AIFF on the Small Screen: The Birth of Saké

The Birth of Saké

The Birth of Saké

The Birth of Saké
AIFF2016 Les Blank Best Documentary: Honorable Mention
Find it on:  iTunes
93 minutes
Director: Erik Shirai
Year: AIFF2016
Country: USA

In our modern mechanized world, where heavily automated, mass produced goods predominate, an eclectic brotherhood of manual laborers brave un- usual working conditions to make world-class saké at Yoshida Brewery, a small, 144-year-old family-owned brewery in northern Japan. In this character-driven story, the men — and they are only men — range in age from 20 to 70. Leaving their families and homes behind to live and work at the brewery, this surrogate family must cope with harsh six-month winters as they pay painstaking attention to the art of saké-making. This intimate, nuanced documentary is a rare and fascinating look at a 2,000 year-old tradition.

Director’s Statement: Erik Shirai

As a Japanese-American, I wanted to share the story of my own people and my culture. I see so many films made about Japan and Japanese culture through the eyes of foreigners and I felt that it was important that this film be made with a Japanese perspective. This film is a tribute to all Japanese artisans who dedicate themselves to their craft.