Hamish Downie’s Feature Film, “Matcha and Vanilla” to Premiere on GagaOOLala 12/24
The Two Gay Geeks received this press release from our own, Hamish Downie about his new Feature Film that will premiere on Gay Streaming Service GagaOOLala on December 24th.
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Matcha and Vanilla Synopsis
Yuki and Ai are a long-term lesbian couple living in the closet in Japan’s traditional society. When Yuki is diagnosed with terminal cancer, they must fight against their family, the hospital and society in order to stay together until the end.
Qyoko Kudo as Ai Sato
Tomoko Hayakawa as Yuki Tanaka
Yukiko Ito as Doctor
Kazuya Moriyama as Building Manager
Asuka Goto as Noh Performer / Keiko
Adam J. Yeend as Matt O’Connor
Felicity Tillack as Journalist
Keith Lane as himself (voice)
Elan Rie as Ann
Kouichi Okamura as himself
Kane as Model
Syo Kubota as Homeless Man
with SPECIAL VOICE CAMEO
Robyn Loau as Building Manager’s Wife (voice)
“Matcha & Vanilla” is a dramatic film shot around the city of Osaka, with additional scenes shot in Los Angeles and voice work done in Arizona and Sydney, Australia. While providing social commentary on LGBT in Japan, it also explores the universal themes of love, marriage, sexism, agism, and poverty.
Despite the policy of “womenomics”, and slowly changing attitudes to women in the workplace post-marriage and children, Ai still struggles against agism and sexism in the workplace. Yuki faces the challenge of cancer without Ai as they are in the closet and hospitals don’t recognise same-sex couples as family. This film is the marriage equality debate in dramatic form.
Fear is one of my biggest muses. The “Never Let You Down” music video was about the time I was getting stalked by a fan. “An American Piano” was my cry for world peace at a time that felt like we were going to have another world war. And “Silence” was about an abusive relationship I was in. Now, with my debut feature film, “Matcha & Vanilla” I’m tackling both love and fear. I’ve been in a long term relationship for a while, and moved to Osaka to be closer with this person. Things are going well, although we don’t have a lot of money.
My biggest fear is that one of us gets sick, and we can’t financially support each other. More importantly, as we don’t have Marriage Equality in Japan, if my partner were to get sick and go into hospital, I might never see him again as I’m not recognised as being his family. This is a real fear that all LGBT couples in Japan have. So, I wanted to hold up a mirror to that with this film. Making the film was very cathartic for me, and for our team.
I’ve definitely been inspired by the Australian film “Three Dollars” and “Happy Together” (one of the few LGBT films about poverty), as well as “Last Days” by Gus Van Sant. I wrote the script for Tomoko Hayakawa and Qyoko Kudo especially. They are the two best actors I know in Japan and we’ve collaborated on many projects now. I also needed Paul Leeming both behind the lens and as the colourist to realise the style of the 80s and 90s arthouse films that I love.
About Hamish Downie
Hamish Downie is an Australian LGBT filmmaker and producer based in Osaka, Japan. After teaming up with Paul Leeming and directing some music videos for word music diva, Robyn Loau, he made his first short film, “Silence”, which did well on the festival circuit in Europe. Buoyed by that success, he ventured out to make his first feature film, “Matcha & Vanilla” which reunites the creative team
Hamish hopes to continue to make films that have a multi-cultural focus, and in the future would like to make an animated series. For his next project, he hopes to make a musical
See Matcha and Vanilla on the Gay Streaming Service GagaOOLala starting December 24th.
1 thought on “Hamish Downie’s Feature Film, “Matcha and Vanilla” to Premiere on GagaOOLala 12/24”
Wait. HOW did I miss that this was a film our own Hamish had made? No idea, but I did. Now I cannot wait to see it!