Kowatanda films was founded by Anshul Chauhan and Mina Moteki in Tokyo in 2016, later joined by writer Rand Colter. The first two projects produced that same year were single location short films, SOAP and What’s Left of Us. The following year, a lengthier short, Kawaguchi 4256 finished production, which served as a prototype for Kowatanda’s first feature film Bad Poetry Tokyo, also completed in 2017.
Bad Poetry Tokyo told the story of an aging hostess who returns to her rural hometown for Tokyo after being forced to give up on her dreams, but she soon remembers the reasons she had for leaving that place five years previously. The dramatic story, as well as the emotional performance from Shuna Iijima, resulted in several film festival selections and awards, including Best Actress from both Osaka Asian Film Festival and Slemani International Film festival, Best Film from Venice Film Week, and a Best Director Nomination at the Efebo D’oro awards in Italy, all in 2018. Bad Poetry finally saw theatrical release in Japan on the 18th of January 2020, distributed by Uzumasa.
2018 also saw the beginning of the development of Kowatanda’s second feature film, Kontora. This film, shot in black and white about a mysterious backwards-walking stranger helping a high school girl uncover her grandfather’s past, finished production in April 2019 and had its premiere at Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (PÖFF) in November 2019. Here, it won the Grand Prix and Best Music awards in the main competition category, which resulted in invitations to future festivals as well as significant attention from the foreign press. This was the first time a film from Japan had won the Grand Prix at the PÖFF. Later Kontora won Best Actor at Osaka Asian Film Festival and Best Film Obayashi Prize at Japan Cuts 2020. Kowatanda films is in preparations for their thrid feature film scheduled to release 2021.
ANSHUL CHAUHAN [Producer / Director / Writer]
Anshul Chauhan was born in north India in 1986. After attending military academy and graduating university with an Arts degree, he soon afterwards found himself working as an animator starting in 2006 with Paprikaas Studios Pvt Ltd (now Technicolor India). His work included projects such as Farm Kids and Back at the Barnyard by Nickelodeon, as well as animation for the National award-winning Indian film Delhi Safari. In addition, he acted as the team leader for BBC TVʼs Everythingʼs Rosie. In 2011, he relocated to Tokyo where he was employed by Polygon Pictures to work on projects such as the Emmy Award-winning Tron Uprising by Disney XD, as well as the Transformers television series. Eventually, he found himself working at OLM pictures on the Pacman animated series by Bandai Namco before moving on to Square Enix. There, he worked on a number of large-scale animation projects including Final Fantasy 15 - both the game as well as the tie-in film KingsGlaive - Kingdom Hearts 3, and Gantz:0 among others. During the time he was employed as an animator, Anshul also pursued his personal passion as a director, resulting in the creation of his independent studio Kowatanda films in 2016, which has so far seen the production of three shorts and two feature films that have won several awards and seen critical success at international film festivals.
MINA MOTEKI [Producer / Translator / Animator]
Mina Moteki was born in Nagano, Japan in 1987. After graduating from the University of Foreign Studies and studying design for graphic communication in the USA, she went on to pursue her career in Animation starting in 2011. Her works include Final Fantasy XV, Kings Glaive, Gants:O among others. In 2016, she co-founded Kowatanda films with Anshul Chauhan and has acted as a producer and translator for every project to date while continuing her work as an animator.