Kawase announced production on next feature

TOKYO — Naomi Kawase, surprise winner of this year’s Cannes Grand Prix for her drama “The Mourning Forest,” has announced production of her next pic, whose working title is “Sekaiju ga watashi o suki dattara li no ni” (If Only the Whole World Loved Me).

The film stars Kyoko Hasegawa as a young Japanese woman who quits her temp job and leaves her lover to find a new life in Thailand. Shooting in Thailand will start July 1.

Speaking at a press conference in her native Nara on Thursday, Kawase said since she had only seen Hasegawa act on TV, “I’m still not able to evaluate her acting properly” but added she intends to “find out exactly what (Hasegawa) is made of” as they prep for the Thai shoot.  

Originally skedded for release in 10 arthouses scattered around the country, “The Mourning Forest,” boosted by its Cannes win, will make its Japan bow on 28 screens on June 23. Kawase’s own company, Kumie, is distribbing.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more