Tommy Lee Jones〔Film Director, Actor〕
After graduating from Harvard University, he polishes his acting skills with Broadway to then make his film debut in “Love Story” ('70). He then begins to portray villains in late 80s, adding to his popularity, and after “JFK” ('91), “Under Siege” ('92), makes his breakthrough as Gerard in “The Fugitive” ('94) winning the Academy Award for best supporting actor. In “Men in Black” ('97~'12) and “Space Cowboys” ('00) he shows a comical side in the frontline. In the 2005 Cannes Film Festival, “The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada” which he directed, produced and starred in, won best actor and best screenplay. He is also famous in Japan for his “Alien Jones” commercials in tribute to his role as an agent managing aliens in “Men in Black”. He has been nominated for best actor in the Academy Awards with “In the Valley of Elah” ('07), and best supporting actor with “JFK” ('91) and “Lincoln” ('12).
Shobu Yarlagadda is the CEO and co-founder of Arka Mediaworks, one of the leading TV and movie production houses in India, with operations in Hyderabad and Bangalore.
Arka Mediaworks has produced several successful and critically acclaimed films in the past and its current project, “Baahubali”, a two part Indian epic by acclaimed director SS Rajamouli, released worldwide in July 2015 and is one of the highest grossing films in India. Part 2 is anticipated to release in the summer of 2017.
Shobu co-founded Arka Connect, a 360 degree marketing agency that works with brands and films. An avid trekker, he pursues culinary interests as a way of unwinding
Keiko Iiboshi〔Historica navigator, Writer and TV personality〕
Born in Osaka in 1963. Keiko Iiboshi is active not only as a TV personality, but also as an author who has a serial publication in newspapers and magazines. She is well known as a fan of Japanese football team Hanshin Tigers. She has a wide range of interests and hobbies, and is well informed of figure skating, Kabuki plays, traditional Japanese comedic story telling Rakugo and film industry. As a huge fan of Kung Fu/Wuxia movies, she has been appointed as the navigator of the 8th Kyoto HISTORICA International Film Festival in order to convey the appeal of period films through events and talk shows.
Sadao Nakajima〔Film Director〕
Born 8th August 1934, Chiba. Film Director. While in University of Tokyo he starts up the “Study of Greek Tragedies” along with Sou Kuramoto, to take on directing. Enters Toei ('59) following his graduation. As he enters Toei, he is sent to the film studios, being told; “You're in Greek studies? Greece means classics, classics means period films”. Makes his debut as director with “Kunoichi Ninpo” ('64). Is awarded Best New Director at the Kyoto Citizen Film Festival ('65). Works freelance from '67. He directs many genres, yakuza, public customs, chivalry, period film, literature and comedy. Main films include “Yakuza Gurentai”, “Kogarashi Monjiro”, “Nihon no Don” trilogy, “Sanada Yukimura no Bouryaku”, “Jo no mai” (Awarded Best Director at the India International Film Festival), and “Gokudo no Onna-tachi” series. He has won many awards including the Shozo Makino Award('06) and the Special Achievement award of the Film Day ('15). His latest film is “Chanbara: The Art of Japanese Swordplay” ('05).
Born in 1943, Hyogo. In 1958 he enters Toei Studios Kyoto. For 60 years he has appeared in period films and television (Mito Komon, Abaranbo Shogun) as a “kirareyaku” (being-killed) actor. A member of the Toei Tsurugi-kai, a sword-action techniques group. 2003, he receives attention from his roll in American film “The Last Samurai” starring Tom Cruise. His memoir reflecting on his acting life, “Someone is always there watching ~The most-killed man of Japan, Seizo Fukumoto~” ('01) became a bestseller, and his essay has been published in a secondary school morals textbook. 2014, his first main roll in “Uzumasa Limelight” received highly domestically and from overseas including North America. He receives a Special Award from the Japanese Academy in 2004, and Achievement Award from the Kyoto Prefecture Cultural Award in 2015.
Toshio Sugawara〔Sword-Action Director〕
Born in 1940, Niigata. In 1961 he enters Toei Studios Kyoto. He becomes a member of the sword-action group Toei Tsurugi-kai, and emerges as a “kirareyaku”. 1973, he makes his debut as a sword-action director in “Tokyo Seoul Bangkok”. Since then, for 40 years he shows various types of sword-action, the beautiful fight traditional to the Toei period films in “Mito Komon”, and actions with more original ideas such as in the predominant “Shadow Warriors” series. He currently directs in theatre from commercial plays to Takarazuka, as well as in pictures. He is awarded the Special Award from the Japanese Academy in 2013.
Raiko Sakamoto〔Silent Film Narrator〕
He aspires to become a silent film narrator as a teenager. Makes his debut in 2000 with the film "Kurama Tengu" to then narrate in various venues including theatres, temples, shrines and halls. He has explained roughly 70 films to this day. In 2010 he takes part in silent film screenings in six American Universities including Yale. In 2012 he is invited to the Cinémathèque Française, the film archive located in France. Recently he has also been voicing the character for the Tokyo Skytree, and narrates commercials as a voice actor.
Jinichi Kawakami〔Martial Artist, Ninjutsu Researcher〕
He learns Banke Shinobinoden of the Koga ninjutsu from the age of 6. In his early life, he practices the basics of ninjutsu beginning with breathing techniques, walking quietly, dislocating joints, and training to sharpen his eyesight and hearing. He then grows up to learn more specialised knowledge such as how to brew medicine and gunpowder. At 18 he succeeds the previous soke to become the “21st head of the Koga Ban family”. Currently he holds a Training institute for Shinto-gunden in Wakasa town of Fukui, where he researches and shares information on ninjutsu, martial arts and military tactics. He is also the honorary director of the “Iga Ninja Museum” in Iga city of Mie, and is a specially appointed professor at the Mie Community-University Research Cooperation Center since January 2012, researching ninjas as a science. He is precisely the leading expert on “Ninjas” in Japan.
Aaron Yamasato〔Film Director〕
Born and raised in Hawaii. Worked as a Hollywood casting agent (Power Rangers) and created award winning animated shorts films. He cherished the experience working for Eikichi Yazawa, Takeshi Kitano and Screaming Mad George. After graduating from film school, he directed his first live-action feature length film, "Blood of the Samurai”, which received the Best Hawaii Film Award at the Hawaii International Film Festival. It is currently available on DVD and VOD platforms (Sony Playstation Network/Amazon Video). He next directed “Blood of the Samurai: The Series”, “Blood of the Samurai 2” and spin-off TV series “Ninja EX”.
Kunihiro Tateishi〔Exectuive Dirrector of Japan Ninja Council〕
Worked at Fuji-TV related production company, pursuing television and event productions. In July 2011, he establishes the “Centre of the Development of Ninja Contents, Tokyo Office, Iga-Ueno Tourist Association” to produce ninja contents and programs aimed for overseas.
In October 2015, he takes up the post of Executive Director of the “Japan Ninja Council”, established by the local governments of 6 prefectures and 8 cities with connections with ninjas, including Mie and Iga city.
Cho Yongseok〔VFX superviser〕
Begins his career in visual effects in the beginnings of 2000. He takes on films such as the historical hero-action starring Dong-won Kang, “Jeon Woo-chi: The Taoist Wizard” ('09, directed by Dong-hoon Choi), suspense action “The Berlin File” ('12, directed by Seung-wan Ryoo), and “Kundo: Age of the Rampant” ('13, directed by Jong-bin Yoon) where the two stars Jung-woo Ha and Dong-won Kang show a great conflict, being in the front-line of Korean films' VFX production. In “The Tiger: An Old Hunter's Tale”, a tiger is materialised 100% in CG, with 200 staff and a whole year spent studying and calculating wind directions, tread, and footprints left in snowfields. Nominated for Best Visual Effects at the 10th Asian Film Awards.
Masato Harada〔Film Director〕
Masato Harada was born in 1949 and made his directorial debut “Farewell, Movie Friend: Indian Summer” in 1979. His film “KAMIKAZE TAXI” ('95) was well received overseas, and was followed by “Spellbound” ('99), “Totsunyuseyo! Asama sanso jiken” ('02), “Climber's High” ('08). “Chronicle of My Mother” ('11) was awarded the Special Grand Prix of the Jury Prize at the 35th Montreal World Film Festival, bringing Harada’s career up to a new level. Apart from socially engaging films, he has also directed entertainment films such as “Moryo no Hako” ('07) and “RETURN” ('13). “The Emperor in August” ('15), about the end of war on 15th August 1945, made a record of a million viewers. The film “Sekigahara” (starring Junichi Okada, Koji Yakusho, Kasumi Arimura), based on Ryotaro Shima's novel, is currently in production (scheduled to be screened in autumn, 2017).
Tetsuo Harada〔Production Designer〕
Born in 1965, Hokkaido. Takes charge of various films and television programs at the Kyoto Shochiku Studios.
He is awarded the 35th Japan Academy Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction along with Nishioka Yoshinobu for “The Last Ronin”. In 2015, he is awarded the 69th award for outstanding technical achievements with “Kakekomi” ('15), directed by Masato Harada. Also nominated for Best Production Designer at the 10th Asian Film Awards. Same year, he is awarded the Best Art Direction of the 70th Mainichi Film Concours and the Best Art Direction of the 39th Japan Academy with “The Emperor in August”, also directed by Masato Harada.
Also in his list of films are Yuichi Kimura's “Nisesatsu” ('09) and “A Tale of Samurai Cooking” ('13) by Yuzo Asahara.
Roger Garcia〔Executive Director, Asian Film Awards Academy and Hong Kong International Film Festival Society〕
Roger Garcia was director of the Hong Kong International Film Festival in the late 1970s when he was successful in gaining wider international exposure for Asian and Hong Kong cinema. He has served as programmer, consultant and juror on many international film festivals in the US, Europe and Asia. As producer he has worked on studio pictures in Hollywood and independent films in Asia, and created programs on Asian cinema for US television. As film critic his writings have been published extensively by the British Film Institute, Cahiers du Cinema, Film Comment, Variety among many others. His latest book is King Hu: In His Own Words. He has been executive director of the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society since 2010 and is responsible for the international film festival; the Asian Film Awards Academy; and Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum project market.
Yuki Saito〔Film Director〕
Born in Chiba in 1979. After graduating high school, studied film in Hollywood for 8 years. After returning to Japan he participated the Japanese shoots of master’s films such as “Babel” (Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu). In 2015, his short film “Gotham Jumble Parfait” received the Audience Award four times at Short Short Film Festival & Asia (SSFF). This is the first achievement at SSFF. The Short film “Shabu-Shabu Spirit” which is produced under theme of “WA-SHOKU” (Japanese food) as commissioned project by Asia and Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry&Fisheries is screened of over 40 film festivals of the world. He gained more attention by TV drama series “Sentozake” (TV TOKYO ) shown in April, 2016. His first commercial feature film “The Old capital” starring great actors such as Yasuko Matsuyuki, Ai Hashimoto, Riko Narumi, Tsuyoshi Ihara and Eiji Okuda would be screened worldwide in the autumn of 2016. This film is based on Yasunari Kawabata’s novel and tell the story after the novel, arranged into the present.
Giorgia Farina〔Film Director〕
Giorgia’s fascination with film starts at a young age. After gaining a BA in Sociology she is accepted to the MFA in Film at Columbia University. During those years she wrote and directed many short films that screened at festivals such as Venice Film Festival (SF competition) and won several accolades, among which the NBR grant best student film. She has worked as a script editor and directed a documentary“Bello di Mamma” ('12) that has been broadcasted on national TV.In 2013 at age 28, she wrote and directed her first feature film Amiche da Morire, a black comedy that tackles the role of women in Italy, that has had a success at the box office and won many awards across the country. Her second film “Ho ucciso Napoleone” ('15), has been positively reviewed and has been distributed across in Italy and abroad.Her work has received various accolades such as Best script at the Italian Golden Globes, and has been nominated Best New Director at the David di Donatello (Italian Academy awards)