The closing movie of this year’s Tokyo International Film Festival, Hashimoto Hajime’s “Hokusai” is a biopic of the eponymous artist, whose most famous picture “The Great Wave Off Kanagawa,” has been endlessly reproduced around the world.
Rejecting the plodding literalism and smarmy sentimentalism of the usual Japanese film about local greats, “Hokusai” focuses on its subject’s rebellious youth and eccentric old age, played respectively by Yagira Yuya, winner of a Venice best actor prize, and Tanaka Min, an internationally renowned dancer who made his acting debut in Yamada Yoji ’s 2002 “The Twilight Samurai.”
“The selection as closing film has had a great impact on our sales,” says Takamatsu Miyuki, CEO of Free Stone Productions, which is repping the film at TIFFCOM. “International buyers have less information than before about the value of films since many film festivals now compete online and we have a harder time getting word-of-mouth going. That makes awards and status more important now.”
Free Stone has closed sales to Chinese-speaking territories (China, Hong Kong, Taiwan), Latin America and South Korea. “With the prestigious platform of the Tokyo International Film Festival behind us, we are ready to expand our sales to other territories, including Europe and North America,” says Takamatsu.
The film will have its international premiere at the Hawaii International Film Festival (Nov. 5-15, 2020). “We plan to submit to more festivals around the world,” says Takamatsu.
“Markets and platforms are drastically changing due to Covid-19,” she continues. “We’ve responded by adding a wider variety of films to our slate, from new to old, from live-action to documentary. That’s an advantage of being independent.”