Former Shochiku production head Kazuyoshi Okuyama is preparing a slate of 13 films, including several financed by foreign partners.
In addition to his Team Okuyama production company, the veteran producer is developing the slate with QFront Movie, a new film company he has launched with the backing of the Tokyu Group, whose interests include real estate and media. Okuyama plans to produce the slate over the next three years, possibly adding more films to the initial 13.
"I want to make QFront into a brand," commented Okuyama. "The object is to set trends, not follow them, which the Japanese film industry too often ends up doing. Frankly, I want to lead a coup d'etat against the film industry and change the way films are made here."
In addition to receiving funding from the Tokyu Group equivalent to about 10% of the production costs, Okuyama is assembling a distribution and exhibition consortium that includes multiplex leader Warner Mycal.
The first film is Danboru Housu Garu (Cardboard House Girl), which features popular TV personality Ryoko Yonekura in her film debut as an office worker who finds herself on the street without a job, boyfriend or savings. The film is set for an autumn release by Cine Quanon and Team Okuyama, which Okuyama launched three years ago under the aegis of video game company Namco. Masako Matsumura directs, while photography is by Noboru Shinoda (Love Letter, Swallowtail).
Second on the slate is a state-of-the-art digital animation directed by Hirobumi Ito. Okuyama is also developing a film with Mitsuo Yanagimachi (Fire Festival, About Love, Tokyo), with 70% of the financing coming from a Japanese consortium and the rest from an as-yet-unnamed French investor.
Another project on the slate features Suzhou River and Beijing Bicycle star Xun Zhou. Okuyama has raised 70% of the financing for this picture from Chinese investors and the remainder in Japan.
At Shochiku, Okuyama produced the Cinema Japanesque slate of nearly 30 films for distribution through the Shochiku chain.