Sarya has lived in Japan since she was five. She pretends to be German to her friends, which is easier than telling the truth. In reality, Sarya’s parents are Kurds who travelled from Turkey to Japan as refugees. Furthermore, she is responsible for her younger siblings while her father is at work. Despite the hardships, the future seems bright and soon, Sarya will be attending college. A tender relationship develops with her work colleague Sota, and her own feelings begin to surface. All Sarya wants is a completely normal life. However, when her father’s application for asylum is denied, she is increasingly torn apart. (Berlin International Film Festival 2022)
Kore-eda Hirokazu’s Bun-Buku Productions has been nurturing directors in recent years, Nishikawa Miwa of course, but also documentary filmmaker Sunada Mami of Death of a Japanese Salesman and The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness; and most recently Hirose Nanako who debuted with His Lost Name and followed with the documentary Book-Paper-Scissors. Ibaraki Prefecture native Kawawada Emma studied theatre and film at Waseda University prior to joining Bun-Buku Productions in 2014. She has been an assistant to director Kore-eda on The Third Murder and Hirose on His Lost Name.
For her commercial debut movie, she is tackling the timely issue of refugees from the perspective of young people who are transplanted from their home country and culture into another, grow up and become acculturated there, but are still impacted by their identity as a refugee in a foreign country. Kawawada’s complex look at adolescence tinged by the global issues of finding a home and fighting to belong there was invited to premiere at the 72nd Berlin International Film Festival’s Generation section where it won the Amnesty International Film Award Special Mention.