Project 2

Discover Beauty

Discover Beauty

With “Discover Beauty,” which highlights Japanese beauty as a theme, there will be an online "Discover Beauty Symposium" with focus on women's empowerment as a social issue, and a screening of the "Discover Beauty Program," a collection of short films depicting "Japanese beauty" from the perspective of a female director.

Discover Beauty Symposium

For this symposium, we have invited professional women in the film industry to discuss the role of women in film in the U.S and Japan. The discussion will also include the subject of "beauty," looking back through history at the Japanese women who contributed in establishing the Japanese culture of beauty and have been highly regarded abroad as well.
Moderator: Chuk Besher
Panelists (tentative): Chikako Suzuki, Ema Ryan Yamazaki, LiLiCo

Guests

  • Chikako Suzuki

    Chikako Suzuki (Art Director)

    After earning her MFA in Scene Design from Carnegie Mellon University, Chikako moved to Los Angeles to pursue her career as Art Director in Hollywood. Chikako is a member of The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and has worked on many acclaimed TV shows and movies for over fifteen years. She was nominated for the Art Directors Guild Awards for her work on hit TV series "Californication," "House of Lies," and "The Newsroom." She has received the Emmy Award for Outstanding Art Direction in 2014 with "House of Lies." Her recent projects include Marvel’s “WandaVision” on Disney +.
    Chikako has produced Japanese film festivals to introduce Japanese culture to people in the United States.

  • Ema Ryan Yamazaki

    Ema Ryan Yamazaki (Documentary Filmmaker)

    Raised in Osaka, Japan, by a Japanese mother and British father, Ema grew up navigating between Japanese and Western cultures.
    After graduating from New York University, she became the assistant to documentary mogul Sam Pollard. As an editor, her work has been shown on outlets such as HBO, PBS, CNN, and numerous festivals around the world. She also has directed TV documentaries for NHK and Al Jazeera English.
    In 2017, Ema’s first feature documentary, MONKEY BUSINESS: THE ADVENTURES OF CURIOUS GEORGE’S CREATORS was released worldwide by The Orchard, after raising over $186,000 on Kickstarter. It premiered at the LA Film Festival and won the Audience Award at the Nantucket Film Festival.
    In 2019, Ema’s second feature documentary about the phenomenon of high school baseball in Japan, KOSHIEN: JAPAN’S FIELD OF DREAMS, premiered at DOC NYC. In 2020, the film aired on ESPN, and was released theatrically in Japan.
    Ema edits her own work, and uses her unique storytelling perspective as an insider and outsider in Japan and in the US. She currently splits her base between Tokyo and New York.

  • LiLiCo

    LiLiCo (Movie Commentator)

    Born in Stockholm, Sweden in 1970. LiLiCo came to Japan at the age 18 and began her career as a “talent” in 1989. Her credits include as a movie commentator on TBS "King's Brunch," Fuji TV "Nonstop!”, FM radio station J-WAVE’s "ALL GOOD FRIDAY," among many others. In addition she is busy appearing at events, as a voice actor in narration and anime. She was awarded the Nail Queen Association Distinguished Service Award in 2011 and Best Jeanist by the Kapan Jeans Council in 2013. She is also very involved in fashion designing and producing bags and jewelry.

  • Chuk Besher

    Chuk Besher (Moderator)

    Born in Kobe, Japan, Besher is a Japanese citizen of Russian heritage―a son of stateless Russian refugee parents.
    Besher is the creator/producer of an award-winning documentary series―Future is MINE―featuring Japanese women in their journey of self-empowerment. Current film, Ainu My Voice, is being nominated by multiple international film festivals.
    Besher has a broad range of experience in communication and government?spanning careers in politics, marketing, broadcasting, and government relations. Most recently, Besher was in charge of communication planning for the Olympics and FIFA World Cup as well public affairs and sustainability at Coca-Cola Japan. Besher is a graduate of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs―where he received a graduate degree in East Asian Studies and Communication. Besher’s publications include books in Japanese, Japan and the World Seen from Columbia University, and Corporate Crisis Management. Besher is a columnist for Tokyo Headline. Besher currently works for Japan’s leading IT firm, GREE, and its subsidiary 3Minute Inc., where he is involved in its Media and Advertising business. Besher lives in Tokyo, with wife Yuki, and two sons Noah (8), and Luka (6).

Discover Beauty Program

Last year, the "Discover Beauty Program" selected short films that explored the “Beauty of Japan" as seen from the beauty of the world and held an online symposium on this theme. This year, we focus on women's enpowerment as a social issue and gathered films by female directors who play an active role in the film industry. Look forward to the short films depicting the “Beauty of Japan" from the perspective of female directors along with the Discover Beauty Symposium related to the above topics.

  • 祈り人

    People of Prayer

    Miyuki Matsuda and Taichi Saotome
    Japan / 29:00 / Dance Movie / 2021

    In ancient Japan, dolls were made as a token for people to bring happiness. The etymology of "inori" comes from “i” for breathing, and "nori" for life. In other words, prayer is about breathing and living. Breath that pumps the heart, to breathe, to struggle with oneself, and to proclaim your conduct to heaven. Beautiful dolls materialize from the repugnant side of human beings. This doll is both a symbol of God and of one's wishes. Dolls dance fervently in the beauty of nature in the four seasons, and through the life of flowers in the breeze, the life in water, the life in fire, and in payer, expresses the ancient Japanese people who dedicate themselves to traditional festivals.

    Hiroki Inoue

    Director

    Miyuki Matsuda

    Debuted in 1979 in the film "The Adventures of Kōsuke Kindaichi " directed by Nobuhiko Ōbayashi. She has appeared in TV drama "The Detective Story" (NTV - 1979), & "From the Northern Countr" (cx - 1981) among her work in film & TV. Her performance was highly praised in director Naomi kawase's "Still the Water," an official competitono selection at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. After working 4 years as art director, she published a book on the lifework of her actor husband, "The Complete Works of Yusaku Matsuda." She served as eidtor for the free paper "R" for 5 years. As photographer, she published a photo book titled "My Favorite Solitude Travels" & was the director of the gravure page for the magazine "GENROQ" for seven years. Recently as director, she filmed "Inorijin" (2021/ worldwide Vimeo release) starring Taichi Saotome. She has also recently started performing as a singer & live readings.

    Hiroki Inoue

    Director

    Taichi Saotome

    Born on September 24, 1991, Fukuoka Prefecture.
    Taichi has performed throughout Japan since he was 4-yrs-old as the second generation of the popular “light theater” troupe Gekidan Suzaku.
    In 2003, he appeared in Takeshi Kitano's film Zatoichi and became known as a "1 in a 100 years" genius “onnagata” actor playing roles of women.
    In 2019, as the 2nd head of the Gekidan Suzaku Troupe, held a revival performance. He produces, writes, choreographs, and directs for the stage. He remains busy producing and in December last year, he performed a “buyō geki” (traditional Japanese dance) at Nijō Castle, a World Heritage Site, at artKYOTO 2020. He is expanding his work under the banner, “Taichi Saotome Produce” and produced “Inorijin” for the Agency for Cultural Affairs. This year, the movie "The Blood of the Wolves II" will be released on August 20.

  • ウィール・オブ・フェイト~映画『無法松の一生』をめぐる数奇な運命~

    Wheels of Fate: The Story of the Rickshaw Man

    Ema Ryan Yamazaki
    USA Japan / 19:00 / Documentary / 2020

    An emotional journey into the fateful history of The Rickshaw Man, which despite being chopped down by two governments, remains an irreplaceable work of humanist cinema from Japan's darkest period. Narrated by Lily Franky

    Hiroki Inoue

    Director

    Ema Ryan Yamazaki

    Raised in Osaka, Japan, by a Japanese mother and British father, Ema grew up navigating between Japanese and Western cultures.
    After graduating from New York University, she became the assistant to documentary mogul Sam Pollard. As an editor, her work has been shown on outlets such as HBO, PBS, CNN, and numerous festivals around the world. She also has directed TV documentaries for NHK and Al Jazeera English.
    In 2017, Ema’s first feature documentary, MONKEY BUSINESS: THE ADVENTURES OF CURIOUS GEORGE’S CREATORS was released worldwide by The Orchard, after raising over $186,000 on Kickstarter. It premiered at the LA Film Festival and won the Audience Award at the Nantucket Film Festival.
    In 2019, Ema’s second feature documentary about the phenomenon of high school baseball in Japan, KOSHIEN: JAPAN’S FIELD OF DREAMS, premiered at DOC NYC. In 2020, the film aired on ESPN, and was released theatrically in Japan.
    Ema edits her own work, and uses her unique storytelling perspective as an insider and outsider in Japan and in the US. She currently splits her base between Tokyo and New York.

  • 七五郎沢の狐

    The Fox of Shichigorosawa

    Tune SUGIHARA
    Japan / 13:45 / Animation / 2014

    Higashiyama, the home of the foxes, has become an illegal dumping ground. This results in the decrease of small animals, which the mother fox relied on as prey to feed her children. The fox comes down from the mountains in search of food to feed her children, and comes upon a human village.

    This story is told in the Ainu language, which has been deemed a critically endangered language by UNESCO.

    Hiroki Inoue

    Director

    Tune SUGIHARA

    Tune SUGIHARA was born in Yokosuka, Japan in 1973. She is an award winning short filmmaker, animation director, scriptwriter and audio guide commentator for Kabuki theatre.
    She studied graphic design in High School, and Media Art in college. She then went on to become a CG designer in 1994. After working for Asia-Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO (ACCU) as a program officer for the cultural exchange programme, Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) for five years, she went back to the video production industry. Today, she is part of programs about Japanese Folktales, as a director and writer.

  • 津波そして桜

    The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossoms

    Lucy Walker
    USA / 39:00 / Documentary / 2011

    Survivors in the areas hardest hit by Japan's recent tsunami find the courage to revive and rebuild as cherry blossom season begins. This Academy Award-nominated short documentary explores the aftermath of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and the cultural significance of Japan's famous sakura, or cherry blossoms.

    Hiroki Inoue

    Director

    Lucy Walker

    Lucy Walker is an Emmy winning, two-time Oscar-nominated director renowned for creating riveting, character-driven nonfiction that delivers emotionally and narratively. Recognition includes nomination for seven Emmy (winning one), an Independent Spirit Award, a DGA Award, a PGA Award, and a Gotham Award. The Hollywood Reporter has called her “the new Errol Morris” and Variety has praised her unique ability to connect with audiences.