What do you want more than anything?

 

About four years ago, in the mid summer of 2012, I set out to make a short film about Hikikomori. I set up this blog in hopes of connecting to other filmmakers and people who like the same things I like.

I also set out to tell a story about something I had never heard of, growing up in America, but very quickly came to empathize with. Despite its Japanese origins, I feel like I understand why some people become Hikikomori.

It just spoke to me and I had to tell this story.

Is happiness (with your life and dreams) supposed to be about the destination or the journey?

At this point in my life, it’s both and it’s a fleeting happiness. I think this is the blessing and the curse of making movies or telling stories. Once it’s done. You’re back at zero but you welcome it because the process won’t be the same experience the next time around. The people you will meet along the way will inspire you as well as challenge you. The art form completely has you at it’s mercy but there’s no other way you’d rather spend your time.

This film took me longer than I thought, cost more than I thought, and I still manage to meet people who are willing to help me. It’s very humbling and truly amazing.

 

What you do I want more than anything?

I guess I want to keep doing this.

I’m already writing and researching the next film.

What you do you want more than anything?

 

For more information or questions, email us at:

info@americanhikikomori.com

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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 !

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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.

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Post Screening Q&A. Watch it here
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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.

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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.

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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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For more information or questions, email us at:

info@americanhikikomori.com

Or visit our social media links:

For your consideration…

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Actress, Akiko Shima has been nominated for “Best Supporting Actress” & Actor, Naoyuki Ikeda has been nominated for “Best Supporting Actor” both for our film, American Hikikomori !

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From our website – Akiko Shima is a Japanese actress who is best known for “Letters from Iwo Jima” directed by Clint Eastwood.  She was born in Tokyo, Japan.  She has loved and studied acting since she was eight years old. After graduating from high school, Akiko began her professional career as a radio personality performing for the popular program, “The Punch, Punch, Punch” (2nd generation) of Nippon Hoso (Nippon Broadcasting.)  When she came to Los Angeles, she continued to work for Japanese Radio and TV stations including UTB as a broadcaster for over 20 years, and also worked for an English business channel program, Theater and voice-overs.  After she joined various actors’ unions, she has enjoyed working as an actress in America.  Her work in film includes “Letters from Iwo Jima”, “The 8th Samurai”, “Ghost Month”, “Usagi-san”, and “Masterless.”  She has also worked in TV commercials and numerous voice-overs.  Akiko is very grateful to have been able to work with the wonderful and talented director, cast, and crew of “American

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From our website, 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”.

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About the Festival:

From the Japanese American National Museum: “The Asians on Film Festival grew out of the website asiansonfilm.com, now a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting under-recognized Asians and Asian Americans working in the film industry.

The annual festival, hosted by JANM, showcases nearly 100 of the best short films submitted to the website over the past year.”

Our film is playing Friday, March 11th @ 10PM. Tickets are on sale here.

Sunday, March 13th @10:30PM is the Awards Ceremony!

After the awards ceremony AOF is hosting an After Party at:

FAR BAR
347 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 617-9990
www.farbarla.com

For more information or questions, email us at:

info@americanhikikomori.com

Or visit our social media links:

Ashinoko Lake – Hikone, Japan

A day trip we took back in December 2015.

From Wikipedia:

Lake Ashi (芦ノ湖 Ashi-no-ko?), also referred to as Hakone Lake or Ashinoko Lake, is a scenic lake in theHakone area of Kanagawa Prefecture in Honshū, Japan. It is a crater lake that lies along the southwest wall of thecaldera of Mount Hakone, a complex volcano that last erupted in 1170 CE at Owakudani. The lake is known for its views of Mt. Fuji, its numerous hot springs, historical sites, and ryokan. The lake is located on the Tokaido road, the main link between Kyoto and Tokyo. A number of pleasure boats and ferries traverse the lake, providing scenic views for tourists and passengers. Several of the boats are inspired by the design of sailing warships.

The name means “lake of reeds” in Japanese: 芦 (ashi) is “reed”, and 湖 (ko) is “lake”. The abundance of nature makes it popular with hikers. There are many trails with different levels of challenge.

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

For more information or questions, email us at:

info@americanhikikomori.com

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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.

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We are honored and grateful.

For more information or questions, email us at:

info@americanhikikomori.com

Or visit our social media links:

American Hikikomori @ Japan Film Festival Los Angeles (JFFLA)

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

For more information or questions, email us at:

info@americanhikikomori.com

Or visit our social media links: