My Small Land (working title) (HD / color / 120 / Japan)
AOI Pro. Inc.
Financing, Script Development
Emma Kawawada 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.
Joining AOI Pro. Inc. in 2016, Banse Megumi worked as an assistant producer for the comedy hit Teiichi: Battle of Supreme High (Nagai Akira, 2017). After collaborating with her mentor Kore-eda on his latest feature, Shoplifters (Kore-eda Hirokazu, 2018), My Small Land will be her debut as producer.
AOI Pro. is an all-encompassing communications production company whose core business continues to be commercial film production. With its long history in commercial filmmaking, feature films produced by AOI Pro. have also received critical acclaim in recent years. Shoplifters (Kore-eda Hirokazu, 2018), financed and produced by Fuji Television Network, GAGA, and AOI Pro., won the prestigious Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival 2018. Other feature films by AOI Pro. include The Long Excuse (Nishikawa Miwa, 2016), After the Storm (Kore-eda Hirokazu, 2016), and His Lost Name (Hirose Nanako, 2018).
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?