L.A.-based indie distrib Cinema Epoch has picked up French docu “Young Yakuza,” a portrait of the Japanese underworld that screened out of competition in Cannes.
Directed by Jean-Pierre Limosin (“Novo,” “Tokyo Eyes”) and shot over an 18-month period, the documentary centers on two figures: 20-year-old Naoki, a new recruit of the Kumagai crime organization, and his boss.
Because cameras are usually banned in this world, the director had to establish a climate of trust with the clan he filmed.
He and the gang boss “agreed that I’d refrain from filming their illegal operations, as our point wasn’t to conduct a TV investigation but rather to make a film,” Limosin said.
Sundance Channel bought domestic TV rights, and Cinema Epoch is planning a January theatrical run.
Doc is produced by ITVS, Hengameh Panahi of Celluloid Dreams and Christian Baute.
Deal was negotiated by Cinema Epoch heads Gregory Hatanaka and Eunseon Ha and Alessandro Raja of Dreamachine.