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Japan’s Prenom H files for bankruptcy

Production delays on '1905' tips distrib over edge

TOKYO

Production difficulties on Japan-Hong Kong period actioner “1905,” which had been tipped for a major fest bow, has hastened the demise of its Japanese distrib Prenom H.

The ongoing dispute between Japan and China over the Senkaku Islands, which touched off massive protests in China last year, has stalled the pic’s shoot, which started in November. Star Tony Leung has reportedly bailed on the project, pushing back the release and putting a crimp on financing.

Starring Shota Matsuda and Atsuko Maeda, and helmed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, the pic was set to bow in Japan in October, with Prenom H and Shochiku co-distribbing.

Kurosawa has long been a fest regular, as well as a cult fave worldwide for his J-Horror pics. His latest chiller, the TV miniseries “Penance,” preemed at Venice last year, while his 2008 family drama “Tokyo Sonata” scooped the Un Certain Regard jury prize at Cannes.

The delay has tipped Prenom H, a mid-level Tokyo-based production and distribution company, into bankruptcy. The company, whose debt burden is $68.4 million according to the Teikoku Data Bank credit survey agency, began bankruptcy proceedings in Tokyo District Court on Feb. 20.

Launched in 1988, Prenom H has distribbed pics from Taiwan, China, Hong Kong and elsewhere, as well as the 2010 Japanese foodie pic “Spoon Opera.”

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