Shinji Aoyama

Shinji Aoyama


I consider myself a hollow container. That's what's most important when I make my films. I myself am empty.


Shinji Aoyama is a Japanese film director and novelist. He graduated from Rikkyo University. He won two awards at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival for his film Eureka. Shinji Aoyama was born in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka prefecture, Japan, where he attended Kitakyushu Midorigaoka public junior/senior high school. He graduated in 1989 from Rikkyo University, where he majored in film studies in the department of British and American Studies. While he was a student, he was deeply influenced by the theorist and film critic Shigehiko Hasumi, from whom he took classes. After graduating, Aoyama worked as an assistant director to Swiss independent film director Daniel Schmid, Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa, and others. In 1995 he made his directorial debut with the V-cinema production VERY PRIVATE LESSON, based on the manga publication of the same name. In 1996 Aoyama made HELPLESS, a film set in his native Fukuoka. His 2000 film EUREKA, also set in Fukuoka, opened at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival where it received both the FIPRESCI prize and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury. Together with the 2007 film SAD VACATION, EUREKA and Helpless comprise Aoyama’s “Kitakyushu Saga.” BACKWATER is his latest feature which premiered at Locarno IFF.

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