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Japan Cuts Hollywood, one of the most necessary film festivals you’ll see all year (With Q&A)

It’s pretty hard to live in California, home to some of the most famous film studios, movie screening venues and film festivals on the planet, and not have some appreciation for great cinema. If you had to attend any film event, Japan Cuts Hollywood definitely made a case for itself as one of the most well-put-together, entertaining and fun. 

Japan Cuts Hollywood took place during November 1st-3rd 2019 and was held at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres in Hollywood. (Naturally.) It was brought to us by the Japanese America Society of Southern California and JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles (which was located in the same building.)

During its debut, the first movie they premiered on opening night was a coming of age tale called “Bento Harassment.” The film was produced and distributed by Pony Canyon

The saga, about a mother and daughter’s strained relationship, brought together (eventually) by the matriarch’s sadistic desire to make her child a well-detailed, intricate and sometimes disciplinary lunchbox every single day. Which annoys her daughter to almost no end.   

The story is extremely versatile and relatable to many audiences. It shares the struggles of being a teen reaching the beginnings of adulthood, an adult working through the results of her decisions with both her past, present and future, and a parent raising their young child will they overcome a devastating trauma together.  

The film is a must-see for anyone who has ever been a part of a family or struggled with making the right choice to grow up and move forward with life. (So, everyone. Essentially.) I would recommend this piece of cinema because of it’s extremely unique writing, charming cinematography, and superb acting as well.  

The festival even brought the star of the film Ryoko Shinohara and director Renpei Tsukamoto all the way from Japan for its West Coast premiere. 

There was a Q&A for the director and actress, held after the screening. They were asked about the movie, themselves and film in general. 

Q: What was your favorite scene from the movie?

Shinohara: My favorite scene is when we reveal the Saoko bento, it’s from the Ring. We did that and we made it and it took a lot of practice to make it so when it finally came out it worked out very well. 

Q: What was the most gratifying part of this film?

Tsukamoto: Basically, I wrote this keeping in mind that Shinohara was going to be the actress that would be playing out all of these scenes. That for me, to be able to have her in the film and all the scenes that we filmed with her, that was the most gratifying part for me. (And the zombie bento.)

Q: What is it about her that you love?

T: As you all notice, I’m sure, she is very beautiful. She’s also very funny, a very humorous actress. She’s really really funny, very entertaining to work with. 

Q:  We were talking before, and I wanted to let the audience know about the bento ability you had.

S: I actually really, really, really wanted to show you the character bento, but obviously it’s hard to bring it. We didn’t want it to rot, it’s not going to be healthy. We decided not to. If you look at the real thing it’s so detailed. Every piece of it is meticulously placed. It’s an art form. 

Q: What is it like for you to have a world premiere here in the middle of Hollywood at this historic place?

T: I’m very happy to be here and it’s an honor for me to be here. I was a big fan of Hollywood since I was a child, it’s very happy for me to be here and for my film to be shown here at this theatre in Hollywood. I was also surprised that they are showing the new Terminator next door. 

S: I’m grateful and honored. It’s a dream. I’ve never even thought of that this can happen, this movie that represents Japanese culture to be shown to the people of LA. Something that we didn’t even think of. I’m so flattered that I might end up drinking a little too much tonight. 

Q: Do you have a favorite American Film?

S: E.T. I loved E.T. when I was a little girl. It really illustrates human kindness and I really felt like I should carry it over into my adult life. 

Q: If you could make an American film who would you want to work with?

S: My personal favorite Hollywood actor, Brad Pitt. 

Q: Brad Pitt. 

Shelby has traveled through dozens of states across the country to research weebs in their natural habitat of anime conventions. She has worked over a decade in professional media, ranging from television to some of the biggest news websites in the world. She producers her own live stream talk show and invites her favorite content creators and media contributors from all over the globe.

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