They told him he can't have kids. In his palms are cicada shells....
Alex Kabelitz
Los Angeles, California
United States
1 Team Member

What’s with this project?

Cicada is the first feature-length film from Biola University’s Cinema & Media Arts program.  Professor and director Dean Yamada has traveled with students to Tokyo and Berlin to shoot a series of short films.  Their last two films, Jitensha and Persimmon, screened in competition at the Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival, which is considered the "Cannes of short films."  The time has come to take this proven model of filmmaking to the next level and shoot a feature film.

What is Cicada about?

Cicada is the story of Jumpei-- a man who loses sight of his future when he finds out he is infertile, but then is given the gift of clairvoyance and begins to see glimpses of the future.  These glimpses lead him to a series of cicada shells, which are symbolic of his desire to shed his old self.  Though his lineage ends with himself, Jumpei starts anew as a father-figure to his sister’s young son.

As with Jitensha and Persimmon, there is a depth and humor to Yu Shibuya’s writing, which gives the piece multiple layers.  Our goal is to create a film that will bring hope to a country still shaken by the earthquake of 2011 and to create a world that is free of tsunamis.

Who is on-board?

The film will reunite director Dean Yamada with writer Yu Shibuya, actor Yugo Saso and composer Dana Niu of Jitensha and Persimmon.  The film will also feature Masayuki Yui, who starred in four of Akira Kurosawa’s final five films.

What will the funds go towards?

With rising gas costs, airfare has taken up a large portion of our budget.  Making a feature film can be an expensive endeavor, especially when traveling overseas.  Though the students are paying their own way to Tokyo, we need to pay for equipment rentals, production design, craft services as well as location and actors’ fees.  As with Jitensha and Persimmon, we are going to shoot a no-budget, character-driven arthouse film.  Every dollar will help boost our production value-- even the smallest contribution will make this film better!

Director’s Statement:

In 2009, I made a film called Jitensha (Bicycle), which premiered internationally at the 66th Venice Film Festival.  This was significant for me because it was shot on a low-grade HD camera with a class of undergraduate students at Biola University.  It proved two things:  1) story is king and 2) what we are doing at Biola is special.

Jitensha (Bicycle) went on to win major awards at the Heartland Film Festival, Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and the Sapporo Short Fest and screen at some of the biggest festivals in the world, including the Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival, Palm Springs Shorts Fest and Florida Film Festival.  I subsequently made two more films with my students—Persimmon, which was shot in Japan, and East of Berlin, which was shot in Germany.

With the incredibly gifted writing of Yu Shibuya, the beautifully resonant acting of Yugo Saso, and the deeply moving music of Dana Niu, I believe that we can take this model of shooting low budget, character-driven films, using passionate undergraduate students as crew, and create something significant. 

Please join us as we embark on the incredible journey of making our first feature film.  We desperately need your support to accomplish the daunting task of turning this dream into a reality.


Dean Yamada

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This campaign ended on July 1, 2012
Select a Perk
  • $5USD

    Embark on the journey with us by giving a small donation. As a token of our appreciation, we will keep you updated throughout our process and send you a thank you note!

    1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: July 2012
  • $10USD
    The Cicadas Sing!

    Please pledge $10 and receive a one-of-a-kind haiku. Haikus are a beautiful way to express oneself in writing. What better way to thank you, our lovely supporter? We will write you a personalized haiku. Pretty cool, huh? We will also send you a thank you note!

    5 claimed
    Estimated delivery: July 2012
  • $25USD

    In 2009, a crew of Biola students ventured out to Japan and made the award-winning film called Jitensha. This DVD will give you a taste of what our feature length film will look like!

    2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: July 2012
  • $50USD

    In 2011, Biola students set out to Japan to make yet another award-winning film called Persimmon. For $50, you will receive an autographed DVD copy of our most recent Japan film plus Jitensha!

    3 claimed
    Estimated delivery: July 2012
  • $100USD
    Mystery Basket!

    While we are in Japan this summer, we will take time to personally pick out a mystery gift for you! We promise it will be something awesome! There are many delicious foods that can be found in Japan and we would like to share some of those yummy treats with you! You will also receive DVDs of Jitensha and Persimmon.

    9 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2012
  • $250USD
    Be Behind-the-Scenes!

    So, if you're like us, you've probably wanted to watch everything that happens as a film is being shot. Well, now you can! We will send you a private link to our behind-the-scenes footage as well as sneak peeks of our film! You get to see everything that happens as it happens! Plus, you'll receive the mystery basket and DVDs of Jitensha and Persimmon.

    6 claimed
    Estimated delivery: July 2012
  • $500USD

    Pledge $500 dollars and you will receive all of our other fabulous rewards plus 2 VIP tickets to the premiere of Cicada- good for you and a date! After the premiere, you will get to hang out with the cast and crew at the afterparty AND you will also get all of the previous rewards.

    0 claimed
    Estimated delivery: May 2013
  • $1,000USD
    Dean's List

    For $1000, we will include you in the special thank yous of the end credits as well as IMDb AND send you both a Cicada DVD and a private link to the finished film before anyone else gets to see it! You will also receive 2 VIP tickets to the premiere and all of the other perks.

    0 claimed
    Estimated delivery: May 2013
  • $2,000USD
    Your Name In Lights!

    To honor your generosity, you will receive a special thank you in the end credits, IMDb and on the program handed out at the premiere. We know you've always wanted to have your name on the big screen and now you can! You will also receive all of the above rewards, including a copy of the film before everyone else gets to see it.

    1 out of 2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: May 2013
  • $5,000USD
    Itadakimasu (Let’s Eat)!

    …with the Assoicate Producers of the film- that’s you! Thank you for supporting our film! We invite you to join us for dinner at a Japanese restaurant In Little Tokyo, in Los Angeles! Over a delicious meal, you will get to hear stories of our crews’ experiences in Japan! Along with dinner, we will give you an Assoicate Producer Credit on IMDb as well as in the rolling credits! You will also receive everything mentioned above.

    0 out of 2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2012
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