FIRST SAMURAI IN NEW YORK

FIRST SAMURAI IN NEW YORK

WRITTEN, DIRECTED, PRODUCED, EDITED by JUSTIN AMBROSINO

In the late 1800s, Chiyo Naito, trained as a samurai by her late father, immigrates with her widowed mother and siblings from Japan to New York, in search of a better life… but she finds racism and violence instead.

Tasked with telling a story with ‘violence’ at its core, I decided to explore the theme that maybe violence is never ending, that even self-defense can give rise to revenge. It’s a sickening feeling to imagine the possibility that whether we stand and fight or run away, we might never be able to escape the vicious cycle.

In terms of filmmaking style, I tried to imagine how Akira Kurosawa might have handled the material about the first Japanese immigrants to come to America. Kurosawa confidently mixed realism with the cinematic, so I thought this film could feel like a bridge between a samurai epic, a western and a New York movie.

Starring Maho Honda, Gabe Fazio and Mike Houston, this short was designed to be a teaser for a longer project, executive produced by Y.K. Well Enterprise and TATE Hatoryu NY in association with Fuzz on the Lens. As a teaser, the challenge was to make a film that was ‘open ended’ but also felt complete. My focus was making the theme clear in the final moments to give a sense of revelation.

FIRST SAMURAI IN NEW YORK was filmed with an Arri-Alexa over the course of 3 days at Historic Richmond Town, Staten Island.

SCREENINGS:

TWIN CITIES FILM FESTIVAL – Minnesota, 2019

HOLLYSHORTS FILM FESTIVAL – Los Angeles, 2019

FARCUME FARO FILM FESTIVAL – Portugal, 2018

KADOMA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL – Japan, 2018

MOVIEVALLEY BAZZACINEMA FILM FESTIVAL – Italy, 2018

LA SHORTS FESTIVAL – Los Angeles, 2018

SHADED VIEW ON FASHION FILM FESTIVAL- France, 2018

NY SHORTS FESTIVAL – New York, 2018

ACTION ON FILM FESTIVAL – Las Vegas, 2018

NY JAPAN CINEFEST – New York, 2018

ARTEMIS WOMEN IN ACTION FILM FESTIVAL – Los Angeles, 2018

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