Joe Odagiri (Over the Fence, FOUJITA)
Recipient of the CUT ABOVE Award for Outstanding Performance in Film
After magnetic performances in television, award-winning actor Joe Odagiri made his breakout film performance in Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Bright Future (2002). Earning Newcomer of the Year at the Japan Academy Prize for Azumi (2003), he soon made a reputation for taking on challenging and unexpected roles in Seijun Suzuki’s Princess Raccoon (2005), Sang-il Lee’s Scrap Heaven (2005), and Sion Sono’s Hazard (2007), winning Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor at the Kinema Junpo Awards in 2006 and 2005. A major presence in Japanese film and TV, Odagiri has taken on many ambitious international productions such as Ki-Duk Kim’s Dream (2008), Zhuangzhuang Tian’s The Warrior and the Wolf (2009) and Junji Sakamoto’s upcoming Cuba co-production Ernesto (2017).


Konrad Aderer (Resistance at Tule Lake)
A filmmaker and journalist based in New York City, Aderer focuses his independent documentaries on resistance arising in immigrant communities targeted by “national security” detention and profiling. His documentary Enemy Alien (2011), on the fight to free a post-9/11 detainee, was honored with a Courage in Media Award from Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR). He has received grants from the Center for Asian American Media, New York State Council of the Arts, National Park Service and others.


Hanae Kan (Yamato (California), West North West)
Born in Mishima City, Shizuoka in 1990, 10-year-old Kan was selected for a role in Seijun Suzuki’s Pistol Opera (2001). Soon after, she starred in Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Nobody Knows (2004), which brought her international attention and exciting projects, including a leading role in SABU’s Dead Run (2005). Her performance in Ikki Katashima’s Pure Asia (2011) was honored in the Kinema Junpo Top Ten Awards.


Taro Maki (In This Corner of the World)
Taro Maki is a film producer and the president of GENCO INC. He studied at Waseda University School of Law, and after graduation, worked at film production company Tohokushinsha. There, he worked on many television and feature animation films. Some of his renowned  producing credits include Mamoru Oshii’s Mobile Police Patlabor: The Movie (1989), Satoshi Kon’s Millennium Actress (2001) and Tokyo Godfathers (2003), the Sword Art Online TV series (2012, 2014), Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale (2016) and Ryuhei Kitamura’s Downrange (2017). In 2016, he produced In This Corner of the World, which ranked 1st in the Kinema Junpo Awards.


Shingo Matsumura (Love and Goodbye and Hawaii)
Matsumura creates his own independent films while working in freelance production. He made Striking Out in Love (2013) as his graduation project at Waseda University, which was invited to the A Window on Asian Cinema Section of the 18th Busan International Film Festival, and won the SKIP CITY AWARD at the SKIP CITY INTERNATIONAL D-Cinema FESTIVAL in 2013. Love and Goodbye and Hawaii is his second feature film.

Daisuke Miyazaki (Yamato (California))
Daisuke Miyazaki began making films while studying at Waseda University. After working on Leos Carax’s Merde (2008) as an assistant production designer, he became an assistant director for filmmakers such as Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Kunitoshi Manda. His first feature film End of the Night (2011) traveled to numerous international film festivals and became a domestic box office hit. In 2014 he was selected for the Berlinale Talents program, where he met several filmmakers with whom he made the omnibus film Five to Nine (2015).

Yoshihiro Nakamura (MUMON: The Land of Stealth)
Nakamura began his career making 8mm films while studying at Seijo University in Tokyo and won a prize at the 1993 Pia Film Festival. He went on to work as an assistant director for prominent filmmakers such as Juzo Itami and Yoichi Sai and found success as the scriptwriter for Dark Water (2002) and writer/director of The Booth (2005). Since then, his films have been regularly invited to international film festivals, including Fish Story (2009), Golden Slumber (2010), The Snow White Murder Case (2015) and The Magnificent Nine (2016), all of which have screened at JAPAN CUTS.

Sahel Rosa (West North West)
Born in Iran, after she spent her early childhood at an orphanage, Rosa moved to Japan with her foster mother when she was 8 years old. She went to a special school for voiceover acting, and also graduated from a college for IT engineering. Now she is a popular TV personality in Japan, and in addition to starring in West North West has appeared in films such as Tokyo Island (2010), Pecoross’ Mother and Her Days (2013), Furiko (2014) and The Virgin Psychics (2015). Her dream is to build a new children’s foster home in Iran.

Megumi Sasaki (A Whale of a Tale)
Prior to becoming a filmmaker, Sasaki was an anchor, reporter and news director for NHK Television, Japan’s public broadcasting network. Her first feature-length documentary Herb & Dorothy (2008), about legendary New York art collectors Herb and Dorothy Vogel, won top honors at the Hamptons International Film Festival, Philadelphia Film Festival, SILVERDOCS and others. In 2013, she directed a follow-up documentary titled Herb & Dorothy 50X50, which had nationwide theatrical distribution in the U.S. and Japan. A Whale of a Tale is her third feature-length documentary.

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