Busan: Art-House Star Hirokazu? ?Kore-eda? ?Boards? ?'Ten? ?Years? ?Japan' as? ?Executive? ?Producer

Hirokazu Kore-eda - H 2013

Hirokazu Kore-eda - H 2013

The Cannes regular has handpicked the five young filmmakers who will co-direct the Japanese version of the hit Hong Kong dystopia anthology.

The Japan adaptation of Hong Kong's groundbreaking film anthology Ten Years now has some local art-house star power behind it. 

Japanese director and Cannes favorite Hirokazu Kore-eda has signed on to executive produce his country's local version of the hit dystopian film series, joining Thai auteur and Palme d'Or winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul, who is helming one of the segments of the omnibus project set in his nation.

Ten Years, the original speculative film collection set in Hong Kong, was composed of five shorts by young local directors, each exploring individual visions of how their home city might change by the year 2025. Several of the shorts touched on how the semi-autonomous city's freedoms and social conditions might change under encroaching mainland Chinese government control, sparking both controversy and critical commendation. But the indie project resonated with many segments of the Hong Kong audience, beating Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the box office of the local cinema where it premiered.

The film's producers, Ng Ka Leung and Andrew Choi, then struck upon the ingenious idea of adapting the concept to surrounding Asian countries, offering emerging regional filmmakers a vehicle to examine the directions in which their own societies are heading. Thus far, anthologies have been announced for Japan, Thailand and Taiwan. 

"The idea of carrying on the spirit of the original Hong Kong film by trying to envision Japan ten years from now was an intriguing one," Kore-eda said Monday in a statement at South Korea's Busan International Film Festival. "However, I'm a little too old to participate as a 'young director,' so I joined the production as a supporter."

Kore-eda, known internationally for his layered dramas Like Father, Like Son and After the Storm, among others, has been involved in the project for several months, handpicking the five young Japanese directors that will feature in the film together with producer Miyuki Takamatsu of Free Stone Productions, Eiko Mizuno-Gray and Jason Gray's Loaded Films and Miyuki Fukuma of Bun-Buku.

The Japanese filmmakers to be featured are Akiyo Fujimura, Chie Hayakawa, Yusuke Kinoshita, Megumi Tsuno and Kei Ishikawa.

According to the producers, the stories making up Ten Years Japan will explore "a future Japan plagued by pollution and aging; a society where morality and personal history are manipulated by technology and a nation overshadowed by the specter of war."

Said Leung and Choi: "We are honored to work with Japanese auteur Hirokazu Kore-eda. We have long-admired his nuanced and sophisticated work, and it is incredible to be able to come together for this Ten Years International project."

Ten Years Thailand and Ten Years Taiwan are both already in production.

Kore-eda added that he was personally looking forward to the opportunity to loosely collaborate with Apichatpong across the Ten Years International series.

"With Apichatpong Weerasethakul taking on directing duties for Ten Years Thailand, this will be a greatly valuable experience not only for myself, but for the young Japanese filmmakers working on this project," he said.