Erik Shirai

DIRECTOR / FOUNDER

Erik Shirai is an Japanese-American born and raised in the US. He was raised by the strength and will of his mother, Yoko Shirai, who to this day is still his biggest influence. Erik is a self-taught visual artist working in the medium of film, painting and photography. He began working on film sets as a lighting technician at the age of 19 and patiently worked his way to becoming a cinematographer, then a director. Erik has traveled around on the world and his work can be found on renowned documentaries, TV shows and commercials.
Erik recently won the 'Special Jury Mention for Best Documentary Director' at 2015 Tribeca Film Festival for his feature film 'The Birth of Saké'. The film also won Best Documentary Film at the 2016 Palm Springs International Film Festival and was also an Official Selection at the prestigious San Sebastian Film Festival. He is currently developing his first feature narrative film in Northern Japan entitled Umi.

Masako Tsumura

Producer

Born in Japan, Masako Tsumura worked as a local producer for major Japanese TV networks including Fuji TV, TV Tokyo, and NHK. She edited an award winning documentary "Arakimentari" in 2004. In 2008, she directed and produced “Fire Under the Snow,” a feature documentary about the Venerable Palden Gyatso who was a political prisoner for 33 years. The film was premiered at Tribeca, screened at dozens of film festivals worldwide, and the film was distributed theatrically in Japan in 2010. Most recently, she produced “The Birth of Saké,” which won Best Documentary Film at the 2016 Palm Springs International Film Festival. The film was also an official Selection at the prestigious San Sebastian Film Festival, and aired on PBS POV in 2016. In 2017, the film received the James Beard Foundation Broadcast Media Award. Masako received an M.A.in Media Studies from The New School University.