When I backed director Noriko Yuasa’s Kickstarter for funding the festival run of Coming Back Sunny, I was directed to another Japanese film seeking funding. This one is a romantic musical called Make-Believers which is aims to be, to quote the organisers, “a first-of-its-kind, Hollywood-influenced, musical romance set in Japan.” Here is the Kickstarter link.
Release Date: May 01st, 2020
Duration: 128 mins.
Director: Kenjo McCurtain
Writer: Kenjo McCurtain (Script),
Starring: Takashi Kawaguchi, Yuki Morikawa, Shouta Hatori, Sayuri Hirayama, Takashi Ohkado, Nayu Kazetani,
Despite writing about indie films a lot, many of these names are new apart from Takashi Kawaguchi who appeared in Bad Poetry Tokyo (2017) so it’s exciting to see him taking the lead in this work. Indeed, Kenjo McCurtain has cast other actors from Bad Poetry Tokyo.
Synopsis: Masa (Takashi Kawaguchi) is a manga writer who has hit his late 30s and is still single. With news that his estranged father is on the verge of death after a stroke, Masa reflects on life and realises that, as an only son, and unmarried that his father may have expected more of him. Somehow this leads Masa to hire a rental actress, Kanako (Yuki Morikawa), to fool his father into thinking that he has a fiancée. It turns out that she has some emotional heartache. She once had hopes of being an actress but became disillusioned. Masa soon falls for her and starts to write an anonymous love letters which touch Kanako’s heart which she begins to reciprocate and this goes on while they continue to pretend to be a couple. Will they be able to make a genuine connection come to life?
The film is in post-production and money needs to be raised for grading, composing of the score, sound mix, creating a DCP and festival fees to make sure the film is seen by as many people as possible in the best possible condition. The campaign asked for $1,648 and has already hit this initial target and is on course to sail to $4,000 since there are stretch goals.
There are a number of tiers for people to look at when it comes to pledging money and rewards run from a “thank you” on the Facebook page to being given a credit as a co-producer. Physical gifts include a signed copy of the film and a T-shirt. There is also a chance to download two songs from the film’s soundtrack.
Now, these are uncertain times and filmmakers, festivals and distributors (and a myriad of other people) have had their legs cut out from under them by Coronavirus since many countries have closed cinemas and festivals are being cancelled or postponed so we won’t know how things will shake out but with some of the backer awards you be guaranteed to at least be able to watch the completed film and keep the project afloat during this medical crisis.
If nothing else, you are supporting a talented indie director make the leap from shorts to features. The film label, Shirokuma Films, has a number of his works free to watch – Automation (2017) and The Widow (2018) – on their YouTube channel, so check them out to help you decide.
The deadline for Make-Believers is May 05th and while it has already reached its goal, there’s still time to get involved and help support talented indie filmmakers.