Sake-Bomb [pictured] and It’s Me, It’s Me are slated for US theatrical release

Japan’s Pictures Dept. has announced the US acquisitions and theatrical releases of SXSW comedy Sake-Bomb, directed by Junya Sakino and Kazuya Kamenashi-starrer It’s Me, It’s Me, directed by Satoshi Miki.

Pictures Dept. Co. Ltd. and First Pond Entertainment are partnering to handle US distribution on Sake-Bomb’s theatrical release. The deal was negotiated by Yuko Shiomaki of Pictures Dept. and Oliver Ike of First Pond Entertainment.

New York-based Digital Media Rights has also picked up DVD and VOD rights for the US.

The road movie, named after the cocktail of a shot of sake dropped in a glass of beer, follows the exploits of a sarcastic Asian American internet star wannabe and his naïve cousin, a sake-maker from Japan, as they travel through northern California in search of the latter’s ex-girlfriend.

Sake-Bomb was picked up by Third Window Films for the UK in Cannes and won the Outstanding Screenplay award at this year’s Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival after making its world premiere at SXSW.

“We’re looking at theatrical releases starting in New York, LA and Hawaii by the end of the year,” says Pictures Dept.’s Yuko Shiomaki. The film will be taking advantage of the autumn festival circuit with the participation of the director and actors to promote the film.

It’s Me, It’s Me

Based on a contemporary novel and written and directed by Satoshi Miki (Adrift In Tokyo), It’s Me, It’s Me stars Kazuya Kamenashi. The founding member of the hugely popular Japanese pop group Kat-tun and award-winning actor plays 33 different versions of a guy who keeps “self-multiplying” and creating havoc. The film won an audience award on its world premiere at the Udine Far East Film Festival.

Pictures Dept. will handle the film’s theatrical release Nov. 6 at Cinema Village in New York with Digital Media Rights co-distributing theatrical and handling VOD and DVD.

Shiomaki explains the release date: “We are releasing it in the US at the same time as the Japanese DVD release date because Kazuya Kamenashi, the main actor, is super popular as a pop star and has many followers worldwide. As soon as the DVD is released in Japan, they are going to buy it from Amazon Japan and YouTube videos will be everywhere.”

It’s Me, It’s Me will makes its North American premiere at New York Asian Film Festival on July 13 and Montreal Fantasia July 20 with director Satoshi Miki presenting it in Montreal.

The film was also picked up for Taiwan (Sky Digi), Russia (Maywin Films), and Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia (Encore Film) and will have summer releases in those territories.

Pictures Dept. reports It’s Me, It’s Me opened in Japan May 25 at no. 10, ranking no. 1 in the “under 150 screen release” category for the first half of the year and is still in theatres.