The new documentary from This Land Films tells the incredible story of the transplant of American country music to post-World War II Japan.

This Land Films premieres the documentary film ‘Far Western’ at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam

by This Land


It was just announced that the second feature-length documentary from This Land Films, Far Western, will have its world premiere this November at the 2016 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA). Since its launch in 1988 IDFA has been one of the world’s leading documentary film festivals, dedicated to the exhibition and promotion of ground-breaking, creative documentaries.

From director James Payne and producer Matt Leach, Far Western illuminates this lost chapter of music history through portraits of Japanese musicians as they travel from cities such as Tokyo and Osaka to the hubs of American music culture in Nashville, TN, and Austin, TX.

Charlie Nagatani began his band Charlie and the Cannonballs in 1965. “There’s been over 70 Cannonballs during the band’s 50-plus year history,” says director James Payne. “At the age of 81, Charlie performs well over 300 shows a year in his honky-tonk, Good Time Charlie’s, in his hometown of Kumamoto, Japan.”

Masuo Sasabe’s band The Blueside of Lonesome is one of Japan’s most renowned bluegrass bands. Sasabe was in the first wave of Japanese to travel to America seeking the source of traditional Americana music in the early 1970s.

“It’s been a great joy to get to know these special musicians and get a look at a piece of music history that very few people even knew existed,” says the film’s producer, Matt Leach.

The film follows these musicians as they make their pilgrimages to play in honky-tonks and festivals across America, along with the biggest stage in country music, the Grand Ole Opry. Far Western explores the uncanny ability of a simple form of music to cross oceans and language barriers, forming a wonderfully strange and little known link between the two countries.

Far Western premieres November 18th, at IDFA in Amsterdam. It is the second film from This Land Films, a subsidiary of This Land Press media company, which publishes This Land magazine in Tulsa, Oklahoma. For updates, please visit or send your interview requests to