Asian Cinema Fund 2018

2008 Asian Network of Documentary (AND) Fund

Project Mental
Category DongSeo Asia Fund
Project Mental
Director Kazuhiro SODA
Country USA/Japan
Director's Profile Kazuhiro SODA was born in Japan and has lived in New York since 1993. He has directed numerous fiction films and TV documentaries. His first short fiction film [The Flicker](1997) competed for a Silver Lion Award at the Venice International Film Festival in Italy. His TV documentary [Landscape without Mother] (NHK) won a Telly Award in 2001. His first feature documentary [Campaign] (2007) was invited to various film festivals around the world, including the Berlin Film Festival (Forum), Fribourg Film Festival, Hong Kong Film Festival, and Hot Docs.
[MENTAL] is a documentary which observes the complex world of an out-patient mental clinic in Okayama, interwoven with mentally ill patients, a doctor, staffs, volunteers, and home helpers. People with various mental illnesses visit Chorale Okayama to see Dr. Masatomo Yamamoto. At Chorale Okayama, he tries to prepare patients to reenter and live in society instead of being locked up in hospitals. However, suffering from budget deficits, national and local governments are cutting costs, grants, and services toward mental patients and institutions. The film depicts various aspects and problems of mental health, showing Dr. Yamamoto, the hospital, and the patients. It also depicts the daily live s and candid faces of the patients, revealing their philosophy, sufferings, anxiety, and joy.
Director's Note
"Crazy people" are, among healthy people, often the subject of curiosity and excitement. They are regarded as creatures from another world. There seems to be a transparent curtain which divides healthy people and mentally ill patients. But I think there’s something wrong about this situation. In fact, because modern society is full of pressure, stress, and a sense of isolation, nobody is immune to mental illness. Thus, it is quite dangerous for a society if mental illness remains a taboo issue and most people ignore the subject. In this documentary, I’m trying to get rid of this invisible curtain by simply just observing.
2008 Pusan International Film Festival - Wide Angle/PIFF Mecenat Award
2008 Taiwan International Documentary Festival
2008 Dubai International Film Festival - Best Documentary Award
2008 Jogjakarta Indonesia Documentary Film Festival
2009 Buenos Aires Independent Film Festival
2009 Berlin Film Festival - Forum
2009 Documentary Fortnight (Museum of Modern Art, New York)
2009 Visions du Reel International Film Festival (Nyon, Switzerland)
2009 Hong Kong International Film Festival - Competition
2009 Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival - Competition
2009 Miami International Film Festival - Competition
2009 Cinema du Reel (Pompidou, Paris) – Competition
2009 Theatrical Release in Japan (June)
Still Cut