Two-time Oscar® Nominee Gus Van Sant Director
Academy Award® Winner Best Actor Matthew McConaughey and
Nominees Ken Watanabe, Naomi Watts
Two-time Oscar nominated producer Gil Netter, Ken Kao, Kevin Halloran produce the original screenplay written by Chris Sparling
TOKYO, JAPAN (September 30, 2014) –Two-time Oscar nominated director Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting, Milk) has wrapped principal photography on THE SEA OF TREES, which filmed on location in Japan and Massachusetts, starring Oscar winner Mathew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club, Interstellar, Mud, The Wolf of Wall Street), Oscar nominee Ken Watanabe (Inception, Memoirs of a Geisha, The Last Samurai) and two-time Oscar nominee Naomi Watts (The Impossible, 21 Grams, King Kong, Mulholland Drive). The cast also includes actors Katie Aselton (star of FX’s The League) and Jordan Gavaris (Orphan Black).
Arthur Brennan (McConaughey) treks into Aokigahara, known as the The Sea of Trees, a mysterious dense forest at the base of Japan’s Mount Fuji where people go to contemplate life and death. Having found the perfect place to die, Arthur encounters Takumi Nakamura (Watanabe), a Japanese man who has also lost his way. The two men begin a journey of reflection and survival, which affirms Arthur’s will to live and reconnects him to his love with his wife (Watts).
The producers of THE SEA OF TREES are Gil Netter, nominated for Oscars for Life of Pi and The Blind Side, Ken Kao (The Nice Guys, Silence, Rampart, Knight of Cups), Kevin Halloran (Million Dollar Arm, Parental Guidance, Water For Elephants). Also producing are F. Gary Gray, Brian Dobbins, Allen Fischer and Chris Sparling, based on the original screenplay written by Chris Sparling (Buried).
Alex Walton and Ken Kao’s international sales, production and financing company, BLOOM, launched and introduced THE SEA OF TREES to buyers in Cannes, and by the end of the festival had virtually sold out the world. Postproduction work is now underway in Los Angeles.
THE SEA OF TREES was filmed on location in the Kanto region of Japan, including Tokyo, Kanagawa and Shizuoka prefectures as well as within Aokigahara (aka The Sea of Trees) located at the foothills of Mt. Fuji in Japan’s Yamanashi prefecture.
Principal photography commenced in Massachusetts, late July on location in Purgatory Chasm, Ashland State Park, Blackstone State Park, Douglas State Park, F. Gilbert Hills State Park and the Worcester area: Clark University, Worcester Municipal Airport and One Exchange Place, where the film’s production office was also based. The City of Worcester’s Cultural Development Office, Worcester Police Department, Department of public works and Business Assistance provided local location support for the production.
Gus Van Sant’s creative team on THE SEA OF TREES includes editor Pietro Scalia who garnered Oscars JFK and Black Hawk Down and was Oscar nominated for Good Will Hunting and Gladiator, director of photography Kasper Tuxen (Beginners), Emmy nominated production designer Alex DiGerlando (Beasts of the Southern Wild, HBO’s True Detective), Oscar nominated costume designer Danny Glicker (Milk, Up In The Air) and makeup department head Felicity Bowring (The Bourne Legacy, The Social Network). The music supervisor for THE SEA OF TREES is KCRW’s twice Grammy nominated Chris Douridas known in the motion picture industry for his work on Grosse Point Blank, American Beauty, As Good As It Gets, Heat, One Hour Photo, Down With Love, The Girl Next Door, The Chumscrubber, Northern Exposure, Shrek 2, the Austin Powers series and upcoming, Ride.
About Netter Productions
Netter Productions develops and produces films for all audiences. Company founder and principal Gil Netter’s previous projects as a producer include: Life Of Pi which grossed more than $600 million worldwide, was nominated for 11 Academy Awards® including Best Picture and won four Oscars®, including Best Director for Ang Lee; Water for Elephants starring Robert Pattinson, Reese Witherspoon, and Christoph Waltz; box office phenomenon The Blind Side, nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture and garnering an Oscar for Best Actress for Sandra Bullock; the hit film, Marley and Me, starring Jennifer Anniston and Luke Wilson, Phone Booth, starring Colin Farrell and directed by Joel Schumacher, Dude, Where’s My Car?, Flicka and Fever Pitch. Netter also served as executive producer of Eragon and served as president of Zucker Brothers Productions for seven years, where he oversaw the production of Ghost and executive produced such films as My Best Friend’s Wedding, First Knight, My Life, Naked Gun 33 1/3: Final Insult, Naked Gun 2: The Smell of Fear and A Walk in the Clouds. Netter Productions’ upcoming slate includes: The Graveyard Book, directed by Ron Howard; The Shack, directed by Forest Whitaker and The Glass Castle starring Jennifer Lawrence for Lionsgate.
BLOOM represents and curates a diversified slate of films ranging from commercial, talent-driven, wide release movies, to specialty films from proven and trusted filmmakers, all the while keeping an eye towards fresh and emerging talent. The company recently boarded director Shane Black’s detective thriller The Nice Guys starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling; Unlocked directed by Michael Apted and starring Noomi Rapace, Michael Douglas and Orlando Bloom; Renny Harlin’s Skiptrace starring Jackie Chan and Johnny Knoxville; and The Hunters, which will be directed by John Moore. The existing slate includes: Gillian Flynn’s best-selling novel Dark Places starring Charlize Theron; A Walk Among the Tombstones starring Liam Neeson; The Woman in Black: Angel of Death; Pele, the biopic about the legendary Brazilian soccer player; Jane Got a Gun starring Natalie Portman; and Out of the Dark starring Julia Stiles and Scott Speedman.
About Waypoint Entertainment
Waypoint Entertainment is a film and television development, production, and finance company cofounded by Ken Kao in 2010. Waypoint’s upcoming slate includes: Martin Scorsese’s Silence to be distributed by Paramount Pictures, starring Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield, Andrew Driver, and Ken Watanabe; and Terrence Malick’s next two films — Knight Of Cups with Christian Bale, Natalie Portman and Cate Blanchett, and an untitled film featuring Michael Fassbender, Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, Natalie Portman and Cate Blanchett.