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.”
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.”