Sakino’s Directorial Debut “Orizuru” Starring Steven Man, Impacting Festivals Worldwide

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Junya Sakino’s directorial debut, the historically based short film “Orizuru” starring Steven Man is making a powerful impact on the festival circuit.

Junya Sakino’s directorial debut, the historically based short film “Orizuru” starring Steven Man is making a powerful impact on the festival circuit, being selected for the Borges en Court Film Festival in Spain, the Angelus Student Film Festival in Los Angeles, the International Student Film Festival Hollywood and the 16th Annual DGA Student Showcase on November 9th (DGA Theatre on Sunset Blvd).

Additionally, “Orizuru” will be screened for the 2nd Show Biz Japan! “Sneak Peak” film screening of Next-Generation Japanese filmmakers on September 28, 7:30 p.m. at the Laemmle Sunset 5 Theater (Sunset Blvd).

Set in the final stages of WWII, American diplomat, Gregory Jackson (Steven Man) is posted to Hiroshima, Japan. Under the cultural veil he develops a forbidden relationship with a beautiful, young interpreter of noble birth, Chizuko (Atsko Hirayanagi). Their bliss is shattered by a violent string of events. The American presence is abruptly recalled; Chizuko discovers she is pregnant and is disowned by her family as a disgrace and back on US ground Jackson learns of the “Manhattan Project”. In an era of limited communications, Jackson has little time, much less ability, to pluck his would be wife and soon to be child out of a city that will be nothing more than dust.

Literally translated to English, “Orizuru” means origami crane made from folded paper. A legend surrounds this symbol of peace promising a dream come true to anyone who folds a thousand. It was in 1955 when a little twelve year old girl who survived the terrors of nuclear war, lay dying of leukemia. Her name was Sadako Sasaki, she lived in Hiroshima. Sadako was two when the nuclear bomb dropped and miraculously she survived but was exposed to significant amounts of radiation. Believing in the power of the Orizuru, she wrote a poem saying, “I shall write peace upon your wings, and you shall fly around the world so that children will no longer have to die this way,” and passionately started to fold 1,000 cranes so that she could live. When she passed away, the City of Hiroshima erected a statue of Sadako in Hiroshima Peace Park: a young girl standing with her hands outstretched and a giant paper crane (Orizuru) flying from her fingertips.

It was with this impression, director Junya Sakino arrived to the United States five years ago from Hiroshima, Japan intent of making “a film that would impact generations to come.” On this path, he has had great support and success working on films including "Casshern" and "Rings", produced by Dreamworks and directing the award-winning film, "The Jazz Addict." In his role as a graduate student director, by way of California State University, both his films, "Vanity Mirror" and "The Spiral Ring" are award nominees.

With “Orizuru” he went a step further engaging Steven Man as his lead. Man recently awarded “Best Actor” for his performance in the film noir, “Sweet Deadly Dreams”, has started to make his mark as an independent feature film lead. His credits include the new cult classic, “Savage Island”, the drama “Edge of Nowhere” and dark comedy “Salvador’s Deli”. He is slated to film Brad Mays next feature film, a metaphysical romantic comedy “The Watermelon” this winter. Sakino said of his lead, “Steven perfectly embodied my vision of his character… he brought an unparalleled level of intensity, sensitivity and professionalism to the set, and was far more than I could have asked for.”

As Sakino embarks on the festival path, he is developing his first feature film, and given the response to his shorts, it will be a matter of time before Sakino is a driving force in the new generation of Japanese-born filmmakers.

For media and other inquiries regarding the filmmakers and talent,,, PPMG offices: (310) 860 7774.


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