Director/producers Junko Kajino and Ed M. Koziarski were developing a narrative film based on Junko’s childhood on a cattle ranch in Nagano, central Japan, when the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and meltdown struck. We quickly shifted our focus to a nonfiction project addressing the nuclear disaster. We kept our attention on Japanese farmers, finding inspiration in Fukushima organic farmers’ commitment to revive and continue cultivating land that others declared hopelessly contaminated.
We 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, First Breath screened theatrically, and at schools, community groups and festivals across the U.S., Japan and in India.
Our 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 Film Festival and played the Hawaii and Chicago international film festivals, among others.
Koziarski was line producer and Kajino was production manager of Malik Bader’s fake crime documentary Street Thief, a Tribeca Film Festival selection released by A&E Indie, and of Sonny Mallhi’s forthcoming ghost story Anguish. Koziarski was 1st assistant director of Wendy Jo Carlton’s lesbian romantic drama Hannah Free starring Sharon Gless, closing night film of the Frameline Film Festival, distributed by Wolfe Releasing.