Karakara – a new film set in Okinawa

A press conference was held in Naha on Tuesday to announce the production of a new movie to be set in Okinawa. The film is called Karakara and is a joint Japan-Canada project. Karakara is written and directed by French-Canadian Claude Gagnon whose other films include Keiko, Kenny and Kamataki and it will be produced by Okinawa’s Takako Miyahira. Most of the action is set on the main island of Okinawa but there will also be scenes on the small outlying islands of Izena and Gushikawa. Claude Gagnon says: “I always wanted to make a film in Okinawa and I’m very happy to be able to make one this time.”

Karakara press conference (l to r): Takako Miyahira (producer), Claude Gagnon (director), Gabriel Arcand, Youki Kudoh (actors), Daichi Hirata (Okinawa government)

The protagonists of the film are the experienced Canadian film and stage actor Gabriel Arcand and Japanese actress Youki Kudoh (Mystery Train, Snow Falling On Cedars, Memoirs Of A Geisha). Karakara is a kind of road movie in which people at a crossroads in their life run away to discover themselves. For Montreal native Gabriel Arcand it’s the first time that he has visited Okinawa – or indeed Asia – though he has worked before with director Gagnon. His co-star Youki Kudoh said at the conference: “Finding what you have lost through encounters with people, rediscovering what you think you have but can no longer see, and learning to enjoy life once again – such themes knocked my socks off. Claude’s screenplay is never didactic but very poetic. I’m looking forward to seeing how these themes will be interwoven in the beautiful background of Okinawa.”

Several months ago I was contacted out of the blue by Claude Gagnon. He had read my book The Power of Okinawa and was interested in my giving him some advice and ideas about the inclusion of Okinawan music in his new film. We met up a few times to discuss this and other things. Then he mentioned that there was also a small role in the film for a foreigner for which it might be fun for me to audition. Not having any previous experience of acting in a film, I did not expect this to come to anything but I went along for the audition anyway and was surprised to be chosen for the part a day or two later. Filming of Karakara starts next week and the movie is planned for eventual release in Autumn 2012.  Now I just have to make sure I learn my lines!

Explore posts in the same categories: Karakara Movie

9 Comments on “Karakara – a new film set in Okinawa”

  1. Izumi Nishi Says:

    I am looking forward to seeing you on the screen. Is this film going to be shown at Sakurazaka?

  2. Julie Redpah Says:

    John-this sounds really exciting.

  3. tn Says:

    Wow! As someone from Canada who loves Okinawa, I can’t wait to see this film! Hopefully it will be made available this side of the Pacific as well.

  4. Very exciting news. I can’t wait to see the film. I’m sure you’ll have a great time with your role!

  5. Justin Says:

    I’m the Canadian English teacher living on Izena. My coworker told me about you guys, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to find you. Hopefully we’ll meet or work together in the future (I have a Film degree). I hope you enjoyed this amazing island. Cheers and good luck with the project!


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