EXCLUSIVE: Maris Martinsons [pictured] to direct Magic Kimono, starring Kaori Momoi.

Latvian filmmaker Maris Martinsons will direct the first ever co-production between Japan and the Baltics, Magic Kimono, with Japanese actress Kaori Momoi (Memoirs Of A Geisha) heading the cast. 

Scheduled to shoot in Riga, Latvia and Kobe, Japan from August 15, the tragicomedy is co-produced by Linda Krukle for Latvia’s KrukFilms, Eiko and Jason Gray for Japan’s Loaded Films and Sten Saluveer for Estonia’s Oree Films. 

The story follows a Japanese woman’s efforts to open a sushi restaurant in Riga whilst coming to terms with the rich food culture of Northern Europe and the sudden reappearance of a long-lost husband. Latvian celebrity chef Martins Sirmais will also serve as food consultant on the film. 

The €1.3m project, which recently passed the UniJapan Co-Production Certificate, will also be backed by Latvian investor Boris Teterev, who recently invested in Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez’ Sin City: A Dame To Kill For

Martinsons and Mamoi previously worked together on Latvia-Hong Kong co-production Amaya (2010) and Latvian-US thriller Oki (2014). Momoi also recently starred in short film Oh Lucy!, which won a Short Film Jury Award at this year’s Sundance. 

“Food is an essence that can create understanding and connection between different cultures and thus makes a perfect co-production point,” said Saluveer.