Japan's Free Stone Picks Up Tokyo Fest Closer 'Hokusai,' Zero Pictures' Catalog

'Hokusai' Still - Publicity - H 2020
Courtesy of Tokyo Film Festival

'Hokusai'

The company also is handling sales on Shinagawa Hiroshi's drama 'Restart,' which makes its market at TIFFCOM.

Leading Japanese indie film sales outfit Free Stone Productions has boosted its lineup ahead of the TIFFCOM market through a partnership with Tokyo-based Zero Pictures. The company also is handling sales on the Tokyo International Film Festival's closing feature, Hokusai, Hajime Hashimoto's biopic of the great Japanese ukiyo-e painter and printmaker.

Free Stone, led by founder and Japanese sales veteran Miyuki Takematsu, will handle sales on all of Zero's titles going forward, including at the upcoming American Film Market.

Launched in 2001, Zero is a production company and talent agency co-founded by actor-director Okuda Eiji and filmmaker Ando Momoko. The company focussed on auteurist, indie projects. Past works include Ando's 0.5mm and Okuda's Out of the Wind and A Long Walk. Okuda was was in late-stage development on a new feature that was postponed in April by the coronavirus pandemic. He is said to be working towards a new start date imminently.

Leading Free Stone's TIFFCOM and AFM slate is the auspiciously titled Restart, Shinagawa Hiroshi's drama about a young singer-songwriter who gets unwittingly entangled with a married man in Tokyo and heads home to Hokkaido to find her way again. Fujimoto Keita's Just the Two of Us, also is making its market debut at TIFFCOM via Free Stone. The film is about a blind woman and wheelchair-bound man who find solace through a surprising connection.

Other titles in the company's slate include popular 2019 festival films, like Kurosawa Kiyoshi’s To the Ends of the Earth and Sabu's most recent release, Dancing Mary.

Japan's TIFFCOM market, which runs in tandem with the Tokyo International Film Festival, is taking place entirely online this year to accommodate international buyers and sellers unable to travel to Japan. The market runs Nov. 4-6.