FUJII Michihito was born in 1986. After his graduation from Nihon University College of Art’s Department of Cinema, he started his own director’s collective that he named “BABEL LABEL” in 2010. His first commercial movie was “Oh! Father” (2014). After this, he consecutively released works such as “We Are” (2018), “Day and Night” (2019), “The Brightest Roof in the Universe” (2020), and “A Family” (2021). In addition to the recently released Netflix series “The Journalist” (2022), he has been active on many other projects set to screen in the near future. His movie “The Journalist” won and was nominated for six awards at the 43rd Japan Academy Film Prize, including The Best Picture, and many other film awards. This year, his film "The last 10 years" was released. FUJII is undoubtedly one of the most popular film directors in Japan today.
Model, actor, and ambassador for Chanel KOMATSU Nana, born in Tokyo on February 16, 1996, made her modeling debut in 2008. In recent years, she has appeared in a wide range of feature films, magazines, and commercials, including FUJII Michihito’s “The last 10 years” (2022) and a special movie commemorating the 100th anniversary of Shogakukan (2022). Starting in 2014, when she won the Newcomer of the Year Prize at the 38th Japan Academy Awards, she has been awarded numerous accolades. In 2021, she won the Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role at both the 44th Japan Academy Awards and the 30th Japanese Professional Movie Awards.
SAKAGUCHI Kentaro, born in Tokyo on July 11, 1991, made his acting debut in 2014. In addition to featuring in commercials for Tone Mobile Inc., S&B Foods, and Kirin Beer, he has appeared in numerous feature films and TV drama series, including “Signal: The Movie” (2021), “The last 10 years” (2022), “Hell Dogs” (2022), NHK’s “Okaeri Mone” [lit. Welcome Home Mone] (2021), TBS’s “Only Just Married” (2021), WOWOW’s “Hiru” (2022), CX’s “Guardian of the Market” (2022), and NHK’s “The 13 Lords of the Shogun” (2022). His outstanding performances on screen led to him winning the Newcomer of the Year Prize at the 40th Japan Academy Awards, the 41st Élan d'or Awards, and Osaka Cinema Festival.
SHUTOU Rin, affiliate of Japan’s first independent TV production company, TV Man Union, was born in Tokyo in 1995. She started making films while she was still a student in a film society connected to Waseda University. In 2016, she made a name for herself with her medium-length film “Let’s Sleep Together Again,” which was selected for the Film Fans Award and Special Jury Award at PIA Film Festival.
The release of “Unlock Your Heart” marks SHUTOU’s debut as a feature-length film director, screenplay writer, and editor. It screened internationally in Germany at the 2022 Nippon Connection Film Festival, bringing home the Nippon Visions Jury Award. Away from film, she is known for writing the screenplays for HIROKI Ryuichi’s TV drama series “Takeuchi Ryoma’s Respite” (2020) and JOJO Hideo’s “Nana Wants Some – Give Me a Bite” (2021).
SUGITA Hiromitsu, born in Mie Prefecture on Jan 22, 1968, is a renowned television and film producer. He joined TV Man Union in 1994, became a board member in 2004, and was appointed representative executive director in 2010. From 2020 to 2021, he produced TBS’s game show “Discovery of the World’s Mysteries,” MBS’s documentary series “Jonetsu Tairiku,” and numerous other films, sitcoms, documentaries, and information and entertainment shows. In 1992, he was selected by Japan’s Ministry of Education to produce a feature-length cultural film. In 1998, he won the History and Society TV & Film Silver Award at the 40th New York Festivals. Away from television, he has produced well-known films that have screened to great acclaim at various international film festivals. Most recently, he produced “Unlock Your Heart” (2021), “Prior Convictions” (2022), and “Seiyoku” [lit. Original Desire], which is set for release in 2023.
KANEKO Masakazu, born in Tokyo on January 24, 1978, studied for an undergraduate degree at Aoyama Gakuin University’s School of International Politics, Economics and Communication. After graduating, he enrolled in the Film School of Tokyo, where he studied under the Japanese filmmaker and screenwriter ZEZE Takahisa. In the years that followed, he made TV commercials, promotional videos for businesses, and six short films.
In 2016, KANEKO broke onto the international stage with his first feature-length film, “The Albino’s Trees.” In addition to screening at cinemas throughout Japan, the film was selected for the category of upcoming filmmakers at Beijing International Film Festival, won the triple crown—Best Feature Film, Best Director and Best Cinematography—at the historic Portuguese International Film Festival of Figueira da Foz, and brought home 20 other awards from festivals around the world.
In 2021, KANEKO’s second feature-length film, “Ring Wandering,” premiered at the 37th Warsaw International Film Festival, where it was selected for the Ecumenical Jury Award Special Mention. It screened for the first time in Japan at the 22nd TOKYO FILMeX, won the coveted Golden Peacock Award at the 52nd India International Film Festival in Goa, and won the Best Screenplay Award at the 43rd Durban International Film Festival in South Africa. It has also been shown at cinemas in Taiwan and in Japan where it screened for more than six months.
Concurrent with the release of “Ring Wandering,” KANEKO has continued to push forward with his next film “The Water Sprite.” His talent and determination resulted in selection for the Agency for Cultural Affairs' 2021 Japanese Film Overseas Development Enhancement Project. Joined by three other upcoming Japanese filmmakers, his work will feature at 72nd Berlin International Film Festival and European Film Market on the recommendation of UNIJAPAN.
Angeliki ANTONIOU, Greek film director, screenwriter, and producer, has a degree in architecture and is a graduate from the DFFB (German Film and Television Academy in Berlin). She has directed feature films and documentaries for the cinema and television, which have won awards in prestigious international festivals and have been released worldwide. Her independent film production company “Angeliki Antoniou Filmproduktion” is based in Berlin. Angeliki's critically acclaimed film “EDUART” 2007, participated in more than 50 film festivals (Moscow, Palm Springs, Montreal, San Francisco, Τhessaloniki, Göteborg, Cinemed, etc), received many awards, was selected by the EFA for the 2007 European Film Awards, and was Greece's submission for an Oscar Nomination for Best Foreign Film 2008. Angeliki is a member of the European Film Academy and of the Hellenic Film Academy. Her feature film "Green Sea" won the audience award at the Austrian Film Festival Kitzbühel 2020 (Int. Competition) and has been selected to participate in many prestigious int. film festivals: Hof IFF 2020, Thessaloniki IFF 2020, Rhode IIFF2021, Nashville FF 2021, Sydney FF2021, and more. Angeliki's documentary "The Unknown Athenians" premiered at the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival 2020 (Int. Competition) and won the Hellenic Film Academy Award 2021, for Best Documentary. Angeliki splits her time between life in Berlin and Athens. (Ref: www.angelikiantoniou.com)
KIM Jong-kwan, born in 1975, debuted as a director in 2004 with the short film “How to Operate a Polaroid Camera,” winning various accolades in Korea. He directed films including “Worst Woman" (2016), “The Table” (2016), “Josée, the Tiger and the Fish”(2020), and “Shades of the Heart” (2021).
KIM is currently working on various projects, including performances, exhibitions, publications, and music videos.
JOE, previously known as ONODERA Takeshi, is an actor, screenwriter, playwright, director, film director, and producer. His acting credits include the role of KITAYAMA Shuji in the drama "Hotel" and Captain Nakajima in "Ultraman Dyna."
JOE presides over the production company JOE Company and the theatrical company LAPITA☆SHIP, for which he writes and directs almost all of the productions. He has built a unique world of his own with his unique ideas, precise composition, and bold direction that has won him much acclaim.
JOE's directing debut came with "7ANA," a comedy film starring AKASAKA Akira from Hikaru Genji, which is being sequentially released. His second film "Ichiban Aitai Hito" [lit. The Number One Person I Want to Meet], set for release in 2023, starring KURANOO Narumi (AKB48), TAKASHIMA Reiko, NAKAMURA Tamao, and MIURA Koichi, focuses on the strange fate of a leukemia patient and donor.
JOE has also begun taking on challenges in new fields, such as writing novels and directing opera musicals. He is currently working on his first talk show "JOE NETSU BAR" which is available on Miyako TV and YouTube channel.
KURANOO Narumi (AKB48)
In April 2014, KURANOO Narumi passed the "AKB48 Team 8 Nationwide Simultaneous Audition" as a representative of Kumamoto Prefecture. She made her debut as a member of Team 8 at the “AKB48 Team 8 Project Presentation.” She made her debut as a member of Team 8 at the "PARTY is about to start" performance. On December 8, 2021, at the "AKB48 Theater 16th Anniversary Special Performance," her selection as captain of Team 4 was announced. She continues to be active not only as an idol but also in dramas and movies, and is actively working as an actress. She was selected to play the leading role for the first time in the movie "Ichiban Aitai Hito".
NAKAMURA Tamao made her acting debut in 1953 in OGIYAMA Teruo's film "Keiko and Yukie." She has served as a special tourism ambassador for Kyoto City since 2001 and was appointed "Honorary Tourism Ambassador of Kyoto" in 2011. Her cheerful character is popular among young people, and she has a wide range of male and female fans of all ages. She has appeared in TV shows, dramas, commercials, events, theater shows, and films. In recent years, she has also been active on Instagram and YouTube.
NAKAMURA has been selected for a number of major awards. She won the Elandor Award in 2000; the Kinuyo Tanaka Award at the 62nd Mainichi Film Concours in 2007; the Diamond Grand Prize at the 27th Japan Film Critics Awards in 2018 for her role in “Destiny: Kamakura Monogatari;” and the Distinguished Achievement Prize at the 36th Kyoto Prefecture Cultural Awards in 2018.
SATOU Junko started her career in the film industry in 1995 at Cine Quanon. In 2010, she moved to Star Sands Film Production and Distribution and immediately started work on her first production, YANG Yong-hi first fictional film, “Our Homeland” (2011). The film won numerous accolades in Japan, was selected as the Japanese entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards, and brought home the Berlin International Film Festival CICAE Award. She then went on to produce “The Wilderness” (2016), which starred SUDA Masaki, winning the Hochi Film Awards’ Best Film and Best Actor in a Leading Role, Japan Academy Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, and the Asian Film Award for Best Supporting Actor. Following this, she produced YOSHIDA Keisuke’s drama-romance “I Love Irene” (2018), which saw KINO Hana win Best Supporting Actress Award at the Philippine Academy Awards and was officially selected for the lineup at the Busan International Film Festival. Other noteworthy films she has produced include MARIKO Tetsuya’s “Miyamoto” (2019), OMORI Tatsushi’s “Mother” (2020), FUJII Michihito’s “A Family” (2021), YOSHIDA Keisuke’s “Intolerance” (2021), and FUJII Michihito’s Netflix series “The Journalist” (2021), which won an ACA New Comer Award at the Busan International Film Festival. In 2021, SATOU founded the video production company Mou Pro. Then, in 2022, she became an executive officer at the video production company Murmur.
Pablo CRUZ GUERRERO
Actor, writer and producer Pablo CRUZ GUERRERO was born in Mexico on February 2 1984. Since he was a little boy he has loved the world of cinema and acting. He has been part of different projects in theater, series, and feature films.
In 2012, Pablo met Miguel, captain of "The Ship" and asked for permission to write a story based on his life. The adaptation and script of the movie took him five years. Then, in 2017, he sought financing and finally in 2018 the recordings of the film began with a team of 400 people involved on this project. "The Ship" was screened in 2022 at more than 500 locations in Mexico and participated in five International Film Festivals.
SUMIMOTO Naoko, born in Hiroshima in 1989, specialized in printmaking at Tama Art University. After graduating, she developed her talents as an illustrator. An example of which can be seen in the illustrations and bindings produced for KANEKO Yu’s 2020 book “Introduction to World Cinema.” She is also known for her work on the online magazine ‘Filmground,’ which she not only oversees the running of but also actively contributes to. Her interests lie in writing essays and drawing illustrations that depict the moments when life and film interconnect. Her various talents, skills and interests combine to create a unique filmmaking style that is on full display in her feature-length film “Floating Borderline.”
Born on April 26, 1994 in Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture, KAWASHIMA Marino made her debut as an actor in “Floating Borderline” (2020). She was then introduced to KUROKAWA Yukinori by director SUMIMOTO Naoko and went on to star in his film “Garden Sandbox" (2022), Kinokoya’s first production, which featured in the International Film section of the 33rd Marseille International Film Festival. “Garden Sandbox" premiered in Marseille in July 2022 and is set to be shown at the PorePore Higashinakano Cinema in Tokyo in December. Living with her cats, Umi and Coco, Marino is pursuing a career as a freelance actor with a focus on films.
Born in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture in 1994, TAKIZAWA Yuki aspired to enter the music industry after graduating from university. However, the many twists and turns in life have taken him to a small island where he works in the restaurant business, enjoying the breeze as it drifts over from Yokohama. His favorite foods are the root vegetable called taros and sweetened red-bean paste tsubuan.
ISHIHARA Tomoko joined UNHCR in 2015 as a Junior Professional Officer (JPO). Initially posted at the UNHCR West Africa Branch in Senegal, she went on to serve in Syria, Greece and Kenya. While in Greece in 2015, she gained experience providing emergency assistance to the constant stream of refugees and migrants arriving at island of Lesbos through coordinated activities with the Greek government and partner NGOs. She currently serves as a legal officer in Ukraine, providing assistance to people internally displaced by the ongoing conflict.
Radio DJ, Emcee, and Writer. TAKEMURA Kiyoko has worked for various radio stations, including FM802, FM Yokohama, and FM-FUJI. She engages listeners with everything from hard news to light entertainment, staying on top of the latest from more than 200 concerts and film awards every year. Away from radio, she is active as an emcee, broadcast narrator, and writer. She is also a keen supporter of UNHCR activities for refugees, using her unique skillset to raise both funds and awareness. Her desire to help refugees through the medium of film and music has driven her to, among other things, personally visit a refugee camp in Jordan with the likes of Luna Sea, X Japan, and Sugizo.
Paula KEHOE, born in Melbourne and based in the west of Ireland in the Gaeltacht (Irish speaking area), is a director, screenwriter and producer. She has made TV series, creative documentaries and VR projects. Her most recent work, “An Diabhal Inti” (The Devil’s in Her), a six-part creative documentary series about the witch trials in Ireland, is currently streaming on TG4 and BBC Northern Ireland. She is also known for her film “Deargdhúil” (Anatomy of Passion) (2016), which was critically acclaimed in Ireland and screened all over the world, and a social documentary, “An Dubh ina Gheal” (Assimilation) (2014), that won the Radharc Award and a Prix Circom. (Ref: www.paulamkehoe.com)
Kaz MEIKI, a second generation hibakusha, was born and grew up in Hiroshima. He is an artist and is lucky to have the support of his wife and three sons. Kaz was a member of a small troupe in the countryside of Hiroshima and performed “The Inaka Shibai.” This is his second performance in an international film. He is honored to be part of this project.
Nata METLUKH was born in 1982 in Ukraine. She studied classical animation at Vancouver Film School, and received the Master of Arts degree at Estonian Academy of Arts, where she studied film direction under the Priit Parn supervision.
Now she is based in San Francisco, working on commercial and personal projects, focusing on making gifs and animated short films. She creates visually bold, character driven works in a digitally hand-drawn technique. Her stories are based on absurdity and defamiliarization of common things. Nata’s films have been recognized by major animation festivals and received a number of awards.
Mahboobeh KALAEE (1992, Iran) graduated from the Tehran College of Fine Arts with a BA in Industrial Design (2015). She studied for an MA in Animation Directing at Tehran University of Art (Faculty of Cinema & Theater) (2020). She is a 2D animator, author, illustrator, graphic designer, and director of experimental and short animations.
Mahboobeh's first professional film’s success motivated her to devote herself full-time to her special mix media technique, as well as to study the form and narrative structure of experimental films. Her favorite forms are studies on real-world images as an animation material that led to essays films and creative animated documentaries. Her goal is to create a world which stands in the blurry line between the real and the imaginary.
MIYAZAKI Shizuka lives and works in Hiroshima City. She graduated from the Graduate School of Film and New Media, Tokyo University of the Arts, majoring in animation. She is currently an Associate Professor at Hijiyama Junior College. He work "Kidomodoki" (2013) was filmed using the animation technique pixilation and has been screened at Fantoche International Animation Film Festival (2020) and other festivals. She is a member of Japan Animation Association.
MORII Yusuke was born in Hyogo Prefecture in 1985. He studied for a degree in Directing, Acting, and Documentary at the Japan Academy of the Moving Images (currently Japan Institute of the Moving Image). After graduating, he took his first steps in the film industry under the watchful eye of former film school lecturer Director NAGASAKI Shunichi on the film “The Witch of the West is Dead” (2008). In the years that followed, he worked under various leading directors, including OMORI Tatsushi.This film, “Amiko” marks his debut as a film director.
OSAWA Kana (Amiko)
Born in Tokyo on June 16, 2011, Kana made her acting debut in this film. Despite having no acting experience, she was selected for the lead role of Amiko at the audition.
OKUMURA Tensei (Kota)
Born in Fukuoka on March 13, 2008, Tensei is the second of three children. He is a third-year junior high school student and active member of his school’s basketball club. Tensei appeared in the film "We Are Little Zombies" (2019) and the commercial "Glico Cafe Ole". He is in charge of percussion in the band "Bogey Kazoku" and tours all over the country every year. He was selected for the role of Kota at the audition.
OZEKI Yuto (Nori)
Yuto was born on April 5, 2009 in Hiroshima City. He was selected for the role of Nori at the audition.
KITTAKA Mimaki (Bozu Atama)
Mimaki was born on June 1, 2009 in Hiroshima City. He was selected for the role of Bozu Atama at the audition.
MIYAGAWA Hiroyuki, born in Hiroshima, entered the world of video production while he was still a student. From 2004, he started directing TV commercials, winning a Bronze ACC Tokyo Creativity Award, a One Show Merit Award, and a Japan Tourism Agency Director General Award. In 2015, his short film “A no Natsu, Yasashii Kaze” [lit. The Light Breeze that Summer] was selected for accolades at Short Shorts Film Festival & ASIA and a Grand Prize at the JIM×JIM Awards. In 2018, MIYAGAWA directed his second film, a medium-length named “Terrolun and Lunlun.” Starting with Hiroshima International Film Festival, it not only screened but also brought home numerous awards from festivals throughout Japan and abroad, including: Nakanoshima Film Festival (Grand Prize); Ehime International Film Festival (Best Screenplay); Fuji-lakeside Festival (Fighting-spirit Award); and Poppy Jasper International Film Festival (Best Feature Film & Director’s Circle Award). It can still be seen at cinemas throughout Japan. "Trapped Balloon" is the first feature film directed by MIYAGAWA Hiroyuki.
HIGASHIDE Masahiro, protagonist in MIYAGAWA Hiroyuki’s “Trapped Balloon” (2022), started his career in the entertainment industry as a model. In 2012, he made his acting debut in the film “The Kirishima Thing'’. From that point on, he has appeared in numerous blockbuster films. He currently works as a freelance independent actor.
Born in 1960, KATABUCHI Sunao, renowned director of numerous animated films, is a senior researcher and emeritus professor at Nihon University College of Art. He started his career in film while studying at university 41 years ago, writing the screenplay for the animated TV series “Sherlock Hound.” From there, he went on to direct numerous animations, including the animated TV series “Lassie” (1996) and “Black Lagoon” (2006), and the feature-length animated films “Princess Arete” (2001), “Mai Mai Miracle” (2009), “In this Corner of the World” (2016), and “In this Corner (and Other Corners) of the World” (2019). His latest project explores the lives of people 1000 years ago in an age when plague was rampant.