Tell us about yourself. How did you become an artist?
Tomoko Karina was born in the metropolitan city of Tokyo, Japan to loving parents. Her father, Mikio, was an ambitious aspiring entrepreneur, a son of a blue color single mother in Kyoto, and her mother, Yoshiko, was a sheltered daughter of a steel mogul. Being hugely influenced by her film and history-fanatic father, Tomoko grew up watching classic Hollywood films and Japanese period dramas. Hollywood has been a dream for Tomoko and her father. After graduating from a university in Tokyo, Tomoko moved to LA to pursue her dream of working in the movie industry. Then Tomoko found the greatest pleasure in creating and telling a story from her point of view. She has written/ directed a play, "2 lies, 3 dreams, and Hollywood" in Tokyo. Then she debuted as a film writer/ director with the WWII epic, "Camellia- Kerria- Pink (山茶花～山吹～撫子)", which won the Best Foreign Mini Film at BPPI Film Festival and was a semifinalist at Women-Voice-Now Film Festival. In 2021, Tomoko has received a scholarship from Hollywood Fringe Festival for her writing/ directing project, “Japanese Love Story”, which opened at The Broadwater Theater in Los Angeles in 2021 and earned Broadway World Regional Award - Los Angeles for Best Play, Best Direction, and Best Actress. In 2022, Tomoko wrote and directed “SHIZUKA – 静” (The Zephyr Theatre), which was also nominated at Broadway World Regional Award - Los Angeles for Best Play, Best Direction, and Best Actress. Tomoko Karina Kakimoto is also a published author of the novel, 「堕天使」, “Fallen Angle” in Japan. She is also an actress, playing Hikaru in “Cobra Kai” (Netflix), Roxy in “Another Tango” (Hallmark Movie), “Balm in Gilead” by Pulitzer award-winning playwright Lanford Willson, directed by acclaimed director Robert Allan Ackerman and many others. Tomoko currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.
What was your first job in the art field?
As an Actor
What makes you want to tell stories? In other words, what are the themes/issues you want to incorporate into your work?
I love Biopics and history-based stories. truth is stranger than fiction😊
Please tell us about your vision and your method of approaching a new project.
When I find a topic or dynamic between 2 people or between the human psyche or sociality and the main character or even just a key dialogue of the main character, that really excites me or can’t help thinking about it, I explore the truth and story arc from there.
Who are your filmmaking influencers? What are the films that were influential for you?
Krzysztof Kieslowski's "The Double Life of Veronique" or any of his works, François Truffaut, Kon Ichikawa, Frank Capra, Luciano Visconti, Kozaburo Yoshimura, Roman Polanski especially “Tess”, Yasujiro Ozu, Kenji Mizoguchi, Japanese period piece drama, and every films I have ever watched
How do you think the industry is changing? How has COVID affected independent filmmaking/creation?
We need more budget and crew for Covid measures. The industry is becoming diverse and global.
What advice would you give to aspiring artists? What are some of the things they must follow/avoid?
Find your voice and know exactly what you like.
What do you think people like to watch these days? Has the pandemic changed people's taste?
No. People like what people like. People’s taste is always individually different and unique.
Nevertheless, Conspiracy theories and AI seem to be trending😊
Please tell us about your upcoming projects.
Short - Time tripping Comedy with the unapologetically romantic protagonist – Short
Feature – Drama about 2 girls, born in the same environment and circumstances, lead very different lives because of what they were born with. The film questions ultimate human instincts and unfairness.