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Robu is a short film from Japanese-American director Kai Hasson, starring Jharrel Jerome  and Kazuki Kitamura.

The story follows Rob (Jerome, Moonlight and Central Park 5), a 17-year-old who is on the adventure of a lifetime: a four-day quest to find the second issue of his favorite Japanese comic book that his father left him. His journey introduces him to the odd world of manga, as he meets friends like Yuuki (Kitamura, Kill Bill Volume 1 and Raid 2), a local salaryman with a dream of his own. Shortly into his adventure, Rob begins to notice that the world of his manga is coming to life, and that he just might be the main character.   




 Making Of



Produced in California and filmed entirely in Japan with a cast and crew hailing from the United States, Japan, Argentina, India, and the UK, our short film Robu was born out of a desire to have a truly international adventure.

In fact, “adventure” runs through every part of our production.

The inspiration that director and co-writer Kai Hasson drew upon was his time growing up, visiting Tokyo with his Japanese mother. While she conducted business, Kai would journey into different parts of the city, wandering down busy streets and alleys looking for arcades and bookstores. It was on these days that Kai fell in love with mangas like Vagabond, and became a die-hard fan of the famed animator Hayao Miyazaki. His idea, to combine his childhood experience with a pinch of Spirited Away and a dash of Indiana Jones, was the basis of our film.

For producers Kenji Green and Elyse Preiss, Robu was an adventure and then some. Elyse was planning her honeymoon when she heard about the possibility of a short film. The idea of a quest to Japan was so enticing that she convinced her wife Olivia to take the honeymoon in Japan. Instead of drinking mai tais on a beach, it was carrying sandbags through an ancient temple. This might have been the most unusual honeymoon of all time (and we’re still thanking Olivia!). For Kenji, who broke into producing in Japan but has worked out of America for the last 4 years, Robu was a chance to return to Toyko and make something with friends from both sides of the Pacific. The script even forced Kenji to discover new parts of Japan that he never knew existed (a half-destroyed Temple???).

Finally, for lead actor Jharrel Jerome, this was only his second time out of the country. The city, the people, the bento boxes, all of it was new to Jharrel. His own journey to Japan mirrored his character’s - the looks of amazement on Rob’s face you see throughout the film were looks that Jharrel was actually making every time he walked on set.

Filming Robu was an unforgettable experience, and we hope that when you watch it, you’ll have that same thrill of adventure that we had when we made it.

Arigato Gozaimasu!!!













Kai Hamada Hasson ハッサン海 , Director, Writer, Editor

Kai Hasson is the Creative Director and Co-Founder of Portal A, an award winning content studio that creates branded and original entertainment for digital audiences. Kai’s directorial work has been viewed over 1 billion times, and he was named to Adweek’s Creative 100. Kai is the Executive Producer behind numerous works including State of Pride, an upcoming documentary directed by Academy Award winners Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. This is his first narrative film.

Elyse Preiss プライス・エリス & Kenji C. Green グリーン健司クリス, Producers

Elyse Preiss is the Head of Production for the content studio, Portal A. She oversees productions that shoot all over the world for top global brands such as Google, Amazon, Sony Pictures and more. Kenji Green is a Japanese-American bilingual producer with commercial and feature experience in both Los Angeles and Tokyo.

Josh Hallman ホールマン・ジョシュ, Writer, Producer

Originally from Milwaukee, Josh is a full-time screenwriting residing in Los Angeles. He's written numerous feature films, including "Father-Daughter Day" and "Rent-a-White-Guy".

Steve Reidell レイデル・スティーブ, Music Composer

Steve Reidell is the co-founder of The Hood Internet – a music production due from Chicago, known for their decade-plus worth of albums and mixtapes fusing rap and hip hop, with modern indie rock and electronic artist. Steve and The Hood Internet have been featured in New York Magazine, Pitchfork, Huffington Post, and Vibe.  

Kikuo Ota 太田喜久男, Manga Artist

One of Japan's most highly regarded production designers, Kikuo has made a name for himself for his work on Enter the Void (D. Gaspar Noé), Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter (D. David Zellner), Equals (D. Drake Doremus), and many more.

Alex Antonio Jacobs ジェイコブス・アレックス, Cinematographer

Italian-born cinematographer, Alex Antonio Jacobs, is known for his work on various high-end spots ranging from Toyota, to 20th Century Fox, to GUESS, and many more. He has shot with international film crews all over the world, including in France, Mexico, and Japan.

Aleshka Ferrero フェレロ・アレシュカ, Editor

Aleshka Ferrero is a Puerto Rican film editor currently residing in Los Angeles. Her first feature film – Luis Mandoki’s Innocent Voices (Voces Inocentes) – premiered at TIFF, won the Crystal Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, and was Mexico’s official Academy Awards selection for Best Foreign Film. She recently participated in the acclaimed "Sundance Labs" film program. 





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