It was summer when a stranger from Tokyo arrived at “Iya”, where the riches of nature still abound. This young man, named Kudo, was willing to live his new, self-sufficient life. He was exhausted by city life, and believed this beautiful land would give him some rest. On the contrary, the reality was not as easy as he thought. There was a confliction between a local construction company and a group of nature conservationists. Farmers are trying to save their harvests from harmful animals such as deer and monkeys. People are fighting for their own purposes: to get their job, to save the environment, or to survive.

One day, Kudo met Grandpa and a girl Haruna lives in the heart of the mountains. It was far away from any human habitations. No electricity, no gas, there was nothing but the nature. Their modest and humble life went by slow, and seemed eternal as if time stops.

Every morning, Grandpa climbs up the mountain to go to the little shrine to offer Omiki (sake) to the mountain god. Haruna goes to high school an hour away from home, and after that, helps Grandpa to plow his field. Feeling his heart gradually gets healed, Kudo thought that he finally found what he was looking for in their calm life. Soon Kudo started trying to transform a piece of wasteland into his own field.

Winter came. Snowstorm rages and wild beasts waste the fields even worse. Although Kudo has become used to the life in Iya, nature was harsh and he was too weak. Kudo despaired of himself, realized he would not be able to live without modern conveniences that he used to have in Tokyo.

On the other hand, a group of nature conservationists made their protest much stronger. “Save Iya! Save Iya!” Their voice echoed through the hills. But they too realized their movement was unsuccessful in the end.

Grandpa starts loosing his health, but he never stops climbing mountains whatever Haruna says. Haruna’s mind was clouded with anxiety that her life with Grandpa would no longer continue. And suddenly, without saying anything, Grandpa disappeared and never came back.

It was hard for Haruna to understand the loss of Grandpa but she also knew it was time to leave her home and live her own life. She decided to move to Tokyo to continue to college, and there she started working on an invention to get back her life in Iya with Grandpa.

7 years later, in Tokyo, Haruna received a letter from her childhood friend from Iya saying that she wants Haruna to see her baby. Haruna hardly remember about Iya and even about Grandpa. The only thing connected Haruna and Iya was her invention she was working on but it ended up in failure and disappointment. But somehow, this letter led her mind to Iya again.

Soon after, she was on the bus driving through the mountains of Iya. And what she saw there was Kudo looks just like Grandpa.

Tetsuichiro Tsuta was born on June 29, 1984, in a Japanese small town in the mountains. The town was famous for baseball team; however, he spent all his time playing soccer game. He then entered Tokyo Polytechnic University to study filmmaking. He found it very interesting to use 16mm and Black & White film. His first feature film “Islands of Dreams” was taken in 16mm, Black & White negative; he has done every process such as developing and printing all by himself inventing his own methods. This film with impressive visual that is reminiscent of golden age of films had received good reputations at film festivals.

Director/Producer/Writer/Editor : Tetsuichiro Tsuta
Cinematographer : Yutaka Aoki
Sound : Shintaro Kamijyo
Music : Keita Kawabata
Production Manager : Masayuki Ueda
Unit Director : Tomohiko Takeno
Assistant Director : Kenji Fukushima, Masaya Kawamura, Akiyuki Tsuji, Kouhei Hirota, Yousuke Yoshioka
Camera assistant : Takumi Watanabe, Hiroko Chiku
Gaffer : Katsuyuki Nakanishi, Toshimitsu Inaba, Kazuya Mukai
Boom : Mitsuhiro Hukuda, Ryousuke Miwa, Yusuke Takenouchi
Hair&Make : Katsuhiko Kuwamoto
Photographer : Yoshiyuki Uchibori
Costume Design : Misaki Tanaka, Ayaka Watanabe
Best boy : Yuta Miura, Jun Matsumoto, Mayumi Nagura, HIromichi Onuma, Yuki Sukegawa

Driving around mountains, I was looking for somebody like Grandpa and Haruna in this film, “The Tale of Iya”. Somebody lives self-sufficient life: draw water from a river, burning woods to make a fire, and plow the fields to grow vegetables. I was expecting: “There might be somebody still has that kind of life if nature is left untouched like this”. Sad to say, but there was nobody I could find. No matter how hard I try, all I could see was rotten thatched-roofed houses and abandoned villages. I realized there is no Grandpa in Japan anymore. All we got is just vestiges and memories he left. On the other hand, while we cultivate the fields deep in the mountains of Iya and grow soba for filming, we definitely could feel something mysterious. In the woods, in a river, or in the dirt, there was something that is impossible to explain scientifically. And fortunately, we believe we could catch this indefinable and spiritual existence on our film.

――Tetsuichiro Tsuta

Tokyo International Film Festival 2013 『Special Mention』
Tromsø International Film Festival 2014 『Aurora Prize』
Göteborg International Film Festival 2014
Glasgow Film Festival 2014
6th Pan Asia Film Festival 2014  『Best Film Award』
HELSINKI CINE AASIA Film Festival 2014
3rd Ecofalante Environmental Film Festival 2014
The 38th Hong Kong International Film Festival  『Jury Prize』
The 15th Jeonju International Film Festival
The 14th Nippon Connection Film Festival 
The 17th Shanghai International Film Festival  
The 16th Taipei Film Festival  
Japanese Film Festival 2014 (Singapore)
Japan Cuts 2014 (New York)  
Summer International Film Festival 2014 (China/Beijing)
The 14th Gwangju International Film Festival  
Nara International Film Festival  
CAMERA JAPAN Festival 2014  
12th Green Film Festival in Seoul 『Special Mention』  
The 63rd San Sebastian International Film Festival  
The Dharamshala International Film Festival 2015   Supported by The Japan Foundation, New Delhi
The 4th JAPAN Foundation Movie Festival  
The 24th Washington DC Environmental Film Festival  

Hope we can see you in your cities!