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Busan: Hirokazu Kore-eda Boards ‘Ten Years Japan’ Spinoff

Iconic Japanese auteur Hirokazu Kore-eda has come on board as executive producer of “Ten Years Japan,” a spinoff of 2015’s Hong Kong indie hit “Ten Years.”

The original “Ten Years” movie was a low-budget omnibus film in which five young directors envisaged how Hong Kong would have changed 10 years into the future. Three new spinoffs, in Japan, Taiwan and Thailand, will use similar principals to deliver a trio of collective features made by up-and-coming directors. All three features will be sold by Hong Kong’s Golden Scene company.

“The idea of carrying on the spirit of the original Hong Kong film by trying to envision Japan 10 years from now was an intriguing one,” said Kore-eda. “However, I’m a little too old to participate as a young director, so I joined the production as a supporter.” His participation was announced at an event at the Busan Film Festival.

“We never imagined that ’10 Years’ would have such an impact,” said executive producer Andrew Choi. “We want (the new films) to stimulate discussion about each country.” He revealed that a fourth derivative film, in South Korea, had been envisaged. But it had not got of the ground.

Thai director and producer, Aditya Assarat embraced the opportunity for political discussion presented by the project. “In Thailand we are in a state of limbo between military and democratically elected governments. We are stuck politically,” he said. “The Internet gives everybody a voice, but we are coming up against heavy handed pressure from the military.”

The Japanese film is produced by Miyuki Takamatsu’s Free Stone Prods., Eiko Mizuno-Gray and Jason Gray’s Loaded Films and Miyuki Fukuma of Bun-Buku. The directors are Akiyo Fujimura, Chie Hayakawa, Yusuke Kinoshita, Megumi Tsuno and Kei Ishikawa. Their stories explore a future Japan plagued by pollution and aging, a society where morality and personal history are manipulated by technology, and a nation overshadowed by the specter of war.

“Ten Years Taiwan” is now shooting. It is produced by Joint Entertainment’s James Liu. Directors include Rina B. Tsou, Lau Kek Huat, Lekal Sumi, Pei-Ju Hsieh and Lu Po Shun.

“Ten Years Thailand,” also already filming, is produced by Assarat’s Pop Pictures, Cattleya Paosrijaroen and Soros Sukhum. Directors are a slightly more experienced group, including Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Wisit Sasanatieng, Aditya Assarat, Chookiat Sakveerakul and Chulayarnnon Siriphol.

The original “Ten Years” was a surprise hit that tapped into a wave of popular discontent as free-wheeling and capitalist Hong Kong came increasingly under the influence of authoritarian China. The film was conceived before the so-called Umbrella Movement and Occupy Central act of civil disobedience in Hong Kong, and the filmmakers had to recalibrate their stories, as they found many of their first draft scenarios already coming true.

The film could not be released in mainland China and authorities censored reports about the film. They also blocked broadcasting on TV and the internet of the 2016 Hong Kong Film Awards. To the surprise of many, the film was the winner of the best picture award.

Kore-eda is best known for his films “Like Father, Like Son,” “Our Little Sister” and “After the Storm,” which all participated at the Cannes Film Festival.

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