New Documentary Details Japan’s Country Music Culture

by This Land

08/07/2015

This Land Films is pleased to announce a new partnership with director James Payne and producer Matt Leach to produce our second feature documentary film, Far Western. This Land Films is the film and video production unit of This Land Press. Last year, This Land Films premiered its first documentary, This May Be The Last Time, at the Sundance Film Festival.

Far Western reveals a lost chapter of music history, when American country music was transplanted to Japan following WWII. Nearly 70 years later, the music remains an obsession for a dedicated group of musicians, fans, and bar owners. Far Westernis a story of how music can transcend boundaries and take root in the most unlikely of places, and takes viewers on a globe-spanning journey that includes Tulsa, Austin, Nashville, Kyoto, Osaka, and Tokyo.

The film’s director, James Payne (Okie Noodling, The Creek Runs Red, Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo), and producer, Matt Leach (This May Be The Last Time, This Land TV), are partners in FieldGuide Media and have long histories of documentary storytelling in Oklahoma.

“I’m very excited to help bring this story to the screen,” Leach said. “I love the characters and music we’ve captured and I think it will be something people haven’t seen before… The first time I heard about this story I almost couldn’t believe it and still can’t. There’s something so strange about being in a bar in Tokyo and feeling like you might actually have been transported back to Tulsa.”

“In 2007 I was in Japan producing a live-concert film for an American band when I met a singer/guitar player named Masuo Sasabe.” Payne said. “He took us to a string of honky tonks hidden in the vast cityscape of Tokyo. The walls of places such as Rockytop, Nashville, and Lone Star were blanketed with decades of photos, show posters, and Western memorabilia. We stumbled onto a strange, yet familiar, parallel world of the music culture from our home.”

Far Western will be completed later this year for festival submissions and released to the public in 2016.