Junko Kajino and Ed M. Koziarski wrote, produced and directed the psychological drama feature film The First Breath of Tengan Rei. Erika Oda of Kore-Eda’s After Life stars as an Okinawan woman who kidnaps the teenage son of a U.S. Marine convicted of raping her when she was a girl. An IFP Independent Film Lab selection, Rei screened theatrically, at educational venues and festivals across the U.S., Japan and in India.
They’re developing the film and graphic novel Hand Head Heart, based on Junko’s experience growing up in a traditional extended family on a cattle farm in central Japan, and learning the sword fighting martial art kendo. Their short film Homesick Blues, starring pop singer Zoey (now Remah) as an Osaka girl running off to America to sing the blues, won the IFP/Chicago Flyover Zone Film Festival and played the Hawaii and Chicago international film festivals.
They’ve been co-producer, line producer, production manager, production designer and assistant director on films including Wendy Jo Carlton’s Hannah Free starring Sharon Gless, distributed by Wolfe Releasing; Malik Bader’s crime mockumentary Street Thief, a Tribeca Film Festival selection released by A&E Indie; Noel Olken’s Meditations on Trafficking; Brigid Maher’s Adrift in the Heartland; Anthony Collamati’s The Acedia Thing featuring Stana Katic (Castle); Scott Cozzolino’s Dead Letters, and Wojciech Lorenc’s pilot Windy Field.
A participant in Kartemquin Films‘ inaugural Diverse Voices in Docs program, Junko grew up on a cattle farm in Ina, Nagano, Japan. She studied film at Columbia College Chicago and Wright State University. A native Chicagoan, Ed studied communications at Antioch College. Ed writes about film, media and arts for Filmmaker Magazine, the Chicago Reader, Time Out Chicago, and Reel Chicago. They teach producing at Chicago Filmmakers.