Hong Kong-based sales agency Asian Shadows has picked up international rights to migrant drama film, “Along The Sea.” Directed by Fujimoto Akio, it will get its world premiere in the New Directors competition at San Sebastian later this month.
The film follows three young Vietnamese women who find menial work in Japan, but abscond, turning themselves into illegal immigrants.
It is that are thing, a Japan-Vietnam co-production and involves Japan’s E.x.N K.K. and Vetnam’s ever rolling films. The film is produced by Kazutaka Watanabe, Josh Levy and Nguyen Le Hang.
“Along The Sea” is the third collaboration between the producer Watanabe and Fujimoto after Fujimoto’s debut feature “Passage of Life” and short film “Bleached Bones Avenue.”
Based between Japan and Myanmar, Fujimoto makes drama-films that are inspired by true stories of immigrants living and working in Japan, whose life conditions are reason for concerns. “Passage of Life” features a Burmese narrative and won two awards at the 2017 edition of the Tokyo International Film Festival.
The cast is headed by Hoang Phuong, who previously starred in the 2019 Vietnam-China-U.S. co-production “Invisible Love” by Guo Xiang, and Huynh Tuyet Anh (Dustin Nguyen’s “789Muoi,” by Dustin Nguyen, “100 Days of Sunshine.” For Quynh Nhu, “Along The Sea” is her acting debut.
“A story of immigrants and migrants in Japan is one of the important topics we need to now focus on, and yet it has been rarely told by Japanese filmmakers,” said Watanabe Kazutaka, producer at E.x.N K.K. Japan’s long-standing cultural homogeneity is being forced to change as its aging demographics mean that population numbers are shrinking and the number of people of working age is dropping fast. The country’s solution has been to allow in foreign workers on a temporary basis, which puts the workers in a precarious position. Now that policy is also changing as numbers grow and more foreigners are putting down roots.
Vietnamese cinema is also evolving. “Cinema in Vietnam is growing very quickly, but still much of the world hasn’t had the opportunity to hear the stories of Vietnamese people. Our goal at ever rolling films is to share films like these,” said Nguyen Le Hang.