Good day and welcome!
Thank you for visiting our project page here on indiegogo.
My name is Bjørne Hoff, and I'm a Norwegian filmmaker based in the city of Kyoto Japan. I usually write and direct, but since photography is a passion of mine I've been seen operating cameras as well. For the last years I've been travelling between Kyoto, Japan and Oslo, Norway. Oslo because I'm born and raised in those parts, and Kyoto , well - because I can never get enough of her I guess.
Yuba Motion Pictures
Yuba Motion pictures is about Gion and all of the wild, delicate, and inconsistent wonders it has to offer. This project has three directors on board, giving us an opportunity to communicate in sensitive, visual language three unique perspectives.
We are a film collective flowering on a grassroots level - with local artists, and the gion merchant community and craftsmen behind our back, we are ready to materialize this vision through local and international partnership.
We know that you already know, so here is a bit about my Gion
While staying in Kyoto for an extended period of time I found myself working at a bar in a district of Kyoto known as Gion.
And this Gion is a fascinating place. Being one of the city's old entertainment districts, it has all the qualities expected of a town of the night, but compared to other such places it's oddly charming. Cobbled streets and old world architecture meets concrete buildings housing bars and nightclubs. Paper lanterns and neon lights. Gion at night is a clash between old and new. What makes Gion interesting however, isn't architectural curiosities, but the shops and the people who inhabit the place.
In deep, narrow alleys you can find non-descriptive signs and entrances to shops teasingly forbidding in their appearance, and if you choose to unravel their mysteries by entering you may be turned away for entering a member’s only establishment, or you might be invited into the coolest of bars, having drinks with mysterious strangers.
Gion is more than the spectacle that meets the eye at the first glance. It's a forest of experiences where people live their lives, where they laugh and they cry, where they toil as hard as they play. Gion has its legends, and the lives of its denizens are the source of a thousand untold stories.
Meet the Team:
Bjørne Hoff – director
Bjørne is a Norwegian filmmaker who went to university in the UK. While studying visual effects for film and television, Bjørne realized that what he really wanted to do was tell stories, so since graduating he has been writing and directing short films in Norway and Japan. Bjørne's first real meeting with Kyoto was when he participated in the Kyoto Filmmaker's Lab in 2011, a workshop led by Kyoto film studios, Toei and Shochiku, as well as the museum of Kyoto. There he wrote and made a samurai film with young filmmakers both Japanese and international, under the guidance of veterans from the Kyoto film industry. Bjørne studied Japanese in Kyoto from 2012 through 2013, while working as a bartender at a sake bar in Kyoto. The screening of his short film «Kamogawa» At the Gion Tenmaku Film Festival in 2013 led to him meeting the other members of Yuba motion pictures and to take part in «Gion». Bjørne is also a photographer, sometimes professionally, but mainly as a hobby. He enjoys street photography, and his favourite arena is Gion at night.
Asami Shigemitsu – director
Asami is a Japanese music video director working in Kyoto and Kobe. She's originally from Hiroshima, but has been living in Kyoto since her student days. Asami studied design at Kyoto Seika University, and as a result her work is dominated by rich colours and powerful visuals. She is inspired by Gion's mystery and old legends, and wants those elements to feature strongly in her film. Like Bjørne, Asami's work was also screened at the 2013 Gion Tenmaku Film Festival. When she's not working, Asami likes to arrange picnics along Kyoto's Kamo river. If you ever find yourself walking along the river on a weekend, look for a merry group of people gathering around a giant wooden piece of cake!
Munenori Nagano – director
Is an extremely funny individual! Nagano is recognized for Giontaro, a paper doll animated series which was featured on the Kyoto NHK national television service, which makes Nagano a bit of a local celebrity. He is a leading member of the Europe Kikaku, a prominent creative theater group based in Kyoto, and plans to make a movie version of Giontaro for our project.
Check out his hit NHK Series Gion Taro!
Also check out his other activities on (ヨーロッパ企画）
Takaaki Tsujino – costume designer, stylist
Takaaki is a veteran costume designer of international renown, having worked for the likes of Keith Richards. He is also one of the coolest guys around, in Kyoto or anywhere. When he's not at work making sure people look stylish, he can be found Dj-ing old Japanese Showa classics at a club here in Kyoto.
Kenji Dubois Lee – cinematographer
It's been a long time since I left Hawaii to experience the world. The endless opportunities to grow keep me abroad collecting memories, feeding interests and growing happier by the day. Currently, Kyoto is my home. There are so many interesting people doing interesting things here. I hope to contribute to this artistic community in a long-lasting positive way.
Kenji`s page on facebook
Joakim is a Norwegian musician and filmmaker with a degree in classical piano. He is also experimenting with electronic music. Joakim and Bjørne are childhood friends, having known each other since they were 4 years old. Joakim spent 2013 journeying South America; want some amazing stories? Just. Ask.
Joakim H. Sture - composer
Akane Okoshi - creative producer
Akane studied Narrative Filmmaking at the GFS (Ghetto Film School) in Bronx, New York, and is currently based in Kyoto as a member of Yuba motion pictures. Akane's creative input on our films is invaluable, and she also wrestles the business end of things, specializing in event execution, marketing, and international liaison. When she's not working Akane is mapping Kyoto's cafe life, and she always knows where to find the coolest and coziest places.
Bjørne's film – A tale of revenge set in Gion
In a modern Japan still held by feudal rule one man must go to the imperial capital of Kyoto to find and fight the killer of his father. In a city of neon lights, samurai in suits, and bloodthirsty swordsmen plotting rebellion, inexperienced Mitsuyoshi seeks revenge against a ruthless veteran killer.
Asami's film – A young maiko discovers Gion do be a very different place indeed!
A rookie maiko at the end of her training is ready to join the professional world of performance. One night, she suddenly finds that all that was ever familiar to her - people, shops, the Gion neighborhood, has turned into a world of creatures with masks of Inari foxes and oni demons; a story of Gion's gorgeous phantom and illusionary currents.
Munenori's film – Giontaro the movie!
Taxi driver Giontaro makes a living by driving the denizens of Gion around town, and never fails to run into most fascinating struggles. The popular Japanese paper doll animated series turned into a movie, and introduced to an international crowd for the first time!
So let's get started!
Even a dollar goes a long way!
With that said, our goal is to get our vision out there; to show the world Kyoto in her many colors. The most important thing is to share this project and garner support. We want this to be the beginning of something big - a gateway for Kyoto’s (chorus) of visual voice(s).