Award-winning Oklahoma City-based Toy Gun Films has finished shooting its sophomore short film in Tokyo titled “Paper Flower.”
The Oklahoma City premiere of “Paper Flower” is set for 5 p.m. Saturday at Harkins Bricktown 16, 150 E Reno Ave. Doors will open at 4:15 p.m.
Brent Green and Jeff Goldberg co-founded Toy Gun Films in 2009. Six months later, they were on location in Colombia producing “En Tus Manos,” which has been screened by about 3 million young people throughout Latin America via the alternative distribution network of their partner organization, One Hope. “En Tus Manos” was named best short film at the Beverly Hills Film Festival and the Los Angeles International Film Festival.
“Paper Flower” explores the issues surrounding the phenomenon of Enjo-kosai, or compensated dating, in Japan. In compensated dating, men give money or gifts to teenage girls, often from upper-middle class families, in return for dates that often end with sex. The film is scheduled for release at the beginning of 2011. Green and Goldberg served as director and screenwriter, respectively, as well as producers.
“We were fascinated by the notion that young affluent girls in Tokyo would participate in Enjo-kosai, and we wanted to develop a film that explored the relational pressures and societal values that seem to motivate this sort of behavior,” Green said. “Our hope is that this film will encourage its audience to take a step back and re-evaluate the various forces in their lives that they may be allowing to determine their own self-worth.”
Shot entirely in Japanese and on location in Tokyo, “Paper Flower” tells the story of two childhood friends growing up in Tokyo, where compensated dating has become a disturbing trend. When they each experience heartbreaking losses, they are forced to decide how much of themselves they are willing to give to find true love.
“What we found through this process is that there is an intense desire for love and acceptance, a profound fear of failure and an unhealthy obsession with the acquisition of material possessions, which are all themes that are by no means exclusive to Japanese culture but are in fact very relevant to American culture and a good portion of the world,” Goldberg said.
Toy Gun Films collaborated with Dentsu Casting and Entertainment in Tokyo to hire an ensemble cast including Japanese stars Anna Ishibashi, Ayami Kakiuchi and Yoshiyuki Morishita. Renowned music video director Thomas Marvel served as the film's cinematographer, and musician Aska Matsumiya composed an original score for the film. Matsumiya received critical acclaim for writing and composing the music for Spike Jonze's recent short film “I'm Here.”
Headquartered in Oklahoma City with an office in Los Angeles, Toy Gun Films is an independent, nonprofit film production company in the process of developing a diverse slate of art house films that champion moral courage. The company is in active development on films to be produced in Africa and Russia.
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