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Akio Fujimoto


Born in Osaka, Japan, Fujimoto learned the essence of filmmaking at the Visual Arts Academy in Osaka. He made a debut with the feature PASSAGE OF LIFE (2018 release, Japan-Myanmar), which won the Spirit of Asia Award and the Best Asian Future Film Award at the 30th Tokyo International Film Festival. The film traveled to over 30 film festivals around the world and received multiple awards. Fujimoto went on to direct a short film BLEACHED BONES AVENUE (2022 release, Japan-Myanmar) which features the local workers in Chin state Myanmar who dig and collect the remains of the Japanese soldiers in WW2. His latest feature ALONG THE SEA (2021 release, Japan-Vietnam) premiered in the 68th San Sebastian International Film Festival in New Directors section, and received many awards internationally and domestically including the prestige Kaneto Shindo Award and Nagisa Oshima Prize.


Along the Sea (2020)
Bleached Bones Avenue (2020) (Short Film)
Passage of Life (2017)
Psychedelic Family (2013) (Short Film)

10+5 Questions for Akio Fujimoto

1. What is the first film in your memory?

2. What are some of your favorite films?
Marvel films such as “Iron Man”

3. Which creators have you been inspired by or influenced by?
Wang Bing, Victor Erice, Cristian Mungiu.

4. What are the films that shook your world or changed your life?
The first art film I watched in a mini-theatre; “Freeze Die Come to Life”.

5. Are there any Japanese directors of your generation you are inspired by?
Hikaru Toda, Kaoru Oda, Kohei Igarashi, Kyoshi Sugita.

6. What does filmmaking mean to you?
A journey of memory and a prayer for the future.

7. What are you interested in outside of films and filmmaking?
Watching NBA and martial arts.

8. Where’s your happy place?
My home.

9. What are the customs or phenomena that are unique to Japan that you want other people to know?
Many people read the atmosphere of their surroundings in a communal living.

10. Where would you be in 10 years?
According to a Burmese fortune teller, I was told 10 years ago that I will be a world-famous director at the age of 43, which is about 10 years from now. So I hope that’s what I will be.


1. What is your favorite moment in the film? (no spoilers)
The scene in Myanmar when the family looks up at the big banyan tree.

2. Why did you decide to write/make this film?
Because the topic of family being separated and children growing up is important to my life, and I felt sympathy for the Burmese family that this film was based on. I also felt it was meaningful to share this story because at the time of 2014 when I shot the film, discussions about whether to accept immigrants and creative works around the topic were already active in Japan, but there was no social focus on those who were returning home.

3. Were there any films that you watched as a reference or a source of inspiration?
“Honey” (2010, aka “Bal”), “An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker” (2013).

4. Was there any music you were listening to or book you were reading while you were making this film?

5. Any fun behind-the-scenes anecdotes or episodes you’d like to share?
With many of our scenes, we did a very long take which sometimes went on for more than two hours. We kept rolling the camera freely, and did only one take.

Message to our audience about this film

I am grateful that this film is now widely shared beyond borders. I hope that the fragments of time spent with a Myanmar family depicted in this film will provide a viewing experience that will allow viewers to reconfirm their own beloved place in the world. I also hope that our prayers will spread to Myanmar, which continues to face unprecedented circumstances due to the country’s political difficulties.