inclusively made
Tokyo Metropolitan Government

Shakespeare in Tokyo

Producing Japan's first inclusive film

The Task

Short Shorts Film Festival Asia is the largest short film festival in Japan, and each year past festival winners are invited to pitch for the Tokyo CineMagic competition. After winning Audience Choice for our film The Interviewer in 2012, we were delighted to win the 2017 Tokyo CineMagic pitch with the premise of a short film to promote Tokyo to the world through the eyes of a person with Down syndrome.

The Strategy

Coinciding with the launch of the film, Japan would be preparing for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, with a mission statement of “Unity in Diversity”. So driven by our conviction for inclusion and diversity in the stories that we tell, we set out to make Japan’s first ever inclusive film. We brought on board our sister company, Bus Stop Films, to tailor a short inclusive film course for a Japanese audience, and partnered with the Japan Down Syndrome Society to identify six people with Down syndrome who we mentored during production of the film in Tokyo.

We cast Australian actor Gerard O’Dwyer (The Interviewer, Red Christmas) in the leading role as ‘Ben’ alongside iconic Australian Patrick Brammall (Offspring, No Activity, Glitch). Japanese stars Sonny Chiba (Kill Bill, Fast and the Furious; Tokyo Drift) and Shioli Kutsuna (Deadpool 2), as well as our very own writer/director, Genevieve Clay-Smith appear along Ben’s adventure through Tokyo.

“Shakespeare in Tokyo is a truly wonderful film. I could have spent hours in this world, with these characters. It is beautifully written and directed, very well acted, and shot and edited with elegance. This is hopeful and humanistic work of art made with love and attention to detail.”

Luke Buckmaster

The Guardian Australia

The Outcome

The resulting short film, ‘Shakespeare in Tokyo’ was shot in just four days with a production team made up of crew from Australia, Japan, America and England. We featured locations across Tokyo including the famous Shibuya Crossing and the Hachiko Statue, the Hamarikyu Gardens and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Observation Deck.

“It is a glorious film – beautifully shot, wonderful performances and with such an emotional heart.”

Sara Harkins

Glasgow lead - In House Production's; Children's BBC

The film premiered at the 2018 Short Shorts Film Festival in front of over 2,000 guests and media, and was introduced by Yuriko Koike, the Governor of Tokyo.

Audience Choice; Stellar Film Festival
Gympie Gold Award; Heart of Gold Film Festival
Official Selection; Flickerfest 2019 (Oscar Qualifier)
Official Selection; Underexposed Film Festival YC

This project was made inclusively.

The production created opportunities for people living with disability to work in front of, and/or behind the camera, to help develop their experience in the professional creative industry.

Gerard Odwyer
Patrick Brammall
Sonny Chiba
Shioli Kutsuna
Executive Producer
Tetsuya Bessho
Seigo Tono
Writer & Director
Editor & Colourist
Steadicam Operator
Andrew 'AJ' Johnson
Production Managers
Hiromi Yamakawa
Sarah Jane Johnson
Costume Designer
Michiko Aoyagi
Hair & Makeup
Yumiko Miyoshi
1st Assistant Director
John Haggerty
Sound Recordist
Kakeru Ruike
Sound Designer
Brooke Trezise
Jonny Higgins