Biography/ Filmography

Photo: Connie Kurtew ©2017

Biography:

Born in America, Ian Thomas Ash earned an MA in Film and Television Production at the University of Bristol, UK, in 2005. His first feature documentary, ‘the ballad of vicki and jake’ (2006), received the Prix du Canton Vaud prize at the 2006 Visions du Reél International Documentary Film Festival in Nyon, Switzerland. Ian’s two feature documentaries about children living in areas of Fukushima contaminated by the 2011 nuclear meltdown, ‘In the Grey Zone‘ (2012) and ‘A2-B-C‘ (2013), have been screened at festivals around the world where they have received multiple awards.

His documentaries that followed all dealt in some way with health and medicine in Japan, including ‘-1287‘ (2014) which received numerous awards, including the Audience Award for Best Feature at the 2015 Nippon Connection Film Festival in Germany, the First Prize in the Asian Competition at the 2015 DMZ Docs Film Festival in Korea and the Best Documentary at 2016 SoCal Film Festival.  “Dying at Home” (2016) and “Suturing Cultures” (2017), both commissions from NHK World, are on opposite end of the spectrum: one is about end-of-life care, while the other is about the future doctors of Japan.

Most recently “Boys for Sale“, a documentary about male sex workers in Tokyo on which Ian served as Executive Producer, received the Fox Inclusion Award at its North American Premier in the 2017 Outfest film festival in Los Angeles and Best Documentary at its African premier in the 2017 DGLFF in Durban.

Ian has lived in Japan for a total of 14 years and is currently in post-production for the feature-length version of his documentary film about end-of-life care.

Awards:

Award for Best Documentary
at the 2017 DGLFF (South Africa) for ‘Boys for Sale’ (2017)

Fox Inclusion Award
at the 2017 Outfest Film Festival (USA) for ‘Boys for Sale’ (2017)

Best Documentary
at the 2016 SoCal Film Festival (USA) for ‘-1287’ (2014)

People’s Choice (audience) Award
at the 2015 Lake Champlain International Film Festival (USA) for ‘-1287’ (2014)

First Prize in the Asian Competition
at the 2015 DMZ Docs Film Festival (Korea) for ‘-1287’ (2014)

Audience Award for Best Feature Film
at the 2015 Nippon Connection Film Festival (Germany) for ‘-1287’ (2014)

Filmmaker Award
at the 2015 Snowtown Film Festival (USA) for short documentary “Even the Birds Need to be Loved”

Golden Honey Comb for Outstanding Work in Film
at the 2014 Lake Champlain International Film Festival (USA) for ‘In the Grey Zone’ (2012) and ‘A2-B-C’ (2013)

Special Recognition
at the 2014 Uranium Film Festival (Brazil) for ‘A2-B-C’ (2013)

Award for Best Documentary
at the 2013 STEPS Rights Film Festival (Ukraine) for ‘A2-B-C’ (2013)

Best of Festival Award
at the 2013 Guam International Film Festival (USA) for ‘A2-B-C’ (2013)

Nippon Visions Award (best film by new-coming Japan-based director)
at the 2013 Nippon Connection Japanese Film Festival (Germany) for ‘A2-B-C’ (2013)

Audience Choice Award First Prize for Best Documentary
at the 2012 Rhode Island International Film Festival (USA) for “In the Grey Zone” (2012)

Filmmaker of the Future Award
at the 2012 Rhode Island International Film Festival (USA)

Prix de Canton Vaud (best first film)
at the 2006 Visions du Reél International Documentary Film Festival (Nyon, Switzerland) for “the ballad of vicki and jake” (2006)

 

Filmography:

“Suturing Cultures”, 28 min/ Japan (NHK World)/ 2017
Japan’s future doctors navigate culture, religion and sexual orientation…in English.

“Dying at Home”, 28 min/ Japan (NHK World)/ 2016
Dr. Konta is on a quest to help people who wish to die at home rather than in hospital.

“-1287”, 70 min/ US & Japan/ 2014
As she nears the end of life, Kazuko’s observations on love, money, marriage and her own death change, as does her relationship with the filmmaker.

“A2-B-C”, 71 min/ Japan/ 2013
Eighteen months after the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima, children who were not evacuated are found to have thyroid cysts and nodules.

“In the Grey Zone”, 89 min/ Japan/ 2012
The children of Minamisoma City, Fukushima, living inside the radiation zone head back to school after the nuclear meltdown.

“Jake, not finished yet”, 81 min/ Japan & UK/ 2010
The story of two mothers and two sons whose chance meeting seven years earlier changes their lives forever.

“the ballad of vicki and jake”, 84 min/ UK/ 2006
A family struggles with drug abuse, homelessness and their relationship with the filmmaker.