Photo: Marie Bergé for Visions du Réel ©2010
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 recent documentaries have 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.
Ian has lived in Japan for a total of 13 years and is currently in production for several documentaries, including the feature-length version of his film about end-of-life care which he is directing and another about male sex workers in Tokyo which he is producing.
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)
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)
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 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 (US) for “In the Grey Zone” (2012)
Filmmaker of the Future Award
at the 2012 Rhode Island International Film Festival (US)
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)
“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.