The Queer Japan Project is a multimedia documentary providing portraits of a diverse group of individuals from across the spectrum of gender and sexuality in Japan.
Artists, activists, community leaders, and everyday people will share an intimate look into the everyday triumphs and struggles of being a sexual minority in modern Japan. Through in-depth interviews and slice-of-life vignettes, Queer Japan will celebrate queer expression in Japan in many of its dazzling, prismatic varieties.
So far, director Graham Kolbeins and co-writer Anne Ishii (who are also collaborators at MASSIVE GOODS) have shot one week of interviews in Tokyo with artists like gay manga master Gengoroh Tagame, drag queen and renaissance woman Vivienne Sato, and controversial manko [pussy] artist Rokudenashiko. We also sat down with groundbreaking HIV activist, writer, and magazine editor Hiroshi Hasegawa, visual artist Nogi Sumiko, dancer Atsushi Matsuda of the renowned butoh group DAIRAKUDAKAN, and bar owner Masaki C. Matsumoto.
Now, we’re raising funds for a five month shoot (from April to August 2016) in locations across Japan. We’ll follow up with our existing subjects while expanding the scope of The Queer Japan Project to tell even more stories of LGBTQ+ (and beyond) people in Japan. The project will manifest over multiple media including online videos, gallery exhibitions, and a book of photography with extended interviews. The main component of the project is the feature-length documentary Queer Japan, which will be submitted to 2017 film festivals in Japan, the United States, and around the world.
Thanks to a Creative Artists Exchange Fellowship awarded by the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission, director Graham Kolbeins will be able to stay in Japan for five months on a cultural visa, working on this project. With housing and basic living expenses covered by the JUSFC grant, funding raised by Kickstarter will go directly to:
- Travel expenses: it's important for us to tell the stories of queer people all across Japan, in places like Osaka, Kobe, Sapporo, and Hokkaido, as well as small towns where queer communities are hard to come by.
- Equipment: Memory cards, hard drives, cinema lenses, monopods, stabilizers, microphones, and hardware for editing in 4K.
- Crew: Cinematographer, editors, sound department, on-set interpreters, translators, and on-set photographers.
- Original score: new music for the documentary composed by Will Wiesenfeld (Baths, Geotic).
- Print publications: As mentioned in the Kickstarter rewards, we'll be producing a black and white zine and a color photo book in addition to the feature length documentary.
こちらのブログでは 「クィア・ジャパン」の影響や、この映画に出会う人たちやイベントなどをご紹介します。このドキュメンタリーで取り上げられている多くの物語は、LGBTコミュニティーでポジティブな変化をもたらした人たちを注目しながら、ゲイ、レズビアン、バイセクシャル、トランスジェンダーなどのセクシャル・マイノリティー の当事者に立ちはだかる難事を取り上げるものです。
Check our Kickstarter updates for more video content, and follow us on Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter @QueerJapan. Use #QueerJapan and #クイアジャパン to help spread the word!
Risks and challenges
For The Queer Japan Project the succeed, we need full-time crew members in editing, sound, cinematography, and production coordination. Translation, transcription, and on-set interpreting will also be crucial to the film's production. To expand the project beyond Tokyo, we'll need a transportation budget to shoot in locations around the country, from Kyoto to Sapporo to Okinawa. Additionally, we'll be using the production budget to secure equipment including lenses, microphones, memory cards, and hardware to edit the film in 4K resolution.
Aside from the feature-length documentary, this project will include art exhibitions, a series of web videos, photography, and printed publications. The interviews we've already conducted are so rich and detailed that it's evident we'll need to publish extended interviews online and in print. A full color Queer Japan photo book will include excerpts from these interviews and information that won't fit into the film's running time. The book will also include on-set photography by a variety of talented photographers from Japan and the U.S.
Beyond the financial challenges of putting together this multimedia documentary project, logistically, we'll need to build a robust network of queer people and allies within Japan to secure subjects and crew members for the documentary.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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