Japanese comedian Shinagawa Hiroshi has been set as the director of “Among the Dead,” the first project flowing from the co-production and co-financing venture between U.S.-based People of Culture Studios and Japan’s Yoshimoto Kogyo.
The previously-announced project is an English-language, found footage zombie movie in which, following an apocalypse of the undead, one emotionally unstable man abandons friends and family to go live among the few remaining zombies before they’re all gone.
The screenplay was written by father/daughter duo, Andy Cosby (“Hellboy,” “2 Guns” “Eureka”) and Charlie Danger Cosby, collectively known as Midnight Pizza. Other writing credits go to Brian Caldirola, Patrick Hasson and Juan Carlos Saizarbitoria.
Shinagawa is one-half of the comedy duo Shinagawa Shoji, alongside Tomoharu Shoji, and has a considerable acting filmography in his own right including “Kantoku Kansen,” “Deadman Inferno,” “One Third,” and “Drop.” Shinagawa additionally served as director, writer, and starred in the 2011 comedy-drama “Slapstick Brothers,” which won a Citizen’s Choice Award for feature film and an award from the Japanese Academy for rookie of the year. This will be his first English-language directing assignment.
“I am so grateful to my team at Yoshimoto and the folks at PoC Studios for helping to bring my horror vision to life in the place where all magic happens, Hollywood. The teenage me who stayed up late nights watching American horror movies would be so proud,” said Shinagawa.
“Among the Dead” is being produced by Andy Cosby, who serves as chief creative officer of PoC Studios, and Wada Ryoichi, the co-creator of Japanese indie hit film “One Cut of the Dead,” which was the inspiration for Cannes 2022 opening night film “Final Cut.” Executive producers are Labid Aziz, who serves as CEO of PoC Studios, and Mike Ikeda.
“In 1969, George Romero brought zombies into the cinematic spotlight with his pivotal horror movie masterpiece, ‘Night of the Living Dead. Since then, zombies have become a staple of the film industry, featuring various heroes and heroines fleeing in terror at the very sight of these gruesome creatures,” said Cosby. “Now, more than four decades later, ‘Among the Dead’ documents the first man daring and insane enough to head in the opposite direction.”
“Among the Dead” is the second collaboration between PoC Studios and Wada, following “Ninja Masx,” Wada’s genre-bending mashup of ninja lore, apocalyptic genre, music, dance, and dynamic anime action.
“This film exemplifies the very essence of our vision at People of Culture Studios: first, to build bridges between cultures and second to celebrate their people,” said Aziz, PoC Studios co-founder and CEO. “This is an English-language script being directed by a native Japanese speaking director. Those differences haven’t kept us apart, they have led to a beautiful story shaped by a creative team that doesn’t share a common language other than the language (and love) of cinema.”
Yoshimoto Kogyo is one of Japan’s oldest and largest entertainment conglomerates founded in 1912 featuring a roster of around 6,000 performers and creators active in all areas of live comedy, the stage, movies, television, radio, podcasts and online.
PoC Studios most recently released the film “A Snowy Day in Oakland” written and directed by Kim Bass, starring Nicole Ari Parker, Loretta Devine and Kimberly Elise. PoC’s current slate also includes ‘Tokyo Under Night,” written by Ron Bass (“Rain Man”) and “Sky & Luna”– a collaboration between PoC, Man of Action Entertainment (“Ben 10” and “Big Hero 6”), Creation Station, and Composition Media, and directed by Duncan Rouleau
PoC also recently began production on animation “Once Upon Again,” an original story written by Mike Grimm, in which a young witch gets the opportunity to live one quintessential day over and over in hopes of breaking a lifelong curse.
The third animated film in the current slate is “Little St. Nick” an origin story of Santa Claus based on original IP by Joe Bockol that is being co-directed by Carl Reed & Joe Bockol.
Separately, PoC Studios recently agreed a joint venture with management and production company Atomik Content to co-manage talent and develop, produce and distribute feature films, TV series and hybrid projects with a focus on elevated action films. The first talent signed through the joint venture was Ray Seto, MMA legend and founder & president of the Professional Fighters’ League.