May 11

[press release] Japanese Punk Documentary Awarded Japan Foundation Grant

Tokyo, Japan May 12, 2009 –”Live House,” an upcoming feature-length
music documentary on punk rock clubs in Japan directed by Kevin Mcgue,
has been awarded a grant by the Japan Foundation, a non-profit
organization that carries out arts and cultural exchange programs to
enhance mutual understanding among countries throughout the world.

Live House Movie

The title of the documentary, “Live House,” is a term used in Japan to
describe small live music venues featuring underground rock and punk
acts. “They are different than bars in other countries that feature
music,” says director Mcgue, an American-born journalist based in
Tokyo for eight years. “In other countries, most people will be
drinking at the bar while a band plays in the corner. In Japan, the
focus is firmly on the music, and the fans really get into it. It is a
unique kind of venue, and a unique way to enjoy music. It is a culture
that has developed in Japan.”

The documentary focuses on the fans and music who fill the nearly
1,000 live houses across Japan every night, as well as delving into
the lives of the musicians behind the music. As the underground music
scene is not lucrative, many musicians must struggle to balance their
music activities with their lives in the Japanese workforce, where
conformity is valued.

Some of the bands featured in the documentary have achieved
international success during the one year of filming. Experimental duo
Moja joined major festivals in Canada and the US, and the girls rock
trio Bo-Peep toured successfully in the UK and the US, winning
accolades in the New York Times and The Guardian UK newspapers.

“Underground Japanese rock music will be the next wave of Japanese
culture to hit it big abroad,” say Ryohei Tsutsui, the film’s
producer. “Manga and anime have enjoyed great popularity outside of
Japan, and the music culture centering around live houses will be

Tsutsui has produced a number of films in Japan, including the recent
“Kokoro” staring Koji Yakusho. Serving as associate producers is
Sabina Friedland, who worked in the production crew of films in the US
and Germany, including the Oscar-nominated “The Baader Meinhof
Complex.” Mcgue previously directed “The Blue Dream,” a short film
shot in Berlin and Tokyo.

The Japan Foundation, founded in 1972, carries out a variety of
programs to promote art and cultural exchange, Japanese language
education, and Japanese studies. In 2006, the Foundation began
awarding grants to films and television programs that can spread
Japanese culture overseas. “Live House” is one of the productions
selected for support in the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

“Live House” will be released in autumn, 2009.