Netflix teams up with Hirokazu Koreeda for film and series
James R | On 10, Nov 2021
Netflix is teaming up with Hirokazu Koreeda for two projects – a film and a TV series.
Koreeda won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival for the film Shoplifters in 2018, making him the first Japanese director in 21 years to win the prize.
Now, he’s headed to Netflix, as the streaming giant looks to expand on its slate of 90 Japanese titles already produced or released. This week, Netflix is hosting its own Netflix Japan Festival to promote its growing investment in Japanese projects and storytelling, with a raft of projects greenlit, ranging from anime to live-action.
“Netflix will work with a diverse roster of creators including the ones we work with today,” said spokesperson Nao Azuma. “We hope to play a role in the history of great local talent finding their voices and delivering them to audiences everywhere, from Japan to the world.”
Koreeda is developing a drama series and a big-budget movie with Netflix, which the director has described as “different from my previous works”. He also added that “the drama series would not be realised if I didn’t collaborate with Netflix”.
The drama series will have multiple directors, with Koreeda serving as showrunner and directing several episodes, as well as incorporating younger filmmakers into the mix.
“Realistically, radical films normally have little chance of being screened in theaters. In the end, they would not be seen by the audience. It’s not just in Japan but in every country. Through streaming, these films can be actually born into the world. I think it’s important,” he added in a video.
“Take American films, for example. These are streaming films winning the Oscars including documentaries. And the amount is growing. By breaking old boundaries and limitations, there are chances to give birth to new creators and new works. It’s definitely a stage for that. I think it’s a very positive situation.”
His interviews mark a development from his comments to us in an interview to support his his 2016 film Our Little Sister.
“I am aware film has changed over the years,” he said back then. “Sound came in. Then colour. 3-D. Film is a medium that is changing. I accept that. But personally, I’m not quite sure I’m with the current trend yet. I think films are something you watch in cinemas, so I don’t think I’m there yet as a filmmaker – I’m not making films for home viewing.”
“Maybe, eventually, cinemas will disappear,” he added in that interview. “I don’t know. If that happens, then maybe I have to change the medium I work in. I don’t know. But it’s interesting.”