*”Out of My Hand” is coming to theaters soon (Nov. 13, 2015). The fictional docu-styled film is an astonishing story of an immigrant escaping the rubber plantations of Liberia and risking everything to start a life in Brooklyn as a yellow cab driver. Takeshi Fukunaga is the man who brought this story to life.
Takeshi is a filmmaker based in Brooklyn, New York. Born in Japan, he first came to the United States to study and has remained ever since. Fukunaga has been involved in smaller projects and worked as an editor to continue working in his passion. He brings that passion to his films.
For his first feature project he knew he wanted to showcase the lives of everyday people that make things happen like immigrants and taxicab drivers. He began dreaming up ideas and in the spring of 2013 he traveled to Liberia to shoot part of his first narrative film, which would later be known as “Out of My Hand (OHM).” It was then that Takeshi met cinematographer and friend Ryo Murakami.
“I saw the footage of the plantation workers, I was very struck by it,” Fukunaga said of Ryo’s footage of the life of plantation workers in Liberia.
He said it was “How they maintained strength and dignity despite severe work conditions” that pierced him deeply. “There are always people behind what we use everyday, what we encounter on a day to day basis.”
The title “Out of My Hand” has various meanings including the saying “it is out of my hands” or beyond my control. This relates to the plantation workers, resonates with the main character in OHM and even the director. As he tragically lost his friend Murakami, who died after he contracted malaria on their shoot, things were out of his hands, but he changed that around by preserving Ryo’s memory. With the help of his producing partner Donari Braxton, Takeshi finished the film despite the odds.
The film caught the attention of director and founder of ARRAY Ava DuVernay and the partnership fell into place.
“She saw it at the North American premiere at the LA Film Festival and they loved it. They reached out to us,” Fukunaga recalls, “It was really exciting to work with them.”
Takshi Fukunaga has gained support and awards from Berlinale Talents, National Board of Review, and Independent Filmmaker Project.
Out of My Hand has been included as part of “American Independents in Berlin” presented by IFP and Sundance Institute at the European Film Market and will be making its’ debut at the Downtown Independent in Los Angeles and IFC Center in New York on November 13, 2015. For more dates and locations visit http://www.arraynow.com/out-of-my-hand/.
* Ryo Murakami’s incomplete documentary footage has been made into a finished first person memoir/documentary titled Notes from Liberia.