5-8 OCTOBER 2024
ASIAN PROJECT MARKET
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Back to list My Small Land
Country/Region Japan / France
Director KAWAWADA Emma
Producer BANSE Megumi
Writer KAWAWADA Emma
Production Company AOI Pro. Inc.
Completed Year 2022
Genre Drama
Running time 120
APM Selected Year 2018
Director’s Profile
Kawawada Emma was born on October 15, 1991 in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan. She graduated from Waseda University where she studied theater and film arts in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Her feature-length film, Circle (2013), which she directed as a college student, was grand prize runner-up at both the Waseda Film Festival and the Tokyo Student Film Festival. She was a student juror at the TOKYO FILMeX International Film Festival 2013, joined production company, BUN-BUKU - led by Kore-eda Hirokazu and Nishikawa Miwa - in November 2014, was the director’s assistant on The Third Murder (Kore-eda Hirokazu, 2017) and is working as director’s assistant on His Lost Name (Hirose Nanako, 2018). She also directed several episodes of TV documentary show, Kyo-no, Akinai between 2015 and 2016.
Synopsis
Sisters Sarya and Lily, second-generation Kurdish refugees, were born in Japan. For 20 years, their family’s hope for asylum has been rejected and they continue to live in Japan as illegal foreigners. Having been raised in Japan, Sarya’s mind works like any other Japanese teenager, and she is often aware of a difference between how she looks and how she feels. Her father, Mazlan, who maintains his pride as a Kurd and a Muslim, is always telling Sarya and Lily to pray. Mazlan doesn’t want his daughters to be like the Japanese, but it bothers Sarya that she is being forced. Her little sister, Lily, is teased by her classmates for being a foreigner. She asks, “Where is the country of Kurds?” Mazlan responds, “There is no country for Kurds.” Lily doesn’t understand about her origins.
Meanwhile, Mazlan finds out that Sarya has a boyfriend. Mazlan tells Sarya to swear on the Koran that she has not committed a sin, and Sarya complies. Sarya brusquely purifies her body and goes through the motions of prayer. She says to her father, “Father, do you know what I pray for? What I want?”
Soon thereafter, Mazlan is arrested for working without a permit. Sarya blames herself for his incarceration, believing that it was because of her prayers. They are offered a choice by immigration officials – if their father returns to his country, the authorities will consider granting asylum to the daughters. When her father is sent back, what will Sarya pray for?
Achievements
2022 Berlin International Film Festival - Generation Kplus, Amnesty International Film Award Special Mention
2022 Udine Far East Film Festival - In Competition
2022 Helsinki Cine Aasia
2022 Fantasia Festival
2022 Melbourne International Film Festival
2022 Busan International Film Festival
2022 Edinburgh International Film Festival
2022 Hawaii International Film Festival
2022 Leeds International Film Festival
2022 Jogja-NETPAC Asian Film Festival - Panorama
2023 Sofia International Film Festival
Released in Japan, Hong Kong (China)
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