From today's Japan Today:
A film directed by a 14-year-old boy has gained such popularity in his native Okinawa Prefecture that it will be commercially screened at theaters on the mainland beginning with three cinemas in Tokyo and Yokohama this weekend.
The feature film titled "Yagi no Boken" (adventure of a goat) by Ryugo Nakamura, a third-year student at Okinawa Higashi Junior High School in Okinawa City, has drawn 40,000 viewers during screenings at community centers in the prefecture last year, leading to the upcoming theatrical release.
The film depicts lives of local boys and other people in the Yambaru area in the northern part of Okinawa Island through the escape of a goat kept for food.
"Goats are food in Okinawa," Nakamura said. "Many films portray Okinawa like a tropical paradise. I hope people will know about its real culture and tradition."
Producer Yuichi Ide said, "I would like people across the country to see this film because of its quality. You would not believe it was shot by a junior high school student."
Nakamura, who will turn 15 on Monday, began shooting independent movies when he was eight with the video camera of his father who died in an accident. He has created more than 30 short films thus far.
Critics raved about his short film "Yagi no Sampo" (a goat on a walk), which served as the groundwork for the latest feature, at the Okinawa tourism drama competition in 2009.
For the latest movie, most actors and crew members were chosen from top local professionals, and Cocco, a renowned female singer born and raised in Okinawa, sings the theme song of the movie.
Nakamura wrote a letter to Cocco asking her to provide the song for the film.
The film is scheduled to hit theaters in many parts of Japan after being released in Tokyo and Yokohama on Saturday.