By Indiewire Staff | Indiewire January 17, 2012 at 10:30AM
Keiichi Kobayashi has directed television programs, music videos, commercials, and Web‐based dramas in his native Japan. "About the Pink Sky (Momoiro sora o)" is his debut feature film, and it won best picture at the Tokyo International Film Festival in 2011.
What's it about: This black and white coming of age tale follows headstrong Japanese school girl Izumi. Izumi, whose hobby is rating newspapers articles with positive or negative values, finds a wallet containing 300,000 yen (almost $4,000) and instead of returning it to the owner, lends the money to a fishing buddy with financial problems. The plot evolves with a distant, dreamlike quality.
Says director Kobayashi: "The reason why I shot it in black and white: The present quickly becomes the past. The message I wanted to convey was the idea of being in the present and living life, taking in each moment. I shot the whole movie myself. I'd only ever shot stuff just for fun, so I spent six months training myself. It was a real challenge capturing light. The theme of the cinematography was 'reflection.'
"I think the image people have of Japanese high-school girls will change. My hope is that after they watch the movie, there would be a small shift in their sense of value. Growing up, I loved all those Japanese superhero shows and movies. I idolized the heroes and copied them. I really believed I could be a superhero myself. I wanted to create a new kind of hero for high-school kids, even though it's just an ordinary high-school girl who doesn't transform or have superpowers.
"I am always inspired by directors like Kenji Mizoguchi and Akira Kurosawa. The spirit of never giving up."
Indiewire invited Sundance Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they're doing next. We'll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2012 festival.
Keep checking here every day up to the launch for the latest profiles.