Strand Releasing has acquired North American rights to Christopher Makoto Yogi’s “I Was a Simple Man” which stars Constance Wu (“Crazy Rich Asians”) and had its world premiere at this year’s Sundance film festival.
A lyrical ghost story set in the lush, Hawaiian countryside, the film follows Masao (Steve Iwamoto) whose life is slowly fading away because of a terminal illness. As his estranged family members struggle to care for him, Masao is visited by his deceased wife Grace (Wu) and is forced to confront the decisions of his past.
Spanning multiple generations, “I Was a Simple Man” features a rich ensemble of Asian American and Native Hawaiian actors, including Iwamoto, Wu, Kanoa Goo, Tim Chiou and Chanel Akiko Hirai. The film participated in the Sundance Directors and Screenwriters Labs, as well as Sundance Catalyst.
“I was lucky enough to be introduced to Chris and this project at the Sundance Labs, but I was already a big fan of his work,” said Marcus Hu, Strand Releasing’s co-president. “Having seen the film come to life, from its development stage to its premiere, I’m particularly excited and proud to share with audiences Chris’s singular vision,” added Hu.
Strand plans for a late fall release. “I Was a Simple Man” has also been supported by Cinereach, Film Independent, Jerome Foundation and The Gotham.
“We are enormous fans of Strand Releasing and are elated to be partnering with them on our release,” said Yogi. “We made this film to be experienced in cinemas and cannot wait for it to be seen together with audiences in theaters.”
“I Was a Simple Man” was shot entirely on Oahu, Hawaii, in the Summer of 2019, and was produced by Talk Tree Production, in association with Flies Collective. Producers are Sarah S. Kim, Christopher Makoto Yogi, Matthew Petock, and Yamato Cibulka.
Yogi’s critically acclaimed 2018 feature debut, “August at Akiko’s,” is currently streaming on Criterion Channel. Yogi is also developing a series about the acclaimed Asian American artist Isamu Noguchi and a historical/sci-fi feature set in Hawaii.
Yogi is repped by 2AM and CAA. The deal was negotiated by Jon Gerrans of Strand Releasing and the UTA Independent Film Group on behalf of the filmmakers.
Strand Releasing’s current slate includes several international Oscar entries, including Anthony Chen’s “The Wet Season,” Majid Majidi’s “Sun Children,” Agnieszka Holland’s “Charlatan,” and the re-release of Wayne Wang’s “Chan is Missing,” as well as “Dim Sum.”