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

Friday, July 14, 2017

Out on Film

I arrived in LA on Monday for Outfest (WEBSITE) where the North American premier of the feature documentary Boys for Sale (WEBSITE) on which I served as a producer was taking place.  Held at the Directors Guild of America, this year marks the 35th edition of Outfest, which boasts sponsors including HBO, DirectTV Now, and Showtime.  I traveled here with Co, one of the young men who were featured in the documentary.
The day after we arrived, we learned from Lucy Mukerjee-Brown, Outfest director of programming, that our screening, originally set to be held in Theatre 2 (with 155 seats) had been moved to Theatre 1 (600 seats) due to ticket sales!  That was both humbling and a bit daunting:  Theatre 1 is the place where Oscar nominees screen their films for the Academy...

"Boys for Sale" premiered last night (INFO), but from the morning we were busy with promotion and preparation.  First, we learned that a review had been published by Eye for Film's Jennie Kermode who wrote (FULL review HERE:
An intriguing piece of work that captures an underexplored side of modern Japan and provides sex workers with a rare chance to speak for themselves, this is a gem of a documentary, and well worth seeking out.
Then we had an interview with Gay Essential's (WEBSITE) hilarious correspondent Terrence Moss-Dujardin.

A fantastic, unexpected and fun time on the Cary Harrison show (WEBSITE).

An interview with The Advocate magazine (WEBSITE).
And of course our North American premier and great Q&A led by Outfest programmer Carlos Hatcher.

This was all followed by drinks in Directors Guild of America atrium with Terrence & our awesome publicist Rob Fleming Jr from Prodigy Public Relations after our screening!

This morning, we excitedly announced on the Facebook page (HERE) and Twitter account (HERE) for the film that we have confirmed upcoming screenings in The Durban Gay & Lesbian Film Festival (August 25- September 3 in Durban, South Africa) WEBSITE, Camera Japan Festival (September 21-24 in Rotterdam, Holland) WEBSITE and the Queer International Film Festival Playa del Carmen (November 13-18 in Quintana Roo, México) WEBSITE. Please Like and Follow the social media accounts for the film for up to date information

Thank you all so much for your support!