Accomplished Japanese director, Yukihiko Tsutsumi is in the final stages of editing “12 Suicidal Teens,” a work that explores the topic with a focus on young people. It’s scheduled for a January 2019 release in Japan. Rights were pitched this week at the TIFFCOM market by Nippon TV.
It is something of a swerve, for Tsutsumi who has directed big sci-fi thrillers, including 3 editions of the blockbuster franchise “20th Century Boys,” which all were number 1 at the Japanese box office. But he’s also taken on serious subjects, including Alzheimer’s disease in “Memories of Tomorrow.” The upcoming piece combines his interest in social issues with a desire to entertain.
The story starts with 12 teenagers who meet inside an abandoned hospital. They are apparently arranging a suicide pact but when they get to the meeting place they find the body of an unknown youth. As the tension builds, they must ask themselves if there is a murderer among them, and if they can go through with their pact.
“Suicide by minors is a societal issue in Japan. But instead of looking at it from that point of view, I decided to focus a bit more on entertainment and add an element of suspense. By doing this I may be able to attract more viewers and get young people to be more aware of the problem.”
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While the director builds significant suspense in this closed room mystery, he stresses a serious approach to the theme underpins the presentation. “Suicide is never something that can be positive. The film will give people a chance to think about the pointlessness of suicide.”