Saturday, November 18, 2017

"Boys for Sale" in Japan

「売買ボーイズ」日本初上映は11月26日です。Tokyo AIDS Week のイベントの一企画として参加できることがとても嬉しいです。詳しくはこちら。
"Boys for Sale" (WEBSITE), which premiered in Germany earlier this year (STORY) and which received awards in LA (STORY) and South Africa (STORY) will FINALLY screen in Japan!  During the annual Tokyo AIDS Week event, "Boys for Sale" will screen followed by a panel discussion with Ko, one of the participants in the documentary, Iwahashi Kouta, head of akta (a community group devoted to HIV/ AIDS awareness and education), and me in my role as executive producer of the film.  The screening will take place in Tokyo on November 26.  Event details HERE.

On behalf of Itako, the director of the film and Adrian "Uchujin" Storey, the DOP/ producer, we are so grateful for this opportunity to screen for an audience in Japan at an event which is free, open to the public and dedicated to a topic so important that it was one of the original inspirations for us to make the film.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

"Boys" are going South, East and Down Under

This week, "Boys for Sale" will be screening in Mexico (in Tijuana AND Playa del Carmen), Ecuador and Romania!  Details are on the website for the film (HERE).

And this week, the Australian premier of "Boys for Sale", which will take place in February 2018, was also announced (screening information HERE).

Friday, October 27, 2017

"Boys for Sale" called "one of the standout documentaries of the year"

Following our North American Premier in Outfest in Los Angeles in July where the film was awarded (STORY), it was a huge honour to represent "Boys for Sale" at the East Coast Premier in  Outfest's sister festival, NewFest in NYC (INFO).

The screening was well-attended and as we were in the last screening block of the night, there was a lot of time for the post-screening Q&A during which the audience asked many great questions.

Ahead of the screening, it was awesome to be included in Time Out New York's "The best LGBT things to do in New York this week" and in Film Journal International's screening blog (READ).

Following the screening, two great reviews were published as well. The Diva Review called Boys for Sale "one of the standout documentaries of the year" (READ) while James Wegg Review said "First-time director-editor Itako has done the world a huge favour by thoughtfully and unabashedly chronicling the lives of the 'urisen'" and gave the film 4.5 stars (READ).

This week, "Boys for Sale" will be screening in Edmonton's Rainbow Visions Film Festival (Nov 4), Taichung's TIQFF 台灣國際酷兒影展 (Nov 4), Buenos Aires's Asterisco Festival Internacional de Cine LGBTIQ (Nov 5) and Kansas City's Kansas International Film Festival!  More information can be found on the SCREENINGS page of the film:

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

"Boys for Sale" awarded Best Documentary at African Premier!

As the executive producer of "Boys for Sale" (WEBSITE), I am so honoured the film received the award for Best Documentary at the African Premier in the 2017 Durban Gay and Lesbian Film Festival!

This month we have screenings in Atlanta, Taipei, Berlin and NYC (where I will be present at the screening on the 22nd) INFO.  I am so proud of our team, and I think this is a really awesome film!  But don't take my word for it- here's what they're saying about us:

Friday, October 13, 2017

9 more screenings annouced for "Boys for Sale"!

"Boys for Sale" (WEBSITE), the documentary I produced that premiered earlier this year in Germany (STORY) just announced another NINE screenings (!) in festivals around the world from Canada to Romania, including 4 festivals that will be screening the Spanish-subtitled version of the film. 

A full list of upcoming festivals can be found on the SCREENINGS page of the film's website (HERE).

This brings the total number of screenings in international film festivals so far to 22!

I am honoured to help represent the film in the upcoming East Coast Premier in NYC's NewFest (screening info HERE) on October 22.  Thank you for your support and hope to see some of you there!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

"Dying at Home" to be re-broadcast

***** UPDATE October 31, 2017 *****

"Dying at Home" is available to watch for free On Demand until November 13, 2017. LINK

***** END UPDATE *****

Last year, on January 28, I was extremely honoured to have my first documentary commissioned by NHK World broadcast around the world (STORY).  Meeting and documenting Dr. Konta, her amazing team of nurses, and her beautiful patients and their families, was a life-changing time for me.

The lessons that one of those patients, Mr. Hata, taught me about life, family and death, in just a few short months will continue to influence the work I will do in the remainder of my career.  I wrote about my friendship with Mr. Hata on my blog HERE and in this front page article for 2016 year-end Number One Shinbun, the magazine of the Foreign Corespondents' Club of Japan HERE.

I am extremely honoured that NHK World will be re-broadcasting for the second time "Dying at Home" on October 30.  Screening 4 times through the day on the NHK World Channel and (free) app, the times listed are for the timezone in which the website is accessed (HERE).

Thank you all of your support and for watching.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Noise and Boys in London

Several of the films that were screening in Camera Japan (STORY), went on to screen in London's Raindance Film Festival, including "Boys for Sale" and "Noise", so on Monday, I traveled with the "Noise" crew to London.  Our trip included such adventures as running for the plane, getting stopped at the border, one person losing a train ticket, with time for a few drinks along the way; and with two of the "Noise" members never having left Japan and none of them able to converse in English, I was really glad I could be there to help out!  Thinking about it, there's a film in there somewhere... 

Arriving safely in London, we checked in to the festival the next day (the 26th), where I also met up with Adrian "Uchujin" Storey, the DOP/ Producer of "Boys for Sale", whom I hadn't seen since he moved back to the UK from Tokyo last year.  It was wonderful to see him and have a proper catch up, ahead of attending the UK premier together.

This was my third time to attend Raindance; the first was in 2013 with my film "A2-B-C" (STORY) and the second was the following year with my film "-1287" (STORY).  And it was such an honour to be back, this time as a producer.

Described by Abigail Smith in the Raindance Film Festival catalogue as "a punch between the eyes... storytelling you daren't turn away from" (LISTING), our main screening on the the 28th was completely sold out by the Sunday before (the 24th).  The Q&A, led by Gay Times editor, William J Connolly (WEB), was awesome and offered so much context to the sold-out crowd- I am kicking myself for not having recorded it...

As a result of selling-out our main screening and demand for tickets, Raindance scheduled an additional screening of "Boys for Sale" for Saturday morning at 11:00.  It was an honour and a privilege to be able to present the film again, complete with a Q&A with Adrian and me.

In between screenings, it was wonderful to be able to see several close London-based friends as well as to watch many great films (my favourite-- as well as the most disturbing-- was "The Family I Had" INFO).

I then spent the weekend in North Wales with some dear family friends and visiting my mom's grave.  Although it was too short, it was a perfect end to this trip.  

I am now at Heathrow airport in London, getting ready to board the plane home to Tokyo...

Thank you also so very much for your support, thoughts, and encouragement.
Much Peace,
London, UK

Monday, September 25, 2017

Camera Japan, "Noisy" Rotterdam

Although I have had the honour of screening in Holland's Camera Japan Festival three times before (with "In the Grey Zone" in 2012, "A2-B-C" in 2013 and "-1287" in 2014), this year was the first time for me to have the additional honour of actually attending the festival.  Arriving on Thursday (Sept 21), the opening day of the festival, I stayed through the end of the festival on Sunday (Sept 24), experiencing wonderful films, food, and cultural events.

The screening of "Boys for Sale", for which I was the executive producer, was on Friday (22nd), the second day of the festival (INFO), and during the post-screening Q&A,  led by festival director Alex Oust, the audience asked really engaging questions.

 It was a wonderful time to meet old friends like Alex and to meet new ones as well.  Among the new ones, were the cast and crew of the film "Noise", a sharp, reflective feature based loosely around the Akihabara massacre (WEBSITE).

Several of the films that were screening in Camera Japan, went on to screen in London's Raindance Film Festival, including "Boys for Sale" and "Noise", so on Monday, I traveled with the "Noise" crew to London.  Our trip included such adventures as running for the plane, getting stopped at the border, one person losing a train ticket, with time for a few drinks along the way; and with two of the "Noise" members never having left Japan and none of them able to converse in English, I was really glad I could be there to help out!  Thinking about it, there's a film in there somewhere...

~~ to be continued ~~

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Another six Premiers announced for "Boys for Sale"

Following the announcement of six premiers of "Boys for Sale" last month (INFO), SIX MORE premiers of the film were announced today.  The newly announced screenings are listed below and the full list of screenings, along with details and links, can be found on the "Boys for Sale" screenings page (HERE).

As the producer of the film, I am honoured to help represent the film in two screenings in Europe next week: in Rotterdam's Camera Japan on September 22nd (INFO) and in London's Raindance on the 28th (INFO).  "Boys for Sale" will also be screening in Palm Spring's Cinema Diverse on September 22nd (INFO).

Southern Premier
2017 Out on Film (Atlanta, GA)
Screening Oct 3 at 17:30


Asia Premier
2017 InDPanda (Hong Kong)
Screening Oct 8 at 21:45

Taiwan Premier
2017 Taiwan Int Queer FF
Taipei Oct 20~, Taichung Oct 29~
Taipei: Oct 20 at 24:00 & 24th at 22:50
Taichung: Nov 5 at 16:40  

East Coast Premier
2017 NewFest Film Festival
Oct 19-24 (NYC)
Screening Oct 22 at 21:15

Northwest Premier
2017 Twist Queer FF
Oct 12-22 (Seattle)
Screening Oct 14 at 14:45

Berlin Premier
2017 Porn Film Festival
October 24-29 (Berlin)
Screening details TBA

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

SIX more Premiers announced for "Boys for Sale"

Following a packed house screening at the World Premier in Germany in May (STORY) and the North American Premier in LA's OUTFEST last month where "Boys for Sale" was awarded (STORY), as the executive producer of the film I am honoured to announce SIX more premiers in festivals around the world.  Upcoming screenings include the UK Premier in the 25th edition of London's prestigious Raindance Film Festival (INFO)!  I have had the honour of attending Raindance twice before, in 2013 with my film "A2-B-C" (STORY) and in 2015 with my film "-1287" (STORY).

To coincide with the upcoming screenings, the "Boys for Sale" website has been newly redesigned to include deleted scenes and links to articles that have been published about the film.  Information on the upcoming screenings, which are listed below, can be found there (WEBSITE).

African Premier
2017 Durban Gay and Lesbian FF
Aug 25- Sept 3 (South Africa)

Michigan Premier
2017 Trans Stellar FF
Sept 9 (Detroit, Michigan

UK Premier
2017 Raindance Film Festival
Sept 20- Oct 1 (London)

Dutch Premier
2017 Camera Japan
Sept 21-24 (Holland)

Palm Springs Premier
2017 Cinema Diverse
Sept 21-24 in Palm Springs, CA

Mexico Premier
Queer FF Playa del Carmen
Nov 13-18 (Mexico)

 Asia, Berlin and NYC Premier announcements coming soon!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Imperial Hospitality: The Wright Imperial (Part 1)

Last year, I was commissioned to make a series of three documentary videos for The Imperial Hotel, Tokyo.  Each episode, which was accompanied by a column I wrote, featured employees of the hotel speaking about their work caring for the hotel's guests.

Earlier this year, the commission was expanded to include a two-part piece about the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright's design of the second-generation of The Imperial Hotel.  Part one of this two-part peice was published today by the Imperial Hotel as part of their celebration and events surrounding the 150th anniversary of Wright's birth.

As always, my focus was on the employees of the Imperial: this time through the eyes of Ms. Koike and Mr. Ishihara both of whom worked in the building designed by Wright.  Ms. Koike and Mr. Ishihara have been working at the Imperial for a combined 107 years (!) and continue to serve guests there to this day!  A link to the column with embedded video is HERE, while a direct link to the video is below:

As part of this project, I also directed a 40-second commercial which I look forward to seeing popping up from time to time.  Part two of this piece about Wright's Imperial connection is scheduled to be published later this autumn.

I would like to give a special shout out to our amazing team, including our photography/ lighting department led by DOP Matsudaira Naoyuki and our coordinator/ producer Tanaka Sakae.  And while I composed the main theme music used throughout the entire campaign, it was brought alive by the talented musicians who arranged and played it.  The Main track, Jazz version and Wright version were led by arranger and pianist extraordinaire Onuki Yuichiro, with Tani Motoaki on bass, Adachi Hiroshi on drums and Aki Yoshihisa on violin.  The Japanese and big band versions were arranged and played by the awesome Komitetsu.

***** UPDATE August 2, 2017 *****

The 40-second commercial I directed for this campaign was just published:

***** End UPDATE *****

Links to the previous episodes I directed for the Imperial can be found below:

Imperial Hospitality (Part 1): Stories from The Imperial Floor (Nov 2016)

Imperial Hospitality (Part 2): Stories from The Imperial’s Bars and Lounge (Feb 2017)

Imperial Hospitality (Part 3): Story from The Imperial’s “Toko-an” Tea Ceremony Room (April 2017)

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

"Boys for Sale" awarded at Outfest!

As Outfest continued, we attended screenings of some amazing films (like the feature documentary "Quest" WEBSITE, one of the best documentaries I have ever seen, and the gorgeous fiction film "I Dreamed in Another Language" WEBSITE).  And in between the screenings, workshops and receptions, Co and I were interviewed about how "Boys for Sale" came to be and about the boys, Co among them, who were featured in the documentary.  On Friday, there was an interview by phone with Mel Magazine's Brian Smith followed by a studio interview with This Way Out Radio's Steve Pride.
That evening, I attended a screening of "‬The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin" (WEBSITE) directed by Jennifer M. Kroot at the gorgeous Theatre at Ace Hotel in downtown LA which was followed by an AMAZING q&a with the man himself! 

At the awards ceremony on Sunday morning, I was extremely honoured as the producer of "Boys for Sale" to accept the "Fox Inclusion Outfest Feature" award on behalf of the entire team! The award is new this year and is sponsored by Fox Inclusion, a division of 20th Century Fox, whose support of Outfest and of this award is part of their commitment to social impact, diversity and inclusion in media.

日曜の朝に行なわれた授賞式では、「売買ボーイズ」のプロデューサー、そしてチームの代表として、「Fox Inclusion Outfest Feature」賞を受賞することができ、大変光栄に思いました。この賞は、本年初めて設けられた賞となっており、本映画祭を支援されている、20世紀フォックス社の一部門であるフォックスインクルージョンより提供されました。またこの賞は、彼らのメディアにおける社会的影響、ダイバーシティとインクルージョン(多様性の受容と活用)に対する取り組みの一環として設けられたものとなっています。

L to R: w/ Co, Lucy Mukerjee-Brown, Outfest Director of Programming, & Moira Griffin, Fox Inclusion Executive Director
The next day, Co and I did our final interview for this trip via phone with Q Voice News' Phillip Zonkel from LAX on our way home to Tokyo.

In the past couple of days, we have received some wonderful feedback and several screener requests from other film festivals, and I look forward to sharing news of more upcoming screenings.  In the meantime, some of the interviews we sat for earlier in the week (STORY) have already been published, so here is a cross-section of "Boys for Sale" in the news (articles updated as published):
Teen Boys Are Selling Sex to Older Men in Shinjuku: A New Documentary Investigates (READ) by Annemarie Luck for Tokyo Weekender magazine July 2017 issue
Boys For Sale (2017) Film Review (READ) July 12, 2017 by Jennie Kermode for Eye For Film
Boys For Sale – Life as a male prostitute servicing gay men in Tokyo (READ)
July 16, 2017 by Tim Isaac

“Boys For Sale” Male Prostitutes in Tokyo (READ)
July 17, 2017 by Amos Lassen
The Straight Male Sex Workers of Japan Who Sell Their Services to Gay Men (READ)
July 19, 2017 by C. Brian Smith for Mel Magazine

Boys for Sale Explores Male Sex Workers in Tokyo (WATCH video)
July 18, 2017 by Ashley Jiang for the Advocate
Tokyo “Boys for Sale”: Straight Lads Need to Pay the Rent, Too (READ)
July 19, 2017 by Brandon Judell for Huffpost
My mind goes blank: Inside Tokyo’s gay-for-pay, all-male brothel (READ)
July 28, 2017 by David Grant for Queerty

Boys For Sale (READ)
July 29, 2017 by Queer Guru

Boys For Sale trailer follows Tokyo’s gay-for-pay sex workers (READ)
July 25, 2017 by Ifan Llewelyn for Gay Times

Documentary Goes Behind the Scenes in Tokyo’s Gay-for-Pay Male Brothel (READ)
July 28, 2017 by Luis Damian Veron for Towleroad

A Peek Into the Secret World of Japan’s Male Geishas and Sex Workers (READ)
July 28, 2017 by Daniel Villarreal for Unicorn Booty

「売り専」にフォーカスしたドキュメンタリー映画『売買ボーイズ』、海外で話題に(READ) August 1, 2017 by GENXY
OUTFEST Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival Announces 2017 Award Winners (READ)
July 16, 2017 by Clayton Davis for Award Circuit goes inside Outfest for its 35th year (READ)
July 18, 2017 By Iona Kirby for LA Goss