Kazuhiro Soda’s ‘INLAND SEA’ will compete in two highly distinguished international film festivals for March / April 2018 – the 2018 Hong Kong International Film Festival and the 40th “Cinéma du Réel” International Film Festival in Paris.

Los Angeles, CA – February 27, 2018 – Established in 2017, the 68th Berlin Festival (2018) will present and award the second-ever Glashütte Original Documentary Award at the official Awards Ceremony in the Berlinale Palast on February 24, 2018, to one out of 18 documentary entries, from programs: Competition, Berlinale Special, Panorama, Forum, Generation, Perspektive Deutsches Kino sections and the special presentation by Culinary Cinema.

World-renowned documentarian, Kazuhiro Soda, was nominated for his silent black and white observational film in the Forum section, ‘INLAND SEA’ (“MINATOMACHI”), which patiently observes Wai-chan, a local fisherman and the other elderly inhabitants in the ancient Japanese fishing village of Ushimado.

Photo from Film De Culte.

‘INLAND SEA’ is “such a subtly moving and breathtaking documentary,” said Director Bong Joon Ho (‘THE HOST’, ‘OKJA’).

Soda thanks the ‘INLAND SEA’ representation for sales at EFM’s Berlinale from TriCoast Worldwide CEO’s, Strathford Hamilton andMarcy Levitas Hamilton, as well as TriCoast’s new art house label spearheaded byDaisy Hamilton, ROCK SALT RELEASING, alongside Dean Fernando. 

Photo: ‘Inland Sea’ Director Kazuhiro Soda and Kiyoko Kashiwagi at Berlinale with TriCoast Worldwide + ROCK SALT RELEASING sales team (Daisy Hamilton, Strathford Hamilton, Marcy Levitas Hamilton, and Genesis Torres) from Film Festivals.

Produced by Kiyoko Kashiwagi, ‘INLAND SEA’ portrays how Ushimado has been forsaken by the era of modernization in post-war Japan. It was so beloved by film director Shohei Imamura that he set two of his films there (‘BLACK RAIN’ and ‘DR. AKAGI’). Today, it is rapidly aging and in decline, while its rich, ancient culture and tight-knit community are on the verge of disappearance.

‘INLAND SEA’ is “one of the best, sharpest, most beautiful and warmest film about the outskirts and depopulation I’ve ever seen,” wrote German reviewer, Frederik Bojer Bové from POV International.

Photo from POV International.

From the feature documentary’s screening last Saturday night, Goethe Institut Japan reported, “When the movie started, laughter and couscous voices echoed from the audience. As you enter the movie, laughter will soon change to tears. There are not other movie writers taking a more thorough attitude than Soda practicing his own “Ten Commandments of Observing Films”, highlighting how Soda’s“unique method of observation movies delicately delineates parts left behind urbanization.”

For Berlinale 2018 critics ratings (scaled 0-10), ‘INLAND SEA’ has been ranked #5 in “Forum”, #11 in “Good New Films” and #25 in “All Films”, sorted by average vote. Alongside top international rankings, Film De Culte’s Nicolas Bardot rated ‘INLAND SEA’ 5/6 stars while Entr’acte’s Marina Pavido gave the “touching documentary” 8/10 stars.

Photo: Kazuhiro Soda and Kiyoko Kashiwagi at the ‘INLAND SEA’ screening at Berlinale 2018.

“Journey or dream? This seems to be the question that the director [Soda] wants to make the viewer ask himself. Probably both. And so, almost like waking up from a long dream, in the last shot, the black and white slowly leaves room for color. An evocative and powerful directorial choice that is classified as the crowning achievement of a prized and well-made work. One of the unexpected surprises of this very rich 68th Berlinale,” wrote Pavido.

Originally, ‘INLAND SEA’ was filmed and edited entirely in color until Soda’s sudden decision to change to black and white at the very last stage of post-production to emphasizes the strange effect that black and white adds to the layer of fiction, fitting the film perfectly.  

Recognized for his breathtaking and unique observational films, Soda searches in unexpected and hidden places of the everyday that are often overlooked, to seek and discover something innately human. For ‘INLAND SEA’, Soda unexpectedly records a poignant, heartbreaking scene which reminds him of the Japanese Mugen Noh Theatre, where a traveler encounters a ghost who tells the tale of a specific place.

By strictly adhering to his own “Ten Commandments” – ones that prohibit Soda from doing pre-shoot research or writing a synopsis before filming, another rule forbids the addition of music or graphic overlays to tell the story, and a third rule is that the film maker must pay for the film themselves, they can take no outside financial influence. Through these 10 rules, Soda has formed a revolutionary type of documentary, one in which he spontaneously rolls the camera. Soda’s received numerous awards, nominations and honors, beginning with his first feature documentary, ‘CAMPAIGN’ (2007, Observational Film #1 – awarded the Peabody Award in the U.S.), ‘PEACE’ (2010, Observational Film Extra – the opening film of DMZ Documentary Festival, won the Best Documentary Award at the Hong Kong International Film Festival and the Audience Award at the Tokyo Filmex), to name a few of the awards bestowed upon his observational work. 

‘INLAND SEA’ will compete in Asia’s oldest and most reputable platforms for filmmakers, the 2018 Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF) from March 19th to April 5th, 2018, as well as the 40th “Cinéma du Réel” International Film Festival in Paris from March 23rd to April 1st 2018.

ROCK SALT RELEASING has been honored to work alongside Soda with one of his two documentaries premiering at Berlinale this month. Both Soda and ROCK SALT RELEASING maintain and emphasize cinema’s ability to take the audience down deep into a narrower place, where they are forced to think and process the cinematic material.

For more information about ‘INLAND SEA’, please visit:


INLAND SEA (2018, 122 min.) Directed by Kazuhiro Soda. Editor: Kazuhiro Soda. Cinematographer: Kazuhiro Soda. Original Music: Kazuhiro Soda. Japan/USA. Silent. Laboratory X, TriCoast Worldwide, Rock Salt Releasing.

PRODUCTION COMPANY: Laboratory X – Kiyoko Kashiwagi, Kazuhiro Soda.

ROCK SALT RELEASING: Daisy Hamilton and Dean Fernando

About TriCoast Worldwide: 

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