Akiko Izumitani: Director, Producer & Writer

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My Native Admission Statement: Akiko Izumitani is a female director/producer/writer born and raised in Japan. She is also an active member of AWD (Alliance of Women Directors) in Los Angeles.Akiko first earned recognition through her feature-length documentary, "Silent Shame" (2010), in-depth exploration into Japan's war crimes in WWII. It won numerous awards worldwide, including Best Feature in the Beijing Movie Festival. It has been sold to China and Denmark.

Several years later, Akiko directed "Kung Fu Date,” which won the Remi Award at the Houston Film Festival and "Sukiyaki with Love" (Semi-Finalist of NBCUniversal Shortcuts). Her action short film, “The Other Side” won The Best Short Film in Sacramento Asian Film Festival and ECA Award by ICG and had a screening sponsored by ICG at DGA. She was a semi-finalist of NBC Female Forward (Top 20 out of 1000) in 2018, Sony Director's Program (Top 25 out of 250) in 2017, and ABC Director's Program in 2014. She was also considered to be an episodic director of AMC’s The Terror Season 2 by Scott Free. Akiko was selected as one of the top rising Asian American filmmakers in 2013.

How did you get into the industry? 

I started filming a documentary first and moved onto the narrative.  

Any emerging industry trends? 

Since Me Too and Times Up movement, women directors are getting more attention than ever.

Any industry opportunities or challenges? 

You cannot just be talented. You have to have the right connection. Since Me Too movement happened, it became a little easier but it is still hard to be recognized and get directing gigs. Also making films always have a financial challenge.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business? 

I would like to make movies that are critically acclaimed as well as entertaining that question the audience about certain topics and change their view.  

What's next for the Business in the near future? 

I’m talking to Netflix Japan for possible screenwriting jobs. That’ll be cool if it happens.

Your key initiatives for the success of the Business? 

Always believe in myself, always respect and treat other people well. Always be humble but be passionate about the work.

Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)

Being an Asian woman immigrant, whose English is the second language was very hard. I have to compete against very talented filmmakers who don't have any problem speaking the language. When I was young, many people mistook me as an actress. I was almost kicked out from a red carpet in the director's competition because they thought I was an actress crashing the red carpet. Other candidates had to tell them I'm a director and a semi-finalist.

Ideal experience for a customer/client? 

The audience who love good stories!

How do you motivate others? 

Being excited about a project always motivates other people around me.

Career advice to those in your industry? 

Always be nice to other people. Work on your craft all the time. Don’t give up and accept we have up and down moment.

What do I do best? 

Directing movies. Telling others about my vision and collaborating with my crew and cast is the best time.

What makes me the best version of myself? 

Watching great movies always motivate me and want to improve my skills.

What are my aspirations? 

Steven Spielberg, Jonathan Demme, and more….

My Biggest Success? 

To come to the U.S. by myself and learn English and got a greencard via work.

My Most Challenging Moment?  

When my father died in Japan. It reminded me how far I live from my family.

My Motto? 

Never give up. Remember the passion you felt when you were a child.

My Favorite People/Role Models? 

My parents.

My Favorite Places/Destinations? 

Home in Japan

My Favorite Products/Objects? 

Roomba. The best thing ever.

My Current Passions? 

I do CrossFit. It keeps my strength and I’m loving it.

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