Over 450 titles from around the world, Paris based Wild Bunch is one of the famous international sales companies. Established in 2002 by co-founder Vincent Maraval, the titles include Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away, Darren Aronofsky’s Wrestler, and Ken Loach’s Looking for Eric which has great festival recognitions as well as success of global business: regularly honored at both European and international festivals is a huge advantage in the company's value.
Vincent continually contributes to Japanese cinema for expand the global recognition, because he loves Japanese cinema which reflected the long-time history and its unique story-telling that others could not have done. The popular recent acquisition from Hirokazu Kore-eda, Like Father Like Son won the jury prize at 2013 Cannes Film Festival and his latest film Umimachi Diary nominated the competition at 2015 Cannes Film Festival. Furthermore, he found another great director named Tetsuya Nakashima directing a hybrid film The World of Kanako, which goes to next stage.
Why did you start selling Japanese films and what is the key thing that convinced you?
Because I like historically Japanese cinema. Of course, I love Akira Kurosawa, Yasujiro Ozu, Nagisa Oshima, and Shohei Imamura, but when I started the company called Wild Bunch the Japanese cinema was at the top again: Kinji Fukasaku has delivered Battle Royale, Hideo Nakata's The Ring, Takeshi Kitano's Kikujiro's Summer / Hana-bi so I have very quickly digged into the Japanese cinema. We started handling Genmi by Shinya Tsukamoto, Eureka by Shinji Aoyama, Hotaru by Naomi Kawase, Distance by Hirokazu Kore-eda, and Gojoe by Mamoru Oshii which allowed me to show all type of Japanese cinemas internationally.
In the meantime, we have tried to convince Studio Ghibli to give us a chance of handling Spirited Away, because we can do a good work globally with the film and respect their philosophy as well. Finally We love working with them and found their spirits we do defend. As a result, Studio Ghibli is an significant importance in our history: it's not only the quality of films they produce, but also we keep the value they want to defend. Recently we have developed a relationship with Gaga corporation and the CEO Tom Yoda for whom we respect hugly, then decided to work together on Hirokazu Kore-eda's I wish and latest film Like Father Like Son since we were a fan of his previous film Distance.
We now discover a new ultra talented Japanese director Tetsuya Nakashima who have just completed The World of Kanako. Meanwhile we have also worked with Animation studio Madhouse and Production IG.
What do Japanese films mean to you? What makes Japanese films different to films from other countries?
I think Japanese cinemas is flexible which is not limited performance compared to our (French) films so there are a lot of crazy and more visualized cinemas appeared. Also Japanese cinema has the long-time history that based on a lof of original stories which is very different from ours. On the one hand these cinemas is still haunted by ecological catastrophes / WWⅡ, which gives us a unique soul as well.
Akira Kurosawa is still one of the successful Japanese directors internationally, what do Japanese directors, production companies, and producers need to reach his level of success globally?
As I said, Studio Ghibli, Mad House and Production IG are powerful companies in terms of creativity, then Gaga corporation has a good knowledge of international market so I hope they should develop the value on production. While Japanese independent directors, including Takashi Miike, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, and Sion Sono is a good to develop their own way. Studio Ghibli has successfully launched a new talented director that enhances international recognition, and Hirokazu Kore-eda will become more international film director than Almodovar or Lars von Trier. Apparently, Japanese industry is a well-balanced!