American minorities in Hollywood and break down stereotypes and create more representation in film and TV.

As the audience grew, so did AOF. Before long, we expanded into providing free services in support of talent and events that matched our mission:

Asians on Film is devoted to arts & entertainment with a primary focus in providing recognition to the talent of Asian/Pacific Islanders who are minorities in the film industry either as talents, filmmakers and/or those who work in other aspects of filmmaking.

In 2012, AOF started a short film festival in Los Angeles designed differently from all other festivals and with judges actually kept from the public to ensure as much fairness as possible in the process. Programming was done based on weighted average of the judges. All of this was due to the under-representation of Asian Americans at film festivals, and as a short film festival, specifically to focus attention on new and emerging talent.

The festival now in it’s fourth year has grown dramatically with over 300 submissions last year and 17 festival awards. The festival has also expanded to include special screenings of “Best of Fest” throughout the year in other cities with a goal of having screenings in Asia and Europe in 2016.

Post Screening Q&A. Watch it here
Akiko Shima accepting her Best Supporting Actress Award

ありがとうございました to AOFF for your hospitality and for the opportunity to showcase our film in your wonderful festival. We always felt welcomed and absolutely loved the congenial atmosphere.

Actor Naoyuki Ikeda, Producer Kana Watanabe, Director Landis Stokes, Composer Karin Okada

We are very proud and honored by Akiko Shima’s Best Supporting Actress win as well as Naoyuki Ikeda’s Best Supporting Actor nomination.

Actress Akiko Shima, Actor Yuto Serata, Producer Kana Watanabe, Director Landis Stokes, Actor Naoyuki Ikeda

Photos courtesy of Mike Barnum, Naoyuki Ikeda and Steve Lam Photo
Instagram: SteveLamPhoto


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Director Bethany Rooney

Bethany_RooneyKnowing I will only make my own mistakes as I continue to grow as a filmmaker, I try to absorb as much as I can from anyone willing to share their experiences.

From her website,

In a field where longevity is rare, the long-term success of Bethany Rooney’s career has defied the odds of Hollywood. Rooney has been at the helm for over two hundred episodes of prime time television for over thirty years, including many critically acclaimed series such as Desperate Housewives, Ally McBeal andBrothers & Sisters, and the American long-running classics NCIS and Criminal Minds.

Her reputation as an actor’s director who leads with gentle command has made her part of an elite group of television industry leaders. She serves as the co-chair of the DGA’s Diversity Committee, as well as the Women’s Steering Committee, and shares her knowledge of the craft by teaching the intensive Warner Brothers Directing Workshop. Her book (co-authored with Mary Lou Belli) Directors Tell the Story: Master the Craft of Television and Film Directingis being utilized at multiple studio and network directing programs, and in directing classes on many university campuses. The second edition of the book will be released in June 2016.

I saw this interview and thought I should share it.

After seeing the interview I read a couple of post on her website. This one stood out:

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As well as this one:

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As a freelancer, this gives me comfort. I’m comforted in knowing someone else thinks this way.

Now if I could only surround myself with more people like this…

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YouTuber Doc: Black In Japan

One of our friends (thx Misty!!) told us about this great documentary, Black In Japan, by YouTubers Rachel & Jun.

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I personally loved it and think it’s worth a watch if you have any questions about visiting or living in the land of the rising son. Great perspectives and open minds. (Especially how African-Americans look at each other.) I love chill people and want to be friends with everyone they interviewed. No one sugar-coats their experience but they also don’t come across as being bitter, either.

I take nothing for granted with the relationship I have with my wife AND how her family has accepted me. Respect is a two-way street we constantly need to be mindful of when traveling the world and experiencing other people.

Personally, I can vouch for the staring when you’re in the country side or smaller towns. My wife has always been the first person to remind me how most places have very low interaction with foreigners, if any. So I chalk it up to curiosity and have won some of my own starring contests. Lol. But I’ve mentioned some of this before.

Overall my experiences (when we visit) have been great and I agree that it will always vary from person to person. There have been some awkward and not so great moments here and there but nothing that keeps us from going to see our people. I think (as with most places in the world) if you keep an open mind and try to stay around positive people / energy, you’ll have a great time.

Great video!!

Also check out their brilliant video about Cultural Appropriation!

#RealTalk #OpenUrMind

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American Hikikomori is in FilmFest52!

Great news, east coasters!! I am proud to announce, “American Hikikomori has been selected to screen at FilmFest52 at The Bethel Cinema in Bethel, CT at 7:00pm on Wednesday, October 7th.” Please go check it out if you’re in town or close by.


We are honored and grateful.

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American Hikikomori @ Japan Film Festival Los Angeles (JFFLA)


American Hikikomori won 1st prize (or audience choice) for the submissions screenings at JFFLA!! We are grateful for the opportunity to tell our story and meet other filmmakers.


A very big, “ありがとうございました!” to the Japan Film Festival Los Angeles for showcasing our film.


I’d also like thank all of our friends who came out to support us at the screening! I am honored and grateful for your support. It really means a lot.

In the meantime, stay tuned for more updates on future festival screenings and progress on our next film!

“Tunnel of Love” director Akiyoshi Imazeki with “American Hikikomori” Producer Kana Watanabe, Director Landis Stokes, and Actress Akiko Shima

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The Secret IS… There is NO Secret

It has been about a month since I’ve checked in here on WordPress but we’ve been somewhat busy in life and over on Twitter and Facebook.

We’re still submitting our film to festivals and have yet to hear back on a few we’re really eager to enter. In the meantime, I’m also trying to look more venues to screen our film.

During my internet search I came across this article, “How I Raised $150,000 on Kickstarter: The Secret is There is NO ‘Secret’.” It’s a good, honest read.

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Keep on, keepin’ on…

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The Best Shorts Competition

American Hikikomori recently won an “Award of Merit” in the Best Shorts Competition!

We are honored by this juried award and are absolutely grateful for the opportunity to share our story.


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